I visit North Norfolk once or twice a year and have done since 1991. For a brief period I lived and worked there before returning to London to take up a teaching role. It was and remains a place that affects me deeply, with it’s transient light, endless space, and huge skies. On this trip I made a small series of paintings that focused on the North Sea. The weather was inclement and the infamous easterly wind was cutting and cold. Narrowing down my focus is quite a challenge with less to paint. The moody sea and brooding skies though were enough to find the variations and expression I needed.
Water is an important subject in my paintings for many reasons. I had been drawing the chalk streams close to my home and wanted to take these in to painting. The Wash Ponds in Broadmayne became my focus and I started a series of works on paper. Using ink and watercolour I worked very fast and loose on two to three pieces a day. The wooden footbridge, I admit was a direct influence from Monet. It added a solid structure to the drawings that contrasted to the quality of water. I wanted also to get a feel of the movement of the stream and made a small set of paintings that studied the fluid shapes light. The work was pinned up in my studio and led me to make a large painting, which hasn’t been successful. I plan to revisit the Wash Ponds in the Autumn.
It’s been a busy month so far and one that has kept me juggling a number of up and coming events. At the start of March there was some very warm and unseasonal weather and I managed to spend a week on the coast at Studland making a series of figure studies.Read More
There is a gradual shift in the light by mid February. It is softer and a little brighter. It hints of spring and warmer days. By the 19th I find myself in the beautiful city of Valencia,Read More
I had the idea to make a series of drawings that followed one of the chalk streams that runs through Dorchester. Aware that I rarely make work close to home, it was an opportunity to explore a landscape so familiar to me. Numerous sketches allowed me to quickly respond to a variety of places and views before turning to larger sheets of paper and working freely with an assortment of materials. I was conscious of holding back from painting, in order to give me the chance to take more risks and push the work to what felt like a breaking point. Having spent the month in what seemed like endless dark, and colourless days there was a dramatic change as a blanket of snow settled. I quickly responded and painted before it all disappeared .
Drawing and sketching has always been a vital part of my practice as an painter. I use it to discover new places as well as finding new possibilities for my work. Subjects, marks and composition made in a drawing can often find there way in to my paintings. If a drawing doesn't work it is unlikely that I will choose to set up and paint there.
Corfe Castle in Dorset is a ruin, a result of being blown up by Parliamentarian troops loyal to Oliver Cromwell at the end of the English Civil war in 1646 . What remains, I think is a beautiful ruin and for me more exciting having been destroyed.
It all started so bright and sunny and the painting shown was full of blues, yellow and orange. As a storm started to build out in the North sea so the painting changed. The sky turned black and orange accompanied by thunder and lightening. I had to keep up with the changes but struggled to capture the real drama and colours that were constantly changing.
Painting at 4000ft from Mosso near Bielmonte in Italy.
It has been a while since I had the opportunity to paint the snow in Dorset. I paced all my equipment on to a sledge and hiked it over to the fields a mile away. It was bitterly cold and I wasn't sure how long I would be able to stand out in it. I have come to realise that it is never as bad as you think and after six hours my hands were getting a little cold. I did get rescued in the form of hot soup made by my friend Damelza and delivered by my wife and daughter.
The snow had all gone the next day.
Painting on the banks of the Thames in London, is such a thrilling experience. On those bright, winter mornings the light across the river to St Paul's is breathtaking. Passers by, who stopped to chat, included many tourists, joggers, vloggers, artists, an actor and a playwright. All made it a great experience.
On the Southbank, Looking Towards St Paul's Cathedral. 81x92cm oil on board