“Here, There and Bits of Everywhere’ just about sums up this year’s collection of local Oxfordshire and Cotswold landscapes encountered whilst out walking, plus scenes from further afield. Then there are some quirky twists on traditional representation when having ‘fun with the paint’ while splashing colour and/or water about, or twisting a kaleidoscope of views into a single piece. There is the added bonus of a 'two for one' visit because fellow artist Patsy Jones is exhibiting her paintings and prints alongside mine at the same COVID secure outside venue in her garden in Wantage.
Light on water, reflections, rocks, sparkling highlights, shadows and contrasts on rolling landscape, light passing through leaves, bright splashes of colour - all have inspired and challenged me to represent my vision on paper or canvas. There's the occasional flower study when shape or colour combinations caught my interest. I seem to have been by rivers, locks and woods quite a bit recently judging from the number cropping up in these paintings.
My pieces are ‘small to medium room-sized’, from 20 x 16 inches (one or two per wall) down to 8 x 8 inches to fit that small bit of wall space. Some are panoramic format up to 24 x 12 inches, plus the odd ‘tall thin one’ for a tall thin space! I work in watercolour, oil or acrylic as suits the subject, my mood or for the challenge of trying to do it in that particular medium. This year sees more of my oil and acrylic paintings on display than previously.
I am a self-taught painter based in the Vale of the White Horse, Oxfordshire. Painting is an itch that has always needed to be scratched from as long back as when I was in school doodling things seen out of the classroom window when I got bored. After a career in corrosion chemistry followed by managing an IT network, during which time painting was a hobby that 'got out of hand', I can finally put my artwork first and foremost and take on the challenges, joys and frustrations of trying to realise the inner vision.
I am always drawn to painting water in some form or another; seas, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, snow, puddles. I try to capture those glorious fleeting light effects and colour contrasts that made me stop and stare. I love the fresh spring colours, rich autumnal hues and if there’s snow and sun - well that’s just light and sparkle on water in another form. I don't usually put people in the scene, so observers can ‘own’ their view and not be forced to share, except perhaps with animals to bring some life to the scene. I think my ordered scientific background bleeds through in that my landscapes, flower studies and pet portraits are mostly realistic in style and quite detailed but from time to time I rebel from the traditional to let rip, splash paint about, see what happens and take it from there. It's a bit like 'seeing' things when staring into the flames of a fire. Sometimes I'll add text and lettering into a painting, not always in a legible way, rather as a texture effect that comes from the words and letter forms. I started painting in watercolour and it remains my first love. I try to retain the freshness and vibrancy of the happy accidents from early wet into wet colour washes, a 'hands in pockets don't fiddle with it' approach when I can resist the temptation to 'just do a bit more to it'. My finished work is mostly 'studio' based, worked up from a combination of sketches, studies made on location and a stack of photos I have taken. I'll shift around the scenery a bit but not too much unless I’m off letting rip on one of my quirkier landscape montage efforts, when who knows what might end up next to where.
i'm lucky to be able to work in a spare bedroom that started out being organised with clear working spaces, storage and a floor space you could see but over time the flotsam and jetsam has spread to cover everywhere except the small desk where I sit to paint unless I'm working at an easel. I'd love to invite you to view my 'open studio' but you'd hardly be able to sidle through the door.