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.

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.