Hampshire bluebells and Farley Mount
It feels a long time since I put aside the masking tape and allowed myself the freedom to paint in a less controlled way. I still feel that I am finding my way but someone said to me the the other day that the best paintings are the ones that are a struggle. If that is the case then I should be producing my best work! Last year I painted Bluebells 2 – a large work that wooshed and whirled across the surface of the aluminium. I have never been pleased with it and despite the fact that it was sitting in a gallery in London I decided to take it back and do something radical. In a day I had sanded off the top layers of paint and put another layer down. I cannot say how I know what to do, but I have gradually realised that this painting needed to be peaceful, not busy and the result was a work quite unlike anything I have done before. When I stand in a bluebell wood I am overwhelmed by the colour and the almost misty quality of the flowers as they fade into the distance. The response to the painting has been amazing and I need to learn from this!
The View from Farley Mount came before Bluebells 2 revisited, and is a painting that just worked. It took a while but the elements that inspired it – vibrant Spring colours, fields of turquoise in the distance, cherry blossom, ploughed fields and a kaleidoscope of greens – are all there. These paintings are a little like a jigsaw. I have all the elements in my head but I need to put them down without making them too literal.
The 2nd painting in this series of landscapes has ended up looking entirely different. The central subject is a copper beech with its leaves caught by the sun and the wind, a combination of dark reddy purples, blue greens and flesh pink. I painted the tree first, intending to blend it with the fields and paths but the tree remains centre stage and I have put the painting to one side until I decide whether or not it is finished!
I am still producing paintings on Perspex. These are bread and butter. A chance for people to buy my work at an affordable price. They have been so popular that I am taking them to The Other Art Fair in October and have put them on my website for people to buy as individual panels or in groups so that they can turn them into light features. I have even bought 3 door sized pieces with the idea of turning them into a screen. Warch this space!
Southampton City Art Gallery solo exhibition
My solo exhibition at Southampton City Art Gallery has been confirmed for next year from April to August. This is a fantastic opportunity to show a large series of works in one of their main galleries. I shall be showing around 20 paintings alongside a large mixed media installation based on Southampton water and the docks.
Hilliers light paintings
Because of the interest shown by people visiting my studio I have decided to offer limited edition prints for sale via my website. This series of photographs were inspired by Hilliers Arboretum which I visited and photographed over the course of a year. These are printed on archive paper, signed and rolled for posting or mounted ready for framing.