mercredi 7 mars 2018


                                        Garden at February's end. oil on canvas 100x100cm

Head of the pianist. charcoal. 75x68cm

Observation involves scanning: side to side ; up; down; forwards and backwards; memory and selection.
Observing a portion of the garden, I move things around and bring in elements of things seen at different times of the day, sections from photographs taken in the garden or whilst out walking.
It should add up to an experience of movement; weather; light; shade; senses and time passing.

Nothing is still. The earth is spinning and I with it.

mardi 6 février 2018

February fill dyke.

When I was growing up and first taking an interest in painting one of the images that impressed me was a painting by Benjamin Williams Leader. It only became popular after the Jubilee Exhibition in Manchester and apparently was a painting of a November day.

My painting is definitely February and definitely a wet one.

dimanche 21 janvier 2018

How long does it take ?

garden 21:01:18

brief sunlight 09:01:18

I was being asked this morning (a not entirely serious question I suspect ), how long I worked on a painting. I can't tell: days, weeks, months, years sometimes. Of course some of that is thinking time and some of that thinking time is whilst I am engaged with something else. It must include walking; reading;
revisiting a painting; looking at other artists work. I really like to look at Sienese painting which does not seem to have anything to do with what I do but I admire them and always go to see them in the National Gallery in London.

These paintings on paper have been rather rapid for me, a few days work at most, a lot of scraping off as usual but never the less completed within a week. It hardly matters how long it takes or rather it takes as long as it takes.

I have a friend who enjoys her painting. I have seen her working for twenty years or so and watched her confidence build. She sent me an e-mail with her new ones and here they are:

Miri Felix, Thank you.

mercredi 10 janvier 2018

Three paintings, Early January, William Hazlitt.




There is something about following a path. It becomes a thread, a link, something exploratory, full of history, full of connections.

William Hazlitt wrote; I can saunter for hours, bending my eye forward, stopping and turning to look back, thinking to strike off into some less trodden path, yet hesitating to quit the one I am on, afraid to snap the brittle threads of memory.

In working on these paintings, I have tried hard to snap that thread but it is proving tough to do. The connections with my view are still there even though every time it starts to look like landscape I paint it out and start again. Perhaps, if in an imaginary exhibition, all that I have done could be seen, the thread would still be there. 

It was said of him that he had but one painting in him and he painted it again and again.

samedi 30 décembre 2017

Last painting of the year - the garden in winter.

The garden, the painting, the time it takes, the outcomes of chance. I have attempted to impose my will on this only to find that , in the end it was I who succumbed. I looked at the living garden, I looked away. I saw light and dark, solid and space and saw only paint and surface. It feels like defeat: another failure and another mark of my limitation.

So what next ? Another go, another approach. In these circumstances what else can we do ? Stop ? Go on ? To go on is all that is left. To stop is to acknowledge that I have wasted my time.

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.