jeudi 31 décembre 2009

Last painting of the year.

I've been working on this five by four foot painting for a while: the surface is very different to the previous work and again quite different to my current painting which is much thicker in material and texture. I have started to collage my black and white woodland photographs: it is these new photographs that have provided source material for this painting. I have a mental picture of this painting on the facing entrance wall to my new studio and should the building actually get done in the coming year I'll be very happy indeed.

mardi 22 décembre 2009

This one is for Ron.

I worked this some more , adding the grid and altering the bottom a bit but one has to stop somewhere and move on to something else which I'll show later. I still think that I am being too timid. And my favourite of the week is Carmen Herera, 94 years old and still painting:see the New York Times article.

mardi 8 décembre 2009

Salabert, morning,afternoon, John Stewart Collis.

Amongst the many books and periodicals in the small cellar in which I paint,I refound the Vision of Glory by JSC and began again to move back and forth among his ideas : part 111 is entitled The Revenges of Nature. He writes,There seems to be inherent wisdom in the workings of Nature. Man is a late arrival on the scene of natural operations. In this instance that wisdom is hard to discern. It is as if a bird had laid a bomb instead of an egg.

I can't tell if this painting is one or the other. I've posted it as it stands now and will let you know when it changes.

mardi 24 novembre 2009

Here are the other two

Here are the other two

Sciatica rules

During the sciatica episode I had moments when I could stand or crouch for a few moments and managed to make these three over the nine or so weeks. The big one here has taken ages and a lot of humming to myself. I read Sara Maitlands Book of Silence and she talks about that state wherein a kind of lethargy can hold sway, e.g one knows that one should make a move but can't bring oneself to. There was a lot of that in the making of this - there was a lot of not being able to move as well- but now that it is on the mend I can try to deal with the mental inertia. By the way all our stored e-mail addresses died with the old computer so if anyone out there is wondering why you have not heard from us now you know and the value of writing addresses down: bring back the Filofax I say.

vendredi 13 novembre 2009

After all these weeks.......

After all these weeks.......

After all these weeks of sciatica, lung infection and general wussiness, I've managed to get these three and another two done. The digital camera died , as did the computer, so they had to be replaced, which hurt but not as much as the sciatica. Here then are the three -two six by four, one four by four.

mercredi 26 août 2009

I confess to being confused as to what I should be doing: having made a number of paintings after reading about Lot's wife - this one is called I lay down my burden- I don't know whether I can continue to explore this strand at the same time as my other work arising from looking at the edge of woodland. The reaction to my first exhibition here in France has been very good and people appear to be moved by both sets of stories.
My enforced period of sitting down due to sciatica has at least given me the opportunity to read a lot and I've always found that to be a help in moving things forward. I'm still re-reading back issues of Modern Painters , enjoying them too and whilst on the subject of reading am recommending Mortal Engines, by Philip Reeve. Max,my son, and I are on our fifth run through and it is still gripping.

vendredi 17 juillet 2009


The skies here are are source of wonder, sometimes saturated with colour , sometimes full of movement. here is one that I made earlier.

lundi 6 juillet 2009

Is it me or....

I've been rereading back issues of Modern Painters : for comparison I flipped through the recent issues. There's the difference then.

dimanche 5 juillet 2009

Some new paintings

I've been looking through my website and determining to change the images - it's time- but this blog seems a more user friendly way for me so for now I'll post a few images here. Meabh went looking for paintings to photograph from my studio and bemoaned the fact that she couldn't find them. I suspect its too late: I hold on to paintings only so long as they are useful to look at. At some point they serve other needs. These three are 80x80cms,on canvas.

jeudi 2 juillet 2009

grey autumn morning

Everything changes and this painting too underwent change as I needed to simplify and pare down the visual information until a grey morning and the right moment allowed me to do this.

last stand

There is a hill beyond my window, a shallow valley too and the light shifts subtly and dramatically. One gets advance notice of the weather from beyond this hill. However this is a painting, so it can be read as having been influenced by the landscape but also by the passage of time. Time looking and time making, because small doesn't mean fast here.

poplar - summer

Poplar - summer was made over several weeks and is several paintings. This large poplar was never still and has great bulk when buffeted by the wind. I kept returning to this painting and reworking it until the weather changed and it became a different thing altogether.

falling light

This was made in the evening in summer when the light was dropping fast and I had been working on four foot square paintings all day. I am often not particularly looking at my external surroundings but I am at the same time aware of them, and sometimes there is an insistent but faint tug that seems to say now, now, do it now.

summer storm approaching

It can be very hot here and the light intense and there can be violent storms. Light and shadows and the threat of rain is what is behind the making of this.


Most days for the last five years I have begun the day with a small painting whatever else I may have been doing. The painting might be on canvas as here, or on paper. I have deliberately returned to the same surface and the same painting, building up a surface which may well have begun with an image akin to my view but which progressively acretes marks and patches of colour which are about the landscape but which are also about making a painting.

hill - showers

When the wind from the northwest brings rain the contours of the hill rapidly diffuse whilst at the same time there can be slashes of bright colour visible. There was a field freshly mown of hay which jumped out in the sunlight before disappearing.


Of all these small paintings this might be my favourite: it works, it was made fast after watching the light weaving and bobbing across the fields and almost waiting too long before I started to paint. I had been making four foot by three foot drawings during the morning, working initially with my eyes shut and my mind empty (not hard , the empty mind bit) trying to feel my way into another painting. When I looked up from the floor where I had been working, this was happening.