The worldwide threat of Covid-19 has affected us in ways we could never have imagined. As an artist, I found myself unable to visit the coast and paint the seascapes, flowers and birds that I am normally drawn to.
Initially, the changes took place at such an alarming rate that I could not paint at all. I found myself limited to a small corner of rural Berkshire, which I walked and re-walked. It is an area criss-crossed by major roads that fell quiet during the lockdown. Morning or evening walks revealed the most dramatic skies, emulating the turbulence in the world.
When I started painting again, what emerged from my studio was not the bright and light, but strong, dark and full of meaning. Small studies, loaded with saturated colour and deep tone, told the story of our turbulent feelings. This change in mood was instinctive, not planned or thought through, but a reaction. Each painting tells of the sense of drama of the time.
Whether directly, or by suggestion, each painting reflects the intensity of our situation, while glimpses of light, give hope. This body of work reflects this period of time, while offering a piece of countryside escapism to lift the spirit.
I have created an E book of the small paintings created during the Covid lockdown of 2020. To view the book, please click here: Turbulence E book
Our family holidays were nearly always to the South coast. The four of us would cram into an old Mini Traveller, no seatbelts, black vinyl seats that got burningly hot and stuck to your legs. My sister and I would play i-spy, sing, bicker and eat travel sweets from a tin. The highlight of the journey was being the first person to glimpse the sea.
I still get a huge amount of pleasure from this, even now. The incredible teal green of the horizon and shimmering surface of the water building anticipation and excitement of the holiday ahead. In my memory the weather was always good ...and so it should be.
First Glimpse, oil on canvas, 80 x 100cm please email me for further information: email@example.com
Clouds are an obsession, I'm always looking into the sky. It's possibly my degree in Geography that makes me so interested in them, knowing the different names and formations, but more likely, my childhood spent sailing around the South coast. My dad taught me all the old weather sayings and I still love them "mackerel sky and mares tales, make tall ships carry low sales" means it's going to be breezy. Also, a hard horizon line is a sign of wind ahead. This painting has a bit of both, but also a feeling of warmth. One of those wonderful summer days when the sea breeze fills in after lunch and the surface of the water comes alive with colour and movement.
Look into the Sky, oil on canvas 80 x100 cm, please email me for further information firstname.lastname@example.org
Capturing the sound and movement of the waves is an enduring theme for me. I love sleeping with the sound of the sea, the soothing, rhythmic rise and fall that is like an acoustic oasis that washes over us.
In this painting, the cool waves are a series of flicks and random paint marks, created with rhythm and energy. There is something about the fact that the paint is moving when it hits the canvas that gives energy to the sea. I smooth and flick, smooth and flick, over and over again, leaving some of the more beautiful marks to speak for themselves. After a point, the process becomes about the paint, not the sea. I get lost in manipulating paint and canvas with a variety of brushes and tools until I feel that I can hear the sound of the sea in it.
Sound of the Waves, oil on canvas, 100 x 100cm, please email for further information email@example.com
It was late May when I painted this, but there was still a chill in the air, as is so often the case at this time of year.
I'm guessing that the breeze was Westerly force 3-4. I was immediately drawn to the wispy, fast moving clouds that passed above, shifting and forming striations in the sky as I sheltered in the dunes. "It is so much warmer here than a few feet away on the shore. Sand in my clothes, but who cares. it's warm, quiet, energising. Sun warming skin is one of life's great pleasures," this is the note that I wrote at the time.
I'm often asked why I don't put any people in my paintings. There were obviously a few people around on this particular day. The answer is that they would become the centre of attention in the painting and I want the simple elements of clouds, sea, sand and grasses to be the focus.
Life at its simplest.
'It's warm in the dunes' oil on canvas, 80x100cm please email me for further information firstname.lastname@example.org
If I hadn't become an artist I like to think I would have become a perfumer as I pride myself on having a very sensitive nose. This painting is about the aroma of the sea. At low tide I can smell the sea from a distance away, as I walk down through the dunes. It predominantly smells of brine, salt, seaweed and marine life. But more importantly its how it makes me feel: calm, happy, energised.
Brine, Salt, Seaweed, oil on canvas, 80x100cm, please contact me for further information email@example.com
As a child, sailing with my Dad, I used to find the term 'Withies' vaguely amusing, but now I love them. They are the punctuation marks of inland waters. Usually made of willow stems, they are traditionally used to mark minor tidal channels in UK harbours and estuaries. At high tide, the tops of a line of withies stuck in the mud, on one, or both sides of a channel will show above the water to indicate where the deeper water lies.
Despite their existence we would occasionally miscalculate and get stuck on the mud for a short time until the tide rose to float us off. Magical moments spent listening to the calls of the Curlew and the lap of water against the hull.
On one such memorable occasion we watched a man who's boat was grounded, climb overboard and attempt to cross the mud bank to dry land beyond. As he progressed, the mud became stickier and more like quick sand. To spread his weight he started to crawl. Then bit by bit he removed his clothes to distribute his weight further. He was heading toward the garden of a beautiful house that went down to the estuary where a smart couple were enjoying an evening cocktail. Like Margot and Jerry Leadbetter in The Good Life, the couple looked on in horror as the man, snail like and covered in black estuary mud, approached their perfect life. As the tide floated us on our journey, I watched the poor man being hosed down. I don't think he will ever do that again.
Withies, oil on canvas, 100x100cm was painted in April 2020, please enquire for further information firstname.lastname@example.org
No prizes for guessing that my favourite colours are blue and green.
This painting came about after a boat trip from Fuseta to the Ihla Deserta in Portugal. It turns out that capturing the feel of the warm, shallow lagoon water is much harder than it looks. And I'm pretty fussy about which blues I like. For example, I love Prussian Blue and shades of Turquoise like Teal and Aquamarine, but cannot get on with Ultramarine or Cobalt Blue. As for green, none of the tube bought colours will do. I have to mix my own with subtle variations of my blues with earth colours such as Ochre, Umber and Burnt Sienna.
I can feel the warm water water and gentle waves... what I would give to be there now!
Email me for more information about this painting email@example.com
Some evenings the skies above are a kaleidoscope of colour and magic. Last night was one of those nights. My obsession with lines of clouds, technically known as Cumulo-Stratus, is enduring. What could be nicer than sipping a cold glass of something while picking out the soft pinks, yellows and greys as the sun goes down?
Kaleidoscope Sky, oil on canvas, 80 x 100cm was painted in September 2019