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Man's destruction of nature: three new wood engravings
19 May 2019, 21:22

In June and July I have three small wood engravings showing in a couple of exhibitions with a similar theme: man's destruction of nature.

'Further Reading Between The Limes' is a second exhibition by local artists from Walthamstow (my connection is I used to live there) trying to raise awareness of the council's decision to remove many mature lime trees from the town's small park.

My first piece for this show, Save Our Trees shows several entomological inhabitants marching along the lime tree walk holding up banners and marching to a drum beat. The second piece, Nature No Entry depicts a scene after the cutting has begun. Several of the inhabitants are shown dead behind a chained sign. Once concreted over, nature literally is killed off.

'Lets talk about the Anthropocene' is an exhibition that has been set up by a group of artists from Brighton who are all deeply concerned about climate change and man's effect on the natural world. Extinction is a small wood engraving that has been selected for this show. The plight of insects - a colossal part of any ecosystem that for so many goes unnoticed - is incredibly sad and frightening. This picture tries to consider many of the factors that may be causing the decline of bees: the lack of wild plants, the harm of pesticides and herbicides, climate change and drought. In this work, the honey comb cracks like the melting of the retreating glaciers. The combs are not full of honey, but are empty and fall apart onto a scorched earth. More information on the events page.

New wood engravings
2 February 2019, 15:48

I have two new wood engravings on the block at the moment. The first is the Bakerloo Underground Station at Paddington. The Bakerloo line is one of the oldest parts of the underground network and still retains this history in its walls and structure. Its quite shabby appearance is why I love it so much.

The second of the two blocks is an engraving of a wasps nest. It is a picture I have always wanted to try and capture in wood. Wood being the material used in the formation of the pulp the wasps use to construct their intricate architecture. In the case of my engraving I am using boxwood, the wasps using whatever wood they have to hand. The ones in my little garden are often seen stripping the surface of the shed, fence and table panels!

Reading Between The Limes
13 October 2018, 16:55

81 trees are to be felled in Walthamstow Town Square to make way for retail and luxury housing development. This will change this area drastically. I am one of 16 artists putting on an exhibition to respond to this awful situation.

For this exhibition I have produced three small wood engravings: choosing to work in black and white, like text on a page, giving a small voice to those who have none.

Mimas tiliae: The Lime Hawk Moth
Is a resident who
When the lime trees are cut down
Will be forced to flee
For its life

Flight of the Refugees
For residents who are able
When the lime trees are cut down
Will be forced to flee
Their homes
As refugees

Extinguished: Forever
For residents who are not able
When the lime trees are cut down
Their lives will be

When did man loose his ancestoral knowledge and understanding of the interconnectedness of all life and our place within the natural order? The thrum of the Climate Change drum is becoming ever louder.

He is heading for a fall.

The exhibition runs from Thursday 25 to Sunday 28 October - at Winns Gallery, Lloyd Park.
For all details please visit my events page.

The first call of spring
3 May 2018, 20:32

I heard my first cuckoo of the year, yesterday, out in the woods near my home. I didn't actually see it, but it was such a joy to hear that distinctive call — and I really feel it's a sign that spring has begun :)

My blog today features a couple of pictures I have been working on, both of Mile End underground station. This is such an interesting station; it's so rich in colour and bold in its geometric forms and lines.

The many tiled pillars along the two double platforms at this station break up the scene into a series of images as you walk along. It feels like walking through a living film spool or negative, and reminded me of some of Tacita Dean's work. It was this sense of framing that I wanted to portray in the wood engraving, recording the narrative taking place between a pair of pillars on different platforms.

For the oil painting, I've turned to a diagonal view of one of these pillars, which reveals a wonderful distortion of a stationary train held at a platform, captured by one of the Tube's convex mirrors. I have shown both the starting point of this picture and also a 'work in progress' shot.

Wood engraving exhibition news
15 October 2017, 19:45

Two of my wood engravings, View Subterranea 8: Bethnal Green and View Subterranea 9: Holborn, are currently on show at the Royal West of England Academy's 165th Annual Open Exhibition. I am always honoured to have my work selected for this show as I love this historic and prestigious venue in Bristol.

View Subterranea 8 is also currently on show in the Awagami International Mini Print Exhibition, in Tokushima, Japan. I was chuffed that it received an 'honourable' mention - particularly as I was up against a lot of traditional Japanese printmakers.

All details can be found on the events page.

Last brush strokes
7 July 2017, 21:24

It is always a difficult decision to make, but it's also a relief when the last brush stroke on a painting has been made.

Today was one of those days. I have worked for some time on a couple of oil paintings: one of Waterloo tube station, and the other Temple. In the course of creating both of these paintings I have been working on trying to reflect the beauty of the stations, whilst stripping back on any unnecessary detail.

As much as the familiar details of trains and roundels, I was equally captivated by the surfaces in these images. I loved working on these simultaneously, enjoying the contrast between Waterloo's shiny, polished, marble-like platform and Temple's rather rougher floor - looking a little like an eroded river bed.

First pulse of Spring
7 April 2017, 13:01

Walking out the other day into the back garden I felt the first warm rays of spring sunshine. In the garden, orange, red and violet crocuses with deep sap-green leaves were in full bloom, and a beautiful Red Admiral butterfly - which must have just woken from its hibernating slumber - flew past me and alighted on the white rear wall for a few minutes. I was struck by the sheer beauty of this scene, and I have tried to capture the essence of its memory in this oil painting I have called the 'First Pulse of Spring'.

Mind The Gap
1 January 2017, 15:18

Last year I launched a new series of paintings at Reading Contemporary Art Fair. The title of this series is 'Mind the Gap', and the first of these was on display for a little less than an hour before it was snapped up and on its way to a new home!

As even the most cursory glance at my gallery will reveal, I get a great deal of artistic inspiration from the London Underground. There's just something about the architecture, style and atmosphere of this labyrinth of subterranean tunnels. I am constantly finding new and unusual perspectives here, offering unexpected delights.

An important part of what fascinates my about the Tube is the limitless potential to take a fresh look at common objects and scenes, finding new meanings. As a former London commuter myself, I know that these underground scenes can become so familiar as to be almost invisible. How many regular travellers, for example, really take note each time they step over one of the Underground's most iconic and ubiquitous warnings: to Mind the Gap?

In this series of works, I elevate these painted exhortations to be the focus of each piece. The words seem to have a magical ability - even within a single scene - to veer from deep philosophical meaning to mere abstract shapes, and back again.

Shorn of much of their context, these works can blur the distinction between realism and abstraction, and in so doing prompt new interpretations of these three simple words: Mind The Gap.