I’m currently living in a hiatus. Having decided we must downsize to a smaller home, the current financial/political climate has caused the property market to stall making a potential move substantially unlikely.  The upheaval potential of a change of lifestyle has impended on my current mindset. The main thrust of which, has  been to edit and generally rethink my art practice. Wondering how to move forward, I have started to question the subject matter of my paintings. Having largely abandoned, albeit temporarily, my obsession with swimmers, I’m sure I will return to that at some point, I wanted to investigate in more detail the genre of Landscapes . noticing a book on the shelf , The language of Landscape by Anne Whiston Spirn I opened the pages and read the introduction. The book was recommended to me while I was studying for my MA. I confess I bought it, but did not actually read it then. However, today having time on my hands I soon realised how exciting were her thoughts and ideas. In short, I couldn’t put it down and quickly found myself captivated by the fascinating links she enumerated. This spurred me to rush into the garden to begin a series of photographs.

By taking closeups and then rotating to a different perspective I created new ‘landscapes’. Possibilities for connections and abstract images seem to leap into view. Must keep reading. It’s a long time since I had the energy to cope with intellectual texts but I think it will help to clarify my thoughts.

Difficult to see perhaps but  I’ve made subtle changes to this painting since starting to read the Landscape book. Blocked colour stands in for figurative detail. I’m trying to use the materiality of the medium to express my memories of the colours of the soil I walked on during a wintry, sunny visit to Cornard Wood. During the walk I remember trying to conjure the image of a young Gainsborough walking in that exact spot.

It’s a start but much more to do.


Feel I’ve reached a bit of a crisis point. The garden, which I love working in and being in, is really getting too much at my age. The photo of the inside of the compost bin struck me as quite beautiful. The roses are flowering their heads off at the moment. So much so that keeping up with dead-heading is almost impossible. That and the 45 degree bank which has been 7 years in the making is now pretty much OK. Choosing the right plants; building barriers and just rearranging all the plants has been a labour of love. But how much longer I’m able to scramble up the bank to weed and prune is seriously questionable.

I need to prioritise my energy for painting. It’s so easy to get distracted into gardening and then my arthritic hands ache for days so much so that holding a paintbrush is painful. We decided we had to move to an easier to run smaller house. But finding a small house with a studio and a workshop is nigh on impossible.

We bit the bullit and tried. But it’s sending me into a spiral of depression and fear. Further distraction from painting. Even though I’m actually on a bit of a roll experimenting with different ways of applying paint right now.

Using wide flat brushes and trying not to aim at polished finished images. Instead just playing with what the paint will do.

Using my favourite acrylics and lots of water to run and drip. Then back to brushes and bits of rag to manipulate the wet areas. It’s cathartic to allow the medium to dictate the outcome. I start from a memory or a sketch and let things develop organically.

There is so much scary news at the moment which also upsets my equilibrium ….Ukraine, Global Warming; the terror of France tearing itself apart. I’ve always loved visiting France for it’s culture and sophistication; it’s civilised lifestyle. What’s happening to the World? Everything seems to be turning upside down.

So I’ll end this post with a little bit of beauty and goodness which it’s still possible to find if you look close to home. I picked cherries from my daughters garden before the annual carnage when the birds decide the day has come to strip the branches. I made cherry jam and took this photo

Life is just a bowl of cherries.

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