The first landscapes I attempted were painted at Tretower Court and Castle and in the vicinity of the monument. (I apologise that these images are not perfect. They’ve been generated from small transparencies that were made pre-digital.)
My friend Willow Cracroft invited me to paint in her beautiful garden at Tretower House, and afterwards she purchased some of the works I made there. Willow was the first person to acquire my paintings and her doing so provided a much appreciated boost to my confidence. I can see from these images that I was wedded to gestural brushwork. However the panoramic compositions while not a commonplace shape for landscape work… they’re three to four cubes wide… didn’t detract from my intention to make recognisable images of a specific place and time.
Later I began to produce works that were less representational than the early garden paintings, striving instead for the more interpretative ’spirit of place’ that I admired in the ‘Neo-romantics’. The following three images illustrate the development to a more imaginatively expressive type of work. Trees and vegetation have become more schematic. There’s a definite drift in the work, particularly the one below, toward abstraction. Only the fence posts, the swift sgraffito delineation of branches and the horizontal divide of land to sky, anchor the work in the figurative tradition.
Carn Euny in Cornwall (below) was the place that defined me as a painter of landscapes. Here I began to make loose charcoal drawings of a type that I’d never managed at Tretower. Having been enchanted by Carn Euny on our first brief trip there, Peter and I returned at a later date to stay in a rented cottage just down the lane from the site so that I could sit and draw there every day for a week. I shall take some photographs of the Carn Euny sketchbook and post them soon. I still return to those drawings as reference material. I’m so glad they were made in a spiral bound sketchbook and were never split up for sale.