When I am painting I am connected to all things. I feel the ground beneath me; the sky above me and the land spreading out around me on all sides. I hear the birds and insects. I feel the air moving around my body and the warmth of the sun, or the cooling of spots of rain.
When I am painting I listen to my body, and more specifically, I listen to my heart. How does my heart sense this space at this precise moment in time? How is my body moved, or challenged, by this place?
Sometimes, the earth itself seems to want to join in. Wet soil, or claggy chalk, invites itself to be rubbed onto my paper. Dry grass and twigs scratch the surface of wet paint. Tiny stones. Rain.
It’s my hand that carries the brush and the water over the paper. My eyes that travel over the distant horizon and interpret that voyage into subtle movements with my arm and fingers. I think it is me who chooses colours and mixes them. I think it’s me who decides where to start and when to stop. But, you know, I’m not actually sure.
People are often surprised when I tell them that I do all my painting outdoors. I’ll walk up or down hills with my materials (occasionally without essentials, like paint brushes) and with each step, I’ll look and listen, and feel the landscape. Sometimes the sense of a painting will come to me before I’ve even stopped to unpack: like a premonition of the creative process. Each painting is a journey: both inside and outside of myself. In and out, like the breath.
Living and working in such a landscape inspires me daily and I am enormously grateful for these experiences.
Both Melissa Cole and I will be bringing our own stories and journeys to the ‘Ancient Landscapes: New Lines’ exhibition this summer. Whether captured in ink, paint, or metal, the landscape around Wiltshire has inspired our artworks and are also available to you to enjoy.
The ‘Ancient Landscapes’ exhibition opens Friday 23rd June (6-8pm) through to September 2nd at Pound Arts, Pound Pill, Corsham, Wiltshire.