mardi 12 décembre 2017


When I wrote that one might need to know a landscape to paint it I had not thought to wonder how that connection might be made and what it would take to effect it. I don't know any landscape painters, not personally, so I can't ask and would they be any more able to articulate how it happens?

I wonder what moved someone like Thomas Jones to make those small, beautiful paintings in Naples, so unlike his other work? What was he thinking?

I have been making this new painting: I am thinking that the familiarality of this view, a space that I can walk in, be in, think in, is in fact entire of itself and that the connection can only be made by approaching it as Martin Buber suggests in I and Thou. The transforming of what I experience as the spaces and solids, the movement of air, branch and leaf in the garden / landscape into the experience of the painting is as mysterious as ever and a description equally elusive. I feel on that ridge of my own making with all that made by others laid out on either side, observable but unknowable. A connection still to be made.

mardi 7 novembre 2017

Painting now - in November.

oil on paper.78x65cm

                                                                  oil on paper 78x65 cm

oil on paper. 78x65cm

                                                                      oil on paper. 78x65cm

Some say that to paint landscape requires that one knows it. There are many ways then of knowing.
Fundamentally, knowledge can be empirical and knowledge applied to the painting is acquired through observation and practice. These paintings, made in the last few weeks, keep returning to the land even though I do not want them to. Believe it or not my intention is to not make a landscape painting: my intention as I start each piece is to create a dialogue about space through the act of putting paint onto a flat surface but I have worked from the surrounding garden and fields for so long now that it is hard to separate my understanding of my surroundings from my understanding of the paint.

mardi 22 août 2017

Twenty Twenty Gallery, Shropshire, England.

                                                Bush and garden. oil on paper. 30x30cm

Twenty Twenty Gallery will be twenty years old in September . Meabh and I will be there for the p.v. on Friday 22nd September. Mary Elliot is showing a range of work from artists and makers who have contributed over the years. More information will be available later on the Twenty Twenty website.

                                                               Meabh Warburton

                                                  past present future. tapestry. 20x20cm
                                                 past present future . Tapestry. 20x20cm

jeudi 10 août 2017

The last bush - for now.

oil on paper. 65x78cm.

I have been painting this little bush for a long time ( it must be years now) and here, for the time being is a point at which I can stop. I spent a long time thinking this through but in the back of my mind there was another painting to be made, something that would be more expansive and at the same time more focussed on making drawings in paint. See, I can't even explain it to myself. There are lots of examples of course and there is a Van Gogh that I can think of`: none of this is new. This other painting, this elusive, turn one's head and it's gone painting, is nagging at me.

New landscape.

oil on wood 160x160cm

white cloud and garden. oil on paper. 68x75cm

untitled garden. oil on paper. 68x75cm

These two paintings are from a group that I hope will move on from the paintings of the bush. If I am not mistaken they will develop an earlier piece that was an attempt to develop an idea of seeing the whole through a small focus and using the painted surface to explore things that I had learnt through drawing. Certainly whilst in the making, they felt very much like drawing, holding the tube of paint and drawing with it, using hands, scrapers and other implements - usual stuff.

mardi 25 juillet 2017

Martin Buber and the Ash tree

oil on canvas.

It was in fact whilst searching my mind for a phrase to add to a description of the work of Daniel Lefranc at La Tour Montsales that I remembered I and Thou by Martin Buber. It was only today that I started to think again about that relationship that he described. whilst I sought to resolve this painting of the Red Ash in my garden.

Tout ce qui tient à l’arbre y est impliqué : sa forme et son mécanisme, ses couleurs et ses substances chimiques, ses conversations avec les éléments du monde, et ses conversations avec les étoiles, le tout enclos dans une totalité.

I contemplate a tree. I can accept it as a picture: a rigid pillar in a flood of light, or splashes of green traversed by the gentleness of blue silver ground. I can feel it as movement: the flowing veins around the sturdy, thriving core, the sucking of the roots, the breathing of the leaves, the infinite commerce with earth and air – and the growing itself in the darkness. 

I can assign it to a species and observe it as an instance, with an eye to its construction and its way of life. I can overcome its uniqueness and form so rigorously that I recognize it only as an expression of the law – those laws according to which a constant opposition of forces is continually adjusted, or those laws according to which the elements mix and separate. 

I can dissolve it into a number, into a pure relation between numbers, and eternalize it. Throughout all of this the tree remains my object and has its place and its time span, its kind and condition. But it can also happen, if will and grace are joined, then as I contemplate the tree I am drawn into a relation, and the tree ceases to be an It. The power of exclusiveness has seized me. 

This does not require me to forego any of the modes of contemplation. There is nothing that I must not see in order to see, and there is no knowledge that I must forget. Rather is everything, picture and movement, species and instance, law and number included and inseparably fused. Whatever belongs to the tree is included: its form and its mechanics, its colours and its chemistry, its conversation with the elements and its conversation with the stars – all this in its entirety. 

The tree is no impression, no play of my imagination, no aspect of a mood; it confronts me bodily and has to deal with me as I must deal with it – only differently. One should not try to dilute the meaning of the relation: relation is reciprocity. Does the tree then have consciousness, similar to our own? I have no experience of that. But thinking that you have brought this off in your own case, must you again divide the indivisible? What I encounter is neither the soul of a tree nor a dryad, but the tree itself.

mercredi 12 juillet 2017

Five pieces of garden.

oil on board. 114x40cm

oil on paper 110x40cm

oil on paper 68x55cm

ink, oil, emulsion on paper 65x50cm

ink,oil,emulsion on paper 65x50cm

One never really knows when something from the past will catch up. Some time ago I made some small paintings which I thought might lead on to something but it didn't seem to be the case. Over the last few weeks those ideas may have caught me up as have drawings that I made some thirty years ago. Not the same drawings but the same sense of drawing. This is part of the richness of making things. One moves forward one hopes but at the same time carry dormant ideas into the light of the present.