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The Story of Woodlands

Updated: May 1, 2023

Gloriously long, our last Autumn was uninterrupted by rain and gusty storms. Summer colours intensified and glowed for months before winter set in. Prompted by the cascade of colour I ventured into local woodlands with charcoal. pastels and inks. I tramped along soggy paths and muddy fields to sit amongst trees, damp leaves and wet ferns.

Propping my drawing board on tree trunks and wooden bridges, each outing was an adventure. I was washed out in the Clent Hills and my work almost washed down stream in Belbroughton. I sank deep in the mud of Hanbury Woods and at Dudmaston I sat amongst the thumps of apples hitting the ground as I looked up at glorious canopies of rhubarb pink acers.

Drawing outside embeds in the mind much more than just the images, It allows for the recall of all the senses - smells, sounds and feel of places. So dozens of marking making and colour studies transported the landscapes back into my studio for reference and inspiration.

Cropped and pinned to my walls the tree studies sat in my studio for weeks as I prepared my boards. Layers later of gesso (a base layer to protect the painting from the wood), sanding and more gesso, I began recalling my woodland adventures.

You can see how I prepared some of the base layers here.

I began with a few small pieces, but patience is not my best virtue, so momentum soon gathered and before I knew it I was putting on, taking off and scratching through layers of paint and glaze.

The time required to ‘cure’ the oil paint enforces reflection and a gentle rhythm to work. It can't be rushes. And as each piece formed, I revisited the woods and relived the movement of leaves, glowing colours, scents and sounds.

A few chuckles, lots of mess and even more hours later, the Woodland collection was complete to tell my tale.

And this is where all the creative endeavour lead me - to my first solo exhibition.

I was lucky enough to do a radio interview with radio Gloucester before my exhibition which gives a little background to my artist story.

The paintings will soon be on my website, but in the meantime, if you'd like to know more about the work, or arrange a studio visit, just get in touch.

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