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