Manhattan

The City of New York is an amazing place to me. The energy, vitality and creativity is like nothing I have ever experienced in any city. The full on dynamic of the place is infectious and somehow disturbing in a positive way. Iconic and colourful I love the street scenes and the urban style of New Yorkers and it is such a contrast to the quietness of the English countryside.

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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.

TriBeCa

I first went to NYC in 1984 on a four day art residency. At the time I was living in a small hamlet of about 20 estate cottages. My neighbours were sheep. It was a pastoral dream. Going from this environment into Manhattan was a culture shock to say the least. I was born in London and have visited many other big cities and so this big city was no new thing but the Big Apple was something else. The energy was electric, the people eclectic and in the city that never sleeps I felt energised and alive. I have loved the city ever since and find it endlessly inspiring.

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

American Visions

 

 

In 2010 I was fortunate to spend three months in Florida. Fortunate in many ways, fortunate to meet my future wife, fortunate to experience the U.S. again and see how American culture had changed since I lived stateside in 1976 and fortunate to have time to paint. I have always loved to look at paintings and my career was in art but I never painted in the purist sense of the word. I probably never would have but for my future wife.

We were talking about art and I was waxing lyrical about the painters I liked and she said why don’t you paint?  It was as if I had just heard a funeral bell toll, a silent tumbleweed moment. I came up with a myriad of excuses but I suppose I felt daunted by the prospect. Intimidated even. Ce who was herself an artist was having none of it and so we got some canvasses, acrylic paints an easel and brushes. My first strokes were hesitant, un sure and that was strange to me because in my day job my art was completely confident and assured.

I have always liked American culture and the what is now almost clichéd iconography.  The diners, blues and country music, old pickup trucks. These paintings were a fusion of emotional reactions to my surroundings, meeting and falling in love with my wife  and memories of my previous times as a teenager in Memphis.

The experiment, for that is what it was, worked.  When I returned to England I had the strongest desire to paint and so a journey began which has proved an interesting and challenging one and  so it continues but it really started with American Visions.

ASJ

 

 

 

 

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.