I’m busy feverishly painting and preparing for our open studio event this weekend (23-25 May). It’s a lovely occasion for me as I really enjoy meeting visitors, friends and customers old and new. It’s good to be joined again by our guests, potter Carl Gray and woodcrafter Mark Greene. Mark’s partner, Agnes Kiemel will also be here with her hand-made felted soaps and some of the Hebridean lambs that she shepherds for the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust. Finally, my daughter Elsa, fresh from her Fine Art Degree will be injecting some young blood into our line up with her work based around memory encapsulations.
At the moment my work is focused on two main strands – in both of which I am drawn to an interplay of colour and overlaying of natural and man-made patterns. The first is a series of ‘portraits’ of the town of Newark-on-Trent, which I have completed for an exhibition at the Newfield Galleries in Newark that is to run from 30 May to 13 June (with a preview on 29 May, 6-8pm). There is so much of visual interest to draw from in and around Newark and the more I study it, the more is revealed to me. A favourite view looks along Kirk Gate towards St Mary’s Church, in this case in the afterglow of a sunny late afternoon. In this light, brick buildings radiate orange and salmon pinks whilst grey stone paving slabs respond to the warmth of the brickwork and the cooler blues of the sky, resulting in almost iridescent pastel shades.
I find a similar visual richness in the second strand of my work – the historic fishing ports of Cornwall – an ongoing source of inspiration to me. In the painting shown here, the orange boat at rest on St Ives’ Harbour Beach is ablaze – its striking colour enhanced by so much complimentary blue. This strong focal point was the initial draw for the painting, but as I worked on it I became increasingly intrigued by the competing forms of the wave patterning of the sand, the shadows cast and the interrupted reflections of the boat.