Wednesday, August 05, 2015


        Walking on White, Iceland 2015
        Acrylic and gouache on chalk gesso
        20 x 12 cm

Most people who follow my work will know me as a painter of flowers. The main body of work that I have been involved in for many years involves more esoteric concerns, and although it sometimes embraces the flower motif, it is with a view to a greater meaning. Much work has been completed, as I worked in silence over many years, seeking and expressing profound meaning. The work has developed privately, sometimes finding the rare collector to support it. The energy was contained, as I sought to protect the work from superficial glamour, allowing it to grow on a deeper level. 

The focus of this work is upon drawing and various forms of painting that involve drawing with the brush as well as other mediums. It embodies my quest for a new discourse on the spirituality of drawing, and so the right to this had to be earned over many years of disciplined training and practice on other levels. I have now created a new website specifically for this work, bringing it out into the open to be seen. 

I have placed a large copyright notice on the home page, and this is to warn anyone who assumes they have the right to copy the text or the imagery, translate it into another language, and publish it as their own. I have of recent years had this problem with plagiarism, from this blog as well as my other flower painting website. If it were not for the kindness of strangers who speak other languages and who have informed me of this, it would have continued without my knowledge. 

Much of the recent work has come into completion after many months or years of experimenting with drawing methods and materials. Some works are very large, some very small. The site also shows a glimpse of what I did as a student, which was where it all began. 

There is intense mental energy placed into this work, but the appearance - in some of the landscape pieces in particular - is of less, with hardly anything there on the material levels. Its asking if you can 'read' it in other ways than are normally acceptable. I hope you enjoy the work, should you choose to view the site, and thank you for reading this post.


Sunday, August 02, 2015

WATERCOLOUR - Elements of Nature Fitzwilliam Museum Cambridge

For those in love with the grace of techniques and what is possible within the realm of watercolour, do make a visit to the Elements of Nature exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. The show is creatively and intriguingly curated by Jane Munro, and described by the Sunday Times as 'Ravishing and conceptually strong', which is perhaps an understatement, because it really is a fabulous show.

The great thing here is that so many watercolour artists of high calibre are represented in this show, including two originals by the masterful and legendary P J Redouté. Those particularly interested in his flower painting can see two of the very well-known originals from the Fitzwilliam's own collection, as well as works by his pupils.

Whilst Durer is currently in fashion so far as often being granted a deservedly high status in the history of botanical art - even though he produced studies that make him more of a naturalistic painter - Redouté produced infinitely more flower paintings and botanical illustrations than Durer. Alas, he is not in vogue with the many botanical artists out there, but he has always been in vogue to the few, including myself.

The great thing about the inclusion of these two original watercolours in this show, is the fact that they are in the context of other great watercolours that are focused upon nature. It offers the Flower Painter’s art, represented by Redouté, as a part of the bigger picture of the watercolour tradition.

I breathed a sigh of relief, a sense of delight, and a perfect smile of regard for Redouté, who has stood the test of time, even though we often only know him by the endless chocolate box prints. He is the landmark icon of the great age of flower painting and part of a grand whole, not someone separated from the mainstream by the title botanical art and placed into a niche, but something of great power and passion that holds its own in the midst of it all.

The works on show are two famous pages, featuring a peony and a magnolia, so they have borders in line wash and gold leaf around the images, and the vellum is buckled. But don’t let this put you off, instead look deeper into how serene the techniques are and ponder on life the universe and everything through the eyes of the grandest flower painting master of them all, as he worked on these drawings, which were monumentally commissioned by the Empress Joséphine. 

Thereafter, simply look around you at the entire room and take in the miracle of watercolour as a whole, and then walk on to observe the show cases nearby that reveal some fascinating early books written on how to paint in watercolour and the curious examples of early watercolour materials. You will not fail to be touched by the wonder of watercolour, and feel graced with its presence in your life.

This show continues until 27th September 2015.


                             Redouté Homage
                           Rosa Mme E. Calvat 
                              Early study work 1990
                              1:1 unfinished
                              Coral Guest
                              Private Collection