I love wild landscapes. It is so easy to take the landscape for granted but open spaces are becoming more and more precious as man puts pressure on the earth's resources. I love all landscapes from the flatlands of Norfolk to the wild coasts of Cornwall, Pembrokeshire and Northumberland; but I particularly love wild mountain landscapes as found in Scotland and The Lake District. Each of the elements in my pictures is important to me:
Ancient beliefs that stars and planets were gods and their movements determined the fate of everything on earth.
A Cancerian by birth date; my sign is ruled by the moon, constantly going through phases-light to dark and everything in-between, being ruled by the environment, which can make or break and alter my moods.
My feelings are close to the surface yet often hidden beneath a hard exterior shell. Emotions run hot and cold, they ebb and flow like the tides-ruled by the moon.
The only natural satellite of earth, the moon is cyclic and has phases.
It is the only other planet to be visited by man.
It is the closest planet to earth and is linked with mythology, mysticism and love. Its gravitational attraction causes bulges on the earth's surface.
This push-pull effect, affects the water more than the land and causes the movement of the tides and the weather.
It has a pale reflected light both from the sun and the earth and has a dark side.
The full moon is the beginning of a cycle or the end. The circle is a satisfying shape in the sky.
Ancient and slow growing, trees are a link between earth and sky with roots and branches. A living thing that is important for the environment. A cycle of life that lays dormant, then gradually bursting forth with life. Sadder winter trees, bare and skeletal yet not dead- even in the dark a promise of new life.
Tall forming patterns in the landscape, offering shelter, sturdy yet vulnerable, flexible yet fragile.
I have always been fascinated by our ancient past, much of which is buried. I have an archaeology degree. I have studied field patterns and settlements from the air which are not visible at ground level. The earth holds the secrets to our planet's history; its layers are a historical calendar.
As the surface of the planet it suffers exposure, erosion, deposition. The surface has been worked by man for centuries, it has been scarred by man some times irrevocably, but left it often reclaims.
The fields in the landscape provide patterns, colour, texture that is touched by man yet not tamed.
Primeval and ancient, they are the result of massive upheaval in the earth. The earth's layers are exposed.
They are isolated, rugged, textured and mostly unpopulated. They have their own micro-climate. Dark, looming they give height and perspective, a backdrop, changing colours in the different lights, casting shadows. They are nearer the moon.
A symbol of Man's interaction with the earth: good and bad. They are strongholds, often isolated surrounded by land, often dwarfed by the landscape, huddled together. They create field- boundaries, pathways, patterns, and colour. They represent a livelihood linked to nature. They are often the lightest part of the landscape creating chiaroscuro within a picture, a tension between Man and nature. They can also offer a refuge for Man and beast, warm, comfort, reassurance. They can evoke a nostalgic feeling of times past, a different, gentler way of life.
Lighthouses and The Sea
Beacons of safety, shining in the night, alerting sailors to dangers at sea, lighthouses have been part of the coastal landscape for thousands of years, and have been called “constellations of the sea “. Coloured beams of light flashing over the sea by night. As darkness falls, the dance of the lighthouse begins.
Lighthouses serve three purposes. They show a vessel where the coastline or harbour is, help it decide in which direction to steer and warn of hidden dangers. With GPS navigation systems, lighthouses may seem to be redundant, however most lighthouses, even ones in private hands, still flash out their signals to passing shipping. The legend and romance surrounding lighthouses goes on.
As I have previously said I love wild places and to me the sea is the ultimate wilderness. The lighthouse paintings and the harbour paintings are a result of my love of everything coastal. I naturally gravitate to these places whenever the opportunity arises, no matter how remote. I feel these subjects are a natural extension to my previous work. They still depict the balance between the influence of man and the powers of nature. When it comes to the sea, nature wins every time.