Elements of landscape
From panoramic views to the rocks, trees and water that create them, this exhibition is inspired by the natural world. At North Moreton Church, I will be showing work in my two favourite art forms: original prints and ceramics.
My latest prints are a series of views of the Lake District, based on sketches made while on a walking holiday there. Rich but subtle colours emphasise the dramatic forms of mountains and lakes, and the varying moods produced by weather and season. Earlier work focuses on elements of the landscape, such as trees, water and reflections, rocks and fossils. Although I'm not primarily a wildlife artist, birds and other creatures have crept in too!
My prints are mostly etchings, notable for fine lines and subtle tones, or collagraphs, with bolder shapes and textures - or a combination of both. They come in all sizes, from a 10cm square plate printed on A4 paper, to a large collagraph on a full A1 sheet.
Ceramics, formed from the earth itself, are my other love. Work here includes slab-built stoneware, with the smooth matt texture of a water worn pebble, coloured clay vessels in bold stripes like geological strata, and deep bowls, glazed inside and textured outside like amethyst crystals inside a geode.
Art has always been part of my life. After rushing out to evening classes and revelling in summer schools, retirement provides a wonderful opportunity to devote more of my time to exploring all its aspects.
My inspiration comes from the natural world. As a keen walker and gardener, I don't have to look far for subject matter! Sketches make the best starting points for a print, but if there isn't time for a drawing, photos can work well too. I try to always take a phone or camera with me when I'm out in the countryside - even a familiar view can suddenly become striking in different light or weather conditions.
I have a studio at home - a rather crowded room, containing a large plan chest full of prints and paper supplies, a rack for framed work, and a cupboard full of pots. There's also a worktable, where I make preparatory drawings for my prints, and experiment with colourful collages. Like all the best artists' studios, mine has a sloping ceiling and a dormer window. Bluetits and goldfinches perch in the branches of the elder just outside.
Both printmaking and ceramics require specialist facilities and large equipment, and for those I have to go elsewhere. I try to spend at least one day a week at the Oxford Printmakers workshop. This wonderful organisation has been providing printmakers with working space for over forty years. In addition to etching and relief presses, fume cupboard and aquatint box, it's there that I meet up with other printmakers, to compare notes, exchange tips, and join in collaborative projects. I love being part of this creative community, which provides both inspiration and encouragement.
To learn more about ceramics, I go to City of Oxford College. Here, too, I find both excellent working facilities, and expert advice when needed.
This is the second time I've exhibited in Artweeks - a lovely opportunity both to show work and meet other art lovers.