John Blandy has been painting in Wytham for 40 years. The work here has concentrated mostly on the riverside trees on the Seacourt stream. Recently the wood conservator invited Blandy to paint some of the iconic trees in Wytham Wood. For the last two years he has concentrated on a few trees: a sentinel hornbeam at Gibson’s Gate and more recently a 600 year old oak near the Duck Pond.
Blandy’s method is to make longitudinal observational studies of single sites, standing on one spot. He works in pastel which enables him to respond rapidly to the changing light and weather conditions. Having established a simple template, whether tree, river or geographic icon, he revisits his site as the yearly cycle unfolds. Through repetition of the image, a story evolves about the artist’s place within the natural landscape over time.
Other projects working in this manner include Following a Lime Tree, in a Corporation of London park. This is an extended portrait painted from one spot since 1997 to 2017 with over three thousand images.
John Blandy, a graduate of the RCA, was last year exhibiting with the Arborealists at the Bermondsey Art Project in December and the Nature in Art Gallery. Series of his work are in the collections of Hammersmith Hospital and St George’s Hospital Tooting.