English Visionary Landscapes

When I was younger my father took me to the Tate Gallery and he showed me the works of the English visionary, Samuel Palmer.  I must confess I do not remember many of them but life has a way of going full circle and later in my early 20’s a neighbour, friend and walking companion were talking on a walk down some Neolithic lanes near Sherborne in Dorset and we discussed the painter Samuel Palmer. Steve had a small print by the artist and I began to study his work. I went to Reigate School of Art and often passed the artists grave on my way to and fro. Later Steve and I went of a ‘Pilgrimage’ to Shoreham in Kent where Palmer surrounded by his friends who referred to themselves as,’The Ancients’ did his most intense works.  It was not really until I became a Christian that I truly appreciated the spiritual intimacy of his work.  The deeply almost medieval sanctity that he brought to his paintings. I began seeing the landscape as he did, fused in a warm supernatural light.  Many years later I began painting some small intimate works in watercolour on vellum, they are my humble homage to Samuel Palmer. The scenes some real, some contrived with places brought together. Some are very special to me, like ‘Buckfast Abbey’  where I lived for a while and ‘Walter’s Garden’. Walter was a veteran of WWI and our neighbour and one of the last survivors and a link to an old Dorset now lost forever. I revisit this style of work often and the paintings have been likened to medieval manuscript scenes.

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Hares

One of the joys of living in the countryside is walking in the early evening. If you are very lucky you might get to witness one of the simple wonders of life. The Hare, that most ancient and mythological of English creatures. Watching these magical creatures playing in a quiet corner of a field is mesmerizing, it is like listening to a lark ascending. They are shy creatures and so to see them is an honour. One evening my wife and I were sat on a five bar farm gate watching the sun slowly sink towards the horizon. Swallows were flitting about and we saw two Hares come right past the gate, for a moment they stopped and looked at us, then they continued on their way into the field and put on a show that was just a delight. They jumped over each other, boxed and played. It is a moment that we will never forget and these paintings a collaboration between Ce and I express the joy we felt that evening.

 

Paintings of Ce

My wife Ce is a constant source of inspiration. Since that time she has been my Muse a constant inspiration to me and my work.  These few paintings are my favourite. They capture the diverse aspects of her nature, positivity, colour and sensuality.  Two are from my ‘Nantucket’ series and the other is a portrait. The first, ‘Room with a view’ shows Ce on a bed but the view is not the ocean, it is the painting on the wall which Ce painted.  The second is a sensual painting which I originally called, ‘Nantucket Breeze’. The final painting is, ‘Girl in the Pink Hat’.

Scripture

In 2001-2  I was asked to work on the St. John’s Bible. It was the first handwritten and illuminated Bible produced sine the medieval period.  I was asked to develop several ideas for illuminations for the project none of which were used except for an illumination at the end of Acts of the Apostles.  I was disappointed but the sketches and notes I made have re surfaced from time to time and evolved into paintings.

 

Solstice and Landscapes

The English countryside is to me quite sublime. Coming from London to Dorset as a child was fantastic. My favourite month is May but there is nothing quite like the landscape of Wessex on a warm Summers evening. The light is golden and the shadows long. Back lit meadows and ancient hedgerows whisper of a millennia of harvests. Red moons and gold suns appear like old friends, comforting and familiar. Sitting in the realm of the Hare and the Badger bathed in golden hues one can consider one Blessed.

Scripture

In 2001-2  I was asked to work on the St. John’s Bible. It was the first handwritten and illuminated Bible produced sine the medieval period.  I was asked to develop several ideas for illuminations for the project none of which were used except for an illumination at the end of Acts of the Apostles.  I was disappointed but the sketches and notes I made have re surfaced from time to time and evolved into paintings.

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Solstice and Landscapes

The English countryside is to me quite sublime. Coming from London to Dorset as a child was fantastic. My favourite month is May but there is nothing quite like the landscape of Wessex on a warm Summers evening. The light is golden and the shadows long. Back lit meadows and ancient hedgerows whisper of a millennia of harvests. Red moons and gold suns appear like old friends, comforting and familiar. Sitting in the realm of the Hare and the Badger bathed in golden hues one can consider one Blessed.

Hares

One of the joys of living in the countryside is walking in the early evening. If you are very lucky you might get to witness one of the simple wonders of life. The Hare, that most ancient and mythological of English creatures. Watching these magical creatures playing in a quiet corner of a field is mesmerizing, it is like listening to a lark ascending. They are shy creatures and so to see them is an honour. One evening I was sat on a five bar farm gate watching the sun slowly sink towards the horizon. Swallows were flitting about and I saw two Hares come right past the gate, for a moment they stopped and looked at me, then they continued on their way into the field and put on a show that was just a delight. They jumped over each other, boxed and played. It is a moment that I will never forget and these paintings express the joy I felt through colour.

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