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CLAY FIRE PAPER PAINT at Quay Arts, Newport, Isle of Wight

I am preparing to hang this exhibition next week in the Clayden Gallery at Quay Arts. This is the third collaboration with my sister, the potter Molly Attrill. Our first was in 2017 with FROM ROCKEN END TO BINNEL when we focussed on the small stretch of coastline on the southernmost tip of the Isle of Wight where we grew up. We followed this in 2019 with POTTER AND PAINTER, which had less of a prescribed theme but still retained a feeling of similar preoccupations explored through our different practices. CLAY FIRE PAPER PAINT is also a free association of our individual subject matter. I have gathered together drawings and paintings from different times and places with a connecting thread of relationships between landscape, memory and the natural world.
I will post images once we have completed the hang. The opening party is on Saturday, 18 June from 2 – 4 pm in the Clayden Gallery at Quay Arts and the exhibition runs until July 9.

9 June 2022

Spring Exhibition at Campden Gallery

Herefordshire Lane in May (2020)
oil on linen
20 x 20 ins.51 x 51 cms

The Spring Exhibition at Campden Gallery, Chipping Campden, Glos, opens on Saturday 2 April and runs until Sunday 24 April. A number of my paintings and several small ink drawings are on show, along with works by four other artists. More information can be found at

1 April 2022

Launch of SOIL at Ledbury

On Saturday, October 23, Catherine Swire’s debut volume of poems, SOIL, was launched at the Barrett Browning Institute, home of the Ledbury Poetry Festival. The poems are about the landscape around the Malvern Hills, its history of trauma and human intervention over many centuries. I have been inspired to start a body of work using the poems as a source. I do not see myself as illustrating the poems but using them as a bridge to connect things seen with things remembered or imagined. I have worked in this way at intervals over the years – indeed my exhibiting career began when a series of charcoal drawings based on the beekeeping poems of Sylvia Plath were included in a significant exhibition at Ikon gallery in Birmingham in 1991. One of my drawings, Eastnor Obelisk, was exhibited at the BBI on Saturday and will remain there until November 2 along with sketchbooks and associated source material.
I am also interested in the figures in Catherine’s landscape and have been working on a drawing of Prince Arthur, who is buried in an exquisite tomb in Worcester Cathedral. I will post an image shortly. I would like to do something on Edward V, one of the princes who disappeared into the Tower and who appears in a medieval stained glass window in Little Malvern Priory. The glassmakers Richard Twygge and Thomas Woodshawe had a workshop in the vicinity of Great Malvern Priory and were clearly highly skilled. Their Magnificat window in Great Malvern Priory was a gift from Henry VII and includes an image of Prince Arthur.

Catherine Swire and John Elcock of The Artel Press at the launch of SOIL

26 October 2021

Late summer update

I have been updating my website, a task long overdue.

I am still working on a visual response to the poems of Catherine Swire which are due to be published by The Artel Press, Liverpool, in October with the title ‘SOIL’. This drawing of a young man (Catherine’s 17 year old son, Sam) is the beginning of a work based on the life of Prince Arthur, eldest son of Henry VII and elder brother of Henry VIII. He died at Ludlow when he was only 16 and buried with much ceremony at Worcester Cathedral where his exquisitely carved tomb is near the High Altar.

We were hoping to show these works next summer at the Ledbury Poetry Festival but have not found a suitable showing space yet. More to come on this subject – I am visiting the site of the 1651 Battle of Worcester in a few days on its anniversary on September 3rd. Both Prince Arthur’s tomb and this site are included in Catherine’s poems.

Portrait of a Young Man (2021)
charcoal on paper
30 x 22 ins. 76 x 56 cms

31 August, 2021

New Year: new landscape drawings


These new drawings have been made since the start of 2021 during the 3rd Covid Lockdown.  They are 32 x 48 ins, charcoal on primed Arches paper.  Priming the heavy paper with random brushstrokes produces a surface which the charcoal slides over and gives a more painterly effect which I am quite liking at the moment.

The drawings have been inspired by a series of poems by Catherine Swire in which she explores the layers of history in this ancient and romantic landscape of the Malvern Hills. They are not intended as illustrations to the poems but as my own response to her evocation of what she calls “trauma’s relics”. She writes that she is “drawn to the idea that land, the ground itself, has a kind of voice that demands an immanent kind of listening”.  The Iron Age fort known as the British Camp from where these two views were taken is reputed to be the site of Caractacus’s last stand against the invading Romans.  The Obelisk at Eastnor is visible in the top drawing, a memorial to a son lost in France in 1759.  Indeed the loss of young men is one of her themes, from the medieval stained glass in Little Malvern Priory which can be seen in the foreground of the second drawing (the only contemporary portrait of the young Edward V) to the tomb of Prince Arthur in Worcester Cathedral. These are winter landscapes and the flooded Severn coming down from Worcester is seen in the distance in this drawing.

I want to continue with more drawings when the restrictions of lockdown are lifted and I can get out and about more. The site of the Battle of Worcester for example at the confluence of the Teme and Severn, the chained library at Hereford Cathedral, the World War 2 Listening Station at Guarlford all feature in the poems.

I find myself in tune with the premise of the poems, that we see landscape through a prism of memory, folklore, history and that it is a palimpsest of centuries of human intervention and activity.


21 February 2021

November Lockdown 2020

It has been a peaceful month with plenty of time in the studio – which is the one good thing about lockdown.   I have mainly been painting apples, which I do every year when we harvest the apples in Coombe Beauchamp Orchard.  We also had a huge crop of quinces. These pics are snaps not professional photographs, I am waiting for easing of restrictions before I can arrange a session.




These are all 5 x 7 ins, oil on linen, unframed

I have also found three winter landscapes in mixed media on card:



These are all 4 x 5 1/2 ins mixed media on card, mounted but unframed.

The top one is a view of the Malvern Hills from Coombe Beauchamp Orchard, the other two are views from the Malvern to Paddington Great Western train.  Unknown country but somewhere in Oxfordshire.   I did them last winter but have only just had them mounted.  I haven’t been on a train since March!

5 December 2020



Field and Orchard exhibition at Hellens Manor extended to October 11.



The exhibition was due to end on September 27 but it has been extended to October 11, originally with the hope that the annual Big Apple Harvest event at Much Marcle would go ahead over that weekend.  Increased coronavirus restrictions eventually put paid to that, despite the best efforts of the organisers.  It would have been a great way to round off the show – all the local cider and perry makers are open to visitors who can watch them pressing and making the cider.  Hellens would have been making their own perry from their ancient avenue of old perry pear trees and the tearoom would have been open for delicious cakes and tea. The exhibition would have been a very appropriate attraction, replacing the usual apple identification and tasting which usually happens in the Great Barn.

It is very disappointing for all concerned but in these troubled times we have come to expect plans to be changed and nothing is certain.

Meanwhile the exhibition is still attracting visitors and I am expecting a busy time this final week.  More anon.


5 October 2020




        1. The Midsummer Mare  charcoal on paper 32 x 48 ins  £4500
        2. Summer Pasture charcoal on paper 32 x 48 ins £4500
        3. Lighthouse and Black Cattle oil on linen 30 x 40 ins £4500
        4. Herefordshire Orchard in Winter oil on linen 30 x 50 ins £5000
        5. Ewes charcoal on paper 36 x 46 ins £4000
        6. The Goat Octavius charcoal on paper 22 x 29 ins £2000
        7. The Arcadian Shepherd charcoal/graphite on paper 32 x 48 ins £4500
        8. Herefordshire Lane in May oil on linen 20 x 20 ins £2500
        9. Herefordshire Lane (red earth) oil on linen 12 x 16 ins £1750
        10. Eastnor Bull oil on linen 40 x 40 ins £4000
        11. The May Bull charcoal on paper 48 x 60 ins £5500
        12. Bull in a Flowering Meadow charcoal on paper 48 x 60 ins £5500
        13. Petrica (Valeni) oil on linen 12 x 10 ins framed £1350
        14. Plum Blossom and Petrica (Valeni) oil on linen 40 x 40 ins £4500
        15. Two Seasons in Arcadia charcoal/pastel on paper 32 x 48 ins £4500
        16. Great Rooted Blossomer sepia ink on card 6 x 4 ins £475
        17. December Orchard sepia ink on card 6 x 4 ins £475
        18. Pine Tree by the Sea/1 sepia ink on card 4 x 6 ins £475
        19. Pine Tree by the Sea/2 sepia ink on card 4 x 6 ins £475
        20. Pine Tree by the Sea/5 sepia ink on card 4 x 6 ins £475
        21. Quince oil on linen 8 x 6 ins £650
        22. Apple Blossom oil on linen 6 x 8 ins £650
        23. Golden Apple oil on linen 6 x 6 ins £600
        24. Small Apple Blossom oil on linen 4 x 4 ins £300
        25. Rose in a White Jug oil on linen 7 x 5 ins £550
        26. The May Bull framed giclee print 13 x 16 ins £250 unframed £200

FIELD AND ORCHARD opens Wednesday, 26 August and runs to Sunday, 27 September

We hung the exhibition yesterday in the Great Barn at Hellens Manor, Much Marcle, Herefordshire.  It is part of this year’s Garden Festival, which has been re-imagined after its cancellation in June due to the coronavirus regulations.  Hanging was hard work, negotiating the old timbers and irregular spaces, but Angus Macdonald has over 30 years of experience of installing exhibitions with his company C’ART Art Transport so he was able to come up with excellent solutions.  We were helped by old friends Peter Arscott and John Burns.


I am sharing the barn with this fine grand piano which I have seen played by Christian Blackshaw at some wonderful concerts at Hellens Music Festival.  It looks faintly sculptural and enhances the ambience.  Sometimes a hen wanders in to see what is going on, adding to the blend of art in a bucolic setting.



There are two new paintings resulting from my residency in Romania in 2019.  Here is a study of Petrica, who looks after the grounds of the manor house at Valeni.  I would have liked to show all the Romanian works together as although the rest are sold I could have borrowed them back for this exhibition.  However, I decided against this idea for various reasons.  The others can be seen in previous posts on this website when they were shown at the Courtyard at Hereford in January/February 2020.



Small fruit and flower paintings to round off the show.  I will post further information and a price list in my next post.


25 August, 2020


Field and Orchard at Hellens Manor

I am preparing for a solo exhibition ‘Field and Orchard’ in the Great Barn at Hellens Manor, Much Marcle, near Ledbury,  Herefordshire in conjunction with their garden festival.  It will run from August 26 to September 27.  There is free entry to the gardens, grounds and exhibition with donations to St Michael’s Hospice and Back to the Wild. Opening hours are Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays 10 am to 6 pm.  See their website: for further details.

I see this as a kind of coda to my exhibition Another Country at The Courtyard, Hereford, in January/February of this year.  Some of the works will have been seen there but others are new or were not hung at Hereford.  Because of lockdown I still have the Valeni works which are due to be taken to Romania at some point so this gives me a chance to show them again, along with two new paintings on the theme.

The Great Barn is a wonderful building although it will be challenging to hang the work amongst all the old timbers.


The Great Barn at Hellens Manor

I will try to be there quite often and will give dates and times soon.  In any case Hellens is a lovely place to visit, set in beautiful Herefordshire countryside not far from the old market town of Ledbury.  Much Marcle has other attractions too – an interesting old church with an ancient yew tree and of course Westons Cider at the other end of the village.

More information to follow.

25 July 2020



Lockdown: work in progress

The coronavirus lockdown this Spring has been a strange experience for us all.  One good thing from my point of view has been the peace and quiet which has given me time to spend long uninterrupted periods in the studio. Perhaps because it was a year ago in April that we were in Romania I felt there was some unfinished business to be addressed.  While we were there I did some drawings for a painting which I didn’t have time to do before the exhibition at The Courtyard at Hereford.  This is a painting in progress of the Valeni manor house, showing Petrica, the plum blossom and the two dogs.  Petrica lives in the village and is employed to look after the grounds and chop wood, the plum trees were in full bloom when we arrived and the two dogs were always around the place.

Valeni manor house with Petrica and the Plum Blossom


16 May, 2020