“Walking the Southwest Coastal Path

Your painting ‘Walking the Southwest Coastal Path near Lynton, North Devon’, was created as part of an ongoing project. Can you tell us more about this project and also how you go about choosing subjects on the route?

Walking, and painting, the SW coast path was a project I started in September 2019, just before the first pandemic lockdown was imposed! The challenge of walking the full 630 miles from Minehead in Somerset to South Haven Point, Sandbanks in Dorset also gives structure and purpose to my work. The grandeur of the coast path and variety of landscape never ceases to amaze and surprise me.

I take lots of photographs of views and objects that interest me. I also aim to sketch one scene each day I walk. I find sitting and looking for a sustained period really helps me to gain a sense of place and atmosphere which I can then recall back in my studio.

Something I had not planned for was chatting with other walkers. Each day so far, I have enjoyed interesting conversations that have enhanced my day.  When my walk is completed and my coast path exhibition is ready to show I aim to include brief descriptions, with a photo of the people I have enjoyed meeting along the way.    

“Can you tell us more about your painting ‘Sunrise on New Year’s Day over Bowling Marsh Green, Topsham’.  How did you develop the idea for this painting?

New Years’ Day 2021 was a bright, sparkling, frosty winter’s day. I spent the morning walking near my home capturing the transient beauty of a heavy hoare-frost on camera.

This view, looking over Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham wowed me when I first saw it! How can nature be so extravagant in its use of colour? The marsh appeared literally frozen in time and yet, of course, nothing stands still for long. The sun was rising bringing with it a new day, a new year and especially for this year – hope that we might see the end of the Covid pandemic. So, I just had to paint this glorious scene!

“A View from Colombjohn Bridge”

“A View from Colombjohn Bridge Devon” shows a winter scene of frosty fields and meandering river.  Centre stage is an ivy-clad tree.  Can you tell us more about your technique for painting trees and generally how you have created and captured the still wintery chill of this scene?

I love trees! I have lots in my garden. I find painting trees very fulfilling yet also artistically challenging. I try and paint what I see, considering the form and structure of each tree. In this painting, captured on camera, also on New Year’s Day 2021, the silhouette of the branches against the grey winter sky enhanced the frozen, stillness I was keen to capture. The muted colours of this study, created by the frost and clear winter light also attracted me to paint this view. I was also keen to emphasise the ivy clad bridge in the foreground so that the distance across the fields to the little chapel in the background could be emphasised. I feel the tree is somehow inviting us to walk beside the river and across the fields to the chapel. I hope you feel the same invitation to enter this painting.

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