Tuesday, May 30, 2006

All Change!

This is a view of the Gallery at Kielder.
I go up there tomorrow to dismantle this exhibition then take it another 25 miles to Jedburgh, just over the Border in Scotland. This show will be supplemented with a half dozen extra works which have been shown in the last few Blogs. The private view is on Saturday and I will be up there, leastways at Byrness YH fifteen miles away on the English side of the Border for a couple of weeks. So my my Blogs may be a bit infrequent for a little while. The Hostel computer is on dial-up and rather slow....
That's assumunig its working anyway. Byrness YH is one of the 32 hostels that the YHA are closing at the end of this season.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Nothing to do with fashion statements. Forests are like open air cathedrals and coniferous ones even more so.Tall pines standing like the columns of some great mediaeval cathedral. Gothic.
The frame is 65 x 85cm making the work about 50 x 70cm. Done in graphite on charcoal inpregnated paper.

Organ Trees

A small work this, it is 21 cm square in a frame 40cm square. Trees like organ pipes. The ecclesiastical theme is never far away......

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

What lies beneath your feet..

The forest floor is full of little surprises. The debris founbd there can take on a whole new appearance when a shaftof sunlight filters through. The greens and yellows of the mosses can be quite intense.
The light picks out fallen tree debris, roots, mosses and whatever else is there. This drawing was done on pre-watercoloured paper. It is 60cm x 45cm including the frame and is destined for show at Jedburgh. There are some six works in total designated to augment the SITKA exhibition when it moves on from Kielder.This particular work is called "Roots".

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Group. Drawing No.2

In this second drawing I made the sky much lighter though the cloud shapes are exactly the same as in Drawing No.1. However the trees and ground are done in graphite on charcoal. This work, like its predecessor was in a square format but an unfortunate studio accident in which the top part of the work was torn resulted in it having to be somewhatcropped.
This could have been a disaster. Who says I don't suffer for my art?
Anyway its going up in Jedburgh next week.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

.......in the bright moon hides........

The "Excellent Mirror Samadhi" quotes a line,
..........the snowy heron in the bright moon hides...........
which has a much deeper meaning than the mere romantic imagery. Even when the meaning is not immediately apparent imagery like this can give us reason to pause.
Isn't that enough?
The whole of the scripture can be found here.

Group. Drawing No.1

This quite large work, - the frame is some 33 inches square, - is made using soft graphite sticks on Fabriano paper. The paper had been taped to a concrete wall in the studio so much of the wall's texture is repeated on the work. This particaler group of trees stands at a place called "Fairloans" overlooking the West Allen Valley in Northumberland, almost opposite the Buddhist Monastery. These groups of trees are a common feature in the Northumbrian countryside outside the Forest Park area. There is a strange peculiarity I have noticed: all these groups semm to have one tree standing separate from the main group.
At the time the initial photograph and sketches were done the sky was very overcast but with a watery sun bravely struggling to break through. Imediately after this drawing was finished I felt I had made the sky too heavy and oppressive. But with time I have realised this is the way it was.
A group of trees in a wide landscape under an enormous sky.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Movin' on.

Time moves relentlesly on. Now I have to turn my attention to the Jedburgh Exhibition that starts at the beginning of June. Less than a fortnight away. The gallery at Jedburgh is somewhat larger than the Kielder one so I will have to add a few more pictures.
The centre one in this trio I have shown on this Blog previously. The ones eithe side are drawings related to this. The one on the left is Group Drg.1 and the other is Group Drg.2. Drg is an abbreviation of "drawing" if you haven't already guessed.
Drawing one was the first work and was meant to be the only statement. But when I'd finished it I though the sky a little oppressive so I did Drawing Two which was much lighter. Inevitably the painting resulted. Each is shown here to scale. I will feature the drawings individually in a subsequent Blog. I plan to show them side by side at the gallery.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Beyond Land's End

Land's End is the westernmost point of mainland UK. About a mile beyond is the the lighthouse shown here, Longships light. Beyond that, the Scilly Isles then way beyond that, New York. You can't quite make out the manhattan skyline from here, it 3000 miles away. But that weather, its come all the way from USA and picked up a fair bit of Atlantic in its journey. Its a wet and windy place is Land's End.
Painted about 3 years ago in acrylic on canvas.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

At Sea - Dawn

This drawing, about A2 size (84 x 60cm) was done about eighteen months ago after I had been on a Mediterranean Cruise aboard a sailing ship. The great thing about being on a sailing ship is that it doesn't force its way through the water and create a foamy bow wave but goes at the wind's speed and therefore moves in harmony with the sea and the wind. All there is, is a panorama of waves and the play of light.Constant change. Personally I feel the waves are a bit "frozen" looking on this image, what do you think? Pencil and graphite lends itself well to this scene; grey is the predominant colour before the sun has asserted itself.
My abiding memories of the cruise are when watching the light change on the sea either at dawn or at dusk. My sketchbook is full of these images. In the evening we would set sail from wherever we were visiting that day and I would sit in my cabin. The porthole was right at sea level. I would draw the sea as it faded from deep blue-green through grey until the light failed completely.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Meanwhile, - Back at the Ranch.......

This was a favourite line in the westerns written by Charles Chilton way back in my childhood. For "back at the ranch", read "back at the studio". Now that "SITKA" is up and running I can turn my attention back to the latest work which is themed on the sea, or should I say seaside. After all it focuses mainly on the beach, and breakers on the shore.
The sea is never still, it changes ceaslessly. A single frame picture of it freezes the action and in my view makes it a bit lifeless. Some artists have concentrated on the movement only: Turner comes to mind here. Others have concentrated on the wave's form. But this to me doesn't do total justice to the experience of the sea. Not only is the sea itself constantly changing, the light is too and consequently the mood. I have taked my cue from the graphic novel form or comic strip if you like and as shown here ther panorama is broken into five separate panels each with a different interpretation of the scene. In this way the picture has something of a Zen quality to it; neither this nor that, constantly changing.
I have done some experiments with this format with the forestry scenes which is where I developed the idea.
At the moment I am making a series of five panelled works which I shall call "Pentyches". That is five part pictures.Each panelis 10 cm square. These are preliminary ideas but could become small works in their own right. The plan is to make groups of square canvasses in the future. Hopefully each canvass will be about a foot or 30cm square.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A View of the [Kielder] Gallery

It has been a long day. The drive up to Kielder with my pictures and then setting up the show. But it is nice to see the thing up and running at last. This is the view along one wall. The large sculpture is not mine; it is part of the gallery's permanent collection.

And this is the view along the same wall in the other direction.

The gallery is in Kielder Castle which is the centrepiece of the Kielder Forest Visitor Centre.