A few notes and anecdotes on a small group of paintings.
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5. Ancient lands.
On the rolling hills of the South Downs of southern England several White Horses have been carved into the ancient chalk at various times throughout history. This one is based on The Litlington White Horse in East Sussex.
37. The Lost Domain.
This was inspired by one of my favourite books as a youth, ‘Le Grand Meaulnes” a book about memories of childhood by the great French writer Alain Fournier, who died tragically young in the First World War.
27. The Woman in White.
Another piece inspired by a favourite novel, this time Wilkie Collins’ mysterious tale, ‘The Woman in White’. Charles Dickens encouraged the younger Collins with his writing and the two became close friends.
31. Chanctonbury Ring.
This is the site of an old iron age hill fort in West Sussex, England. It’s a beautiful but eerie place, rumoured to be used for black magic rituals. Camp the night there if you dare!
22. Crestet, Provence
I did this painting on the in situ, looking up across the patchwork patterns of fields and trees towards the hill top village of Crestet. On the same trip i proposed to my wife in the nearby town of Vaison la Romaine, luckily she said yes.
62. Swimmers Tryst.
More literary influences.
In 1810 the English poet Byron swam the dangerous four mile Hellespont strait in Turkey in the footsteps of the legendary Greek hero Leander, starting a trend that continues today. He probably didn’t wear a rubber swimming cap though.
52. Moon River.
Musical leanings this time.
Moon River by Henry Mancini and made famous by Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, is a real river in Savannah, Georgia, where the song’s lyric writer, Johnny Mercer grew up.
82. View from a window with tulips.
Painted in the lost spring of 2020 during the first lockdown, loosely based on the view from my upstairs studio over the neighbouring back gardens.
24. Lockdown Love
More 2020 lockdown related work. This is the view from the front of our house. The characters in the windows have been invented, although the dog on the balcony is based on my beloved schnauzer Charlie Barker.
69. Abandoned Tennis Court.
Rain stops play at St Annes Wells Gardens, Brighton, Uk.
68. Tunnel Vision.
This rather ornate Victorian tunnel entrance is near my home in Brighton. It seems that only the train drivers can behold its secret splendour as I had to climb a six foot wall to take the reference photo.
27. Haven 3.
A tanker takes a well earned retirement after a hard life at sea. Based on a trip to Tilbury Docks.
73. Bleecker Street, NYC.
From 1990 to 1995 i was lucky enough to live in New York city. This is the Peculiar pub in Bleecker Street, a favourite old haunt.