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Landscapes

Urban and rural landscapes have been a recurrent theme through my time as a painter. They rarely contain people but bear the marks of landscapes changed by human intervention. I am particularly interested in finding something visually beautiful or extraordinary in everyday industrial architecture or new technologies that are commonly seen as unsightly. This could be cooling towers, pylons or wind turbines. Often resisted at the time of their construction as eye sores, these man-made structures have become part of the landscape, and some have even taken on a romanticism as we develop nostalgia for the disappearing industries which formed them.

In contrast, the landscapes of remote locations, which are dominated by the weather conditions and topography have also been a theme. (see also Lundy Island).

Chichester Open exhibition

I had two double spread landscape oil sketches accepted in the Chichester Open exhibition. An international exhibition of contemporary painting, drawing and print held in conjunction with a series of concerts and talks.

Below you can see these landscape oil sketches shown before framing. These landscapes are examples of the "black pastel" series made at Cannizaro Park in 2007 in a black spiral bound sketchbook.

Blossom and Pathway, 2007, oil pastel, oil stick on black paper
Blossom and Pathway, 2007, oil pastel, oil stick on black paper. 30cm x 73cm.
Looking through to the Azalea dell, Cannizaro Park, 2007, oil pastel on black paper
Looking through to the Azalea dell, Cannizaro Park, 2007, oil pastel on black paper, 30cm x 73cm.

This sketch was made just behind my studio. There is a week in late spring when the Azalea dell suddenly explodes into garish colour, and the picture attempts to capture this brief event. The sketch was made on a very sunny day, with strong areas of light and shade, and dappled light covering the picture.

The view of the dell is framed in the foreground on the right by a large unidentifiable deciduous tree, whose leaves and branches run across the top of the picture, and on the left by a dark, shadowy, abstract form - a wall topped by mushroom shaped hedge with tinges of red. The eye is led through to a shaft of yellow white sunlight on the ground running across the centre of the picture, and rests on the riot of colour that is the azalea dell in the background.

The azalea dell appears to me as a riot of undefined, broken, clashing blobs of colour. The blossom is depicted roughly, with small dots of pastel, from left to right green, soft grey blue, white, burnt orange, red, grey-pink, white, yellow, orange, red, yellow. It seems an anarchic mix!

Rocky Mountains

Another example of my working with landscapes was the Rocky Mountains Project. With artist Robin Whitmore, I took the Rocky Mountaineer train from Vancouver to Calgary. Armed with a till roll each and two hard pencils, we drew all the way.

Known for it's spectacular beauty, what unfurled was a journey from urban into glacial landscapes, lakes for miles on end, forest fires, ospreys in scraggly nests on telegraph poles and spiral tunnels through mountains at 20 miles and hour. We did our best to record this on two till roll drawings.

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