Friday, 20 April 2018

Devil's Den

Devil's Den, oil on linen canvas, 46 x 38 cm
The Devil's Den is a reconstructed (c. 1921) dolmen (neolithic) near Marlborough in Wiltshire. As far as I can tell, it is the closest such monument to where I live (there seems to be a shortage of suitable stone in Hampshire; certainly the chalk and flint in the immediate vicinity would make very poor building material). Dolmens, which look like stone tables, are actually the structural remains of burial chambers that were once covered in earth. Most have three or more uprights; this has two, but one of them rests on a third, recumbent stone. The stones are sarsens, which are blocks of sandstone created by glacial flow. They are plentiful in that area (which is not far from Avebury and Stonehenge).

I have visited the Devil's Den before, with sketching equipment, but this time I took my painting gear. It was a gloriously, unseasonably, hot and sunny day. I spent maybe two and a half hours on site and completed the picture in the studio, where I empasised the darks (which have a tendency to get lost on site) and the reflected colour on the stones.

Devil's Den
oil on linen canvas, 46 x 38 cm

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Beech Hedge - SOLD

Beech Hedge, A3 (420 x 297mm), acrylic inks on paper
This is one of the pieces I did for Artikinesis' exhibition We Are Forest. These beech trees are growing in a line between two fields and are part of a grown-out beech hedgerow.


Forest cathedral

Forest Cathedral, A3 (420 x 297mm), acrylic inks on paper

This is one of the pieces I did for Artikinesis' exhibition We Are Forest. It is based on the overhead branches of the Cathedral Oak in Savernake Forest.

Forest Cathedral
A3 (420 x 297mm), acrylic inks on paper

Friday, 16 February 2018

Downland beech - SOLD

Molotow acrylic marker pens on paper, A4 (21x29.7cm)
Another monochrome beech tree, albeit with a CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) sky. It makes it look rather cartoonish, I think - or is that the "googly" face that I keep seeing in its trunk?

This tree is part of a grown-out hedgerow on the ridge of one of our local downs.


Savernake Beech

Molotow acrylic marker pens on paper, A4 (29.7x21cm)
There are many wonderful old trees in Savernake Forest in Wiltshire. Oaks tend to dominate the selection (they do get impressively old and gnarled), but there are other trees as well, including many beech trees. I encountered this particular example when I visited the forest earlier this month, and this picture is worked up from a photograph I took then (it was a bit cold for lengthy studies).

This is an exercise in the use of limited tone: black, white, and a middle tone (grey).  I used three Molotow acrylic paint marker pen colours for the drawing, deliberately keeping each shade separate and distinct. (I used a fourth colour for my signature).

It looks a bit like a lino print to me, albeit a rather complex one with two printing plates. I like cutting lino (and wood) to make a plate, but have limited patience with the printing process itself and have yet to master the art of registration (printing multiple plates / colours accurately to build up layers). This was rather simpler to do, and very nearly as satisfying.

Savernake BeechMolotow acrylic marker pens on paper, A4 (29.7x21cm)

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Winter trees

Winter Oak (detail)
Winter is the best time to capture the structural essence of a tree. On a bright, clear day, the branches are dramatically stark against the sky, the patterns in the bark are unobscured by the shifting shadows of foliage (and any undergrowth will have died back a little, affording better access to that elusive perfect vantage point...).

These two pictures have been created as part of my preparation work for the Artikinesis exhibition at Sticks Contemporary in Gosport.

Winter Beech (detail)

Winter Oak
A3 (420 x 297mm), acrylic inks on paper

Winter Beech
A3 (420 x 297mm), acrylic inks on paper

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Artikinesis: We are forest

image by Elinor Cooper

The next Artikinesis project will be in Gosport. We will be creating a temporary, room-sized artwork - an installation - on the walls of Sticks Contemporary Gallery. The piece will explore our relationship with trees. We have published a statement for the piece on the Artikinesis web site.

The painted part of the installation will be created on site in five days during February this year. There will also be some projected images (as yet undecided) and an audio element. The latter is being created by Tanith Lawrey. The completed work will remain on show until the end of March 2018.