After the 2nd World War the Forestry Commission planted a lot of pine trees. These pine trees are all over the Blean where I am walking today. I noticed signs saying Forest Operations and the pine trees that had been blown over during the winter storms were now being cleared and logging activities were being carried out in this part of the woods.

The pine trees were always a crop and would be cut down one day and today is that day. I thought the works were just along the edge were the trees had blown over….But….I realise that a corridor as wide, wider than a motorway has been cleared!

In fact it is unrecognisable sky where there were trees, the paths I knew so well totally covered with debris and it looks like Hiroshima in here, completely flattened. It is really difficult to walk across this as deep voids make it more like wading than walking. Cosmo finding it just as difficult but he has found a way of traversing this. Amazing to think that in a couple or years or three this will be unrecognisable again, all growing back. Native trees this time. Birch probably.

Then I see a logging machine, I had seen machines like this many times before and they were called Timber Jacks, but this one was brand new, an upgraded one, a new model. It says John Deere on the side, and has a stag type logo badge. The image of the deer stayed with me and I remebered a strange deer/rabbit creature I drew on more than one occasion, even worked with a chain saw carver to make a sculpture of one.

Me and Cosmo explore it, looks very comfy inside with buttons, levers, handles, reminded me of the bridge on the Enterprise.

I even said aloud ‘Full Screen Mr Sulu’.

Then I thought it reminded me of the giant machines in Avatar which smash, destroy and burn the forests. This was a huge machine with a long hydraulic arm with a powerful multitool on the end.

I found a padlock on a tree stump? To What I could not see. I left it there.

I was enjoying just looking at wood, seeing the equipment and seeing if the wheels on the machine were as tall as me? No.

I have been working with wood at the moment, the wood I’m using is Groyne Timber given to me by Canterbury City Council to make a bench, public seating. I have used Oak to make benches before ….but this….I don’t know what it is called. I have two types a yellow type and a red type.

Here are my drawings and experimental model for the bench.

I think slate is softer than this wood.

The detail on the bench is for a walk another day.






We spoke to no body, saw no one and walked together in total silence. Cosmo in his world and me in mine. Just walking in silence and thinking things over….and over.
I don’t know what Cosmo thinks about, but he is always busy looking and searching for something. We are comfortable together just walking, him…always in front and when a decision is needed on direction he lets me make it. I know these woods very well, and I have a good sense of direction in real space, that sense of direction is missing when it comes to inner space!
Where am I going? Why am I doing it? Who will want to see it anyway? What is it all about?
I have actually started painting!
‘Painting’, I had forgotten what a soul searching activity that is! Completely absorbing and a constant conversation to justify little decisions. Just go’ free form’ and let go, spontinaity. It’s already a concisions decision, I’ve already decided to go free form in that particuklar part of the painting, so even spontiaity is controlled!….so many little balances and micro decisions…for what? Why… it goes on.
My paints…they behave differently from proprietary brands, because they are low tech and use inferior pigments. I seem to have to paint in a way to accommodate their short comings. This suddenly seems very limiting, but when I started the limitation was the attraction! Now I want the control that tube paint offers.
May be I don’t really, and do you know what…..there is no rush here…..this is a long term experiment. I say to myself let’s just make some paintings and move along, things will progress and unfold in time, let a body of work accumulate I say to myself.
I feel that tube paints are better for so many reasons from colour to control and strength, what was I doing trying to reinvent the wheel here?

NO HORSES carved into a log placed across path. I can read it clearly as the bark on the log has dropped off leaving the letters very clear….What it should say is no motor bikes.
Then I begin to mentally load my car with the tools and materials I will need for work in the morning. Carrying on with the installation of the Nunhead Mosaic. I will probably be another two days before this is finished , and then after that I have a public seat/ bench to make. I will be making this from wood used for groynes along the coast. The city council are opening their stores on Wed for me to take what I need.
So my new paintings will sit at the back of my mind for bit.

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Update… Just seen a dog wearing a Tartan Snood.


I specificaly wanted to walk today on what my wife calls the Wild Wood Walk…. it’s actually the Wildart Trail…but Wild Wood is fine.

By total coincidence I can see a sign on the entrance gate, says….Wildart Day…Open to all…Family….be inspired by Nature and the Woodland…Free Activity …..Summer etc etc… and make art… And it’s next weekend or the one after, organised by The Kent Wildlife Trust.

This was the event that nearly two years ago when I was Artist in Residence with the Kent Wildlife Trust in these woods (Thornden) that I made these home made paints using the clays and earth from the wooods here.

The result of the activity was the ‘Shelter Posts’  more here and also see more here.

On the way to look at these posts I can see two ladies with small dogs walking towards us. Cosmo is close buy but roaming around off piste, he goes over to the two small dogs, on their leads, and I have that conversation I have had so many many times before,

‘Isn’t he lovely,…oh…. Marvelous…What kind is he?

‘He’s  a Poodle crossed with a Golden Retreiver’

‘He’s a Labradoodle then…….oh…hello georgeous’

It is always at this point I have to make a decision whether to just let that go, or like I did today and say,

‘They call that a Golden Doodle cos he’s a Golden Retreiver….. and his name is Cosmo’.

‘Cosmo …oh lovely ….can I swap with you and take him home’

‘Are you sure, he has his moments’ I say

‘Oh they all have those’ and the conversation usually goes very Dog at that point.

The Shelter Posts look fine after two years, my paints stood up to the elements very well so far. Black, White, Grey, Yellow and Brown. So two years on I am now able to develop work using the clay and earths near to where I live to paint the landscape and things near to where I live. It seems a nice match to me……then I hear myself saying, ‘your actually trying to paint with mud and sand’….

yeh…I thought I would try it out…why!

We walk past the Drover, he has two pigs and he is on the way to market in Canturbury. The thing about the Drover is he often changes his hat…and on this occasion he’s got a bright red one. And a bow tie, I noticed.

As we walk back to the car I can see new areas being coppiced and logging activities. I look at arworks I made two or three years ago. The bracken has been cut back in prep for the event day I expect. And I get a feeling that I wonder if someone like say…..Bobby Charlton might get when he walks on the pitch at Old Trafford and  says, ‘I scored a few goals here, but the club has new managers, new players  come and go, and things carry on very well without me.  Things move on.

When I put the keys in the ignition I notice a padlock key on the keyring. It is the one that opens all the gates in the woods. The ‘Key to the Woods’ and I still have it.







I’ve noticed fairly recently that sitting down and having rests on the dog walk is perfectly OK. It never used to be that way, and if I stopped to chat to somebody or just sat to look at the view Cosmo would get aggitated and even bark at me. ‘Come on, this is waisting time!’  Now a rest enroute is perfectly OK and a welcome bit of time to just watch the world go by. In fact Cosmo has been known to just to randomly sit down (in the shade) when he wants to.

This development in our relationship has enabled me to make drawings, take photos and just take things in a more relaxed manner than before. So I intend to take advantage of this and start drawing and painting the local area on my walks with Cosmo. So tommorrow I have a morning out drawing planned.

Over the last few days I have been preparing for painting. This means grinding my own pigments from rocks taken from the cliffs at Reculver a couple of miles along the coast from where I live.

I have greys and yellows and have burnt some rocks in the bonfire to make new darker colours, including an amazing red made from yellow rock!!! White I have to get several miles further along the coast from chalk cliffs. Black…I made some charcoal from twigs taken from trees in my garden and again made in my bonfire. Then I crushed the charcoal down to form a black powder.

I was concerned that if I was to paint the local landscape I would need greens and blues etc. Then Today walking along the cliff top I said to myself, aboriginals, native americans, african tribes and most cultures were using colours they obtained localy. So the colours are what they are and  ‘yellow is my favourite colour anyway’. So no blue skys or green grass.


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