Rocks and Trees Gallery

Much of my work is abstract, but I also enjoy painting images from nature that appear to me to have an abstract quality, such as rock faces, the surface of water and tree bark. I try to embrace these abstract features and make the most of the colour within the scene. Many of the rock paintings are close-ups, so the viewer cannot tell the scale of the original scene. I like to find a balance between painterly techniques and accurate representation when painting from nature.

These paintings are of various locations, including both local scenes and images from further afield. Wherever I go I take photographs that I may later use as the basis for paintings. I often revisit old photographs, and it may take several years before I feel I am ready to start turning these recollections of the original experience into a painting.


Whitby Beach

Whitby Beach
2014, 51x61cm, 275

Limpets and Barnacles

Limpets and Barnacles
2015, 51x61cm

Footsteps on Beer Beach

Footsteps on Beer Beach
2014, 51x61cm, 275

Near Water

Near Water
2010, 51x61cm, 275

Silver Blue Rocks

Silver Blue Rocks
2007, 51x61cm sold

Leaving Filey Beach

Leaving Filey Beach
2010, 51x61cm, 275

Near Dancing Ledge

Near Dancing Ledge
2010, 51x61cm, 275

At Surprise View, Bloomsday 2010

At Surprise View, Bloomsday 2010
2010, 51x61cm, 275

Near Robin Hood's Stride

Near Robin Hood's Stride
2011, 51x61cm, 275

Roots, Bloomsday 2011

Roots, Bloomsday 2011
2012, 51x61cm, 285

Over the past few years, some friends and I have taken to celebrating the 16th of June in honour of James Joyce's 'Ulysses' - a novel which takes place in Dublin on the 16th of June, 1904. The day is called 'Bloomsday' after the protagonist of the novel, Leopold Bloom.

This celebration takes the form of a prolonged pub crawl, starting in familiar territory, but often wandering to places we don't usually go, in an attempt to make the day more of an adventure, or more in keeping with the tone of the novel.

These paintings are an attempt to capture the hazy recollections of our Bloomsday adventures.

Hope Valley, Bloomsday 2010

Hope Valley, Bloomsday 2010
2010, 51x61cm, 285

Over the past few years, some friends and I have taken to celebrating the 16th of June in honour of James Joyce's 'Ulysses' - a novel which takes place in Dublin on the 16th of June, 1904. The day is called 'Bloomsday' after the protagonist of the novel, Leopold Bloom.

This celebration takes the form of a prolonged pub crawl, starting in familiar territory, but often wandering to places we don't usually go, in an attempt to make the day more of an adventure, or more in keeping with the tone of the novel.

These paintings are an attempt to capture the hazy recollections of our Bloomsday adventures.

Hoar-frost on wedge-shaped rock

Hoar-frost on wedge-shaped rock
2009, 51x61cm, 275

Trees and Snow

Trees and Snow
2005, 30x40cm, 225

I am very pleased with the way this painting turned out. I was in two minds about whether to paint the fence on the right, but I am glad I did. In adding this very simple indication of the perspective of the scene, it comes to life. You see the slope of the field, rather than a uniform white area. I can imagine trudging through the snow by the fence, towards the trees.

The city in the background (Sheffield) was also a potential stumbling-block. I was worried about putting in too much detail and distracting the eye from the rest of the scene; I wanted to give the minimum amount of detail required to give the impression of the city without making it look like a wasteland.

Snowy Fields

Snowy Fields
2005, 28x35.5cm sold

Following a recent heavy snowfall, I walked into the peaks to make the most of the view. This is a painting from the edge of the peak district.

I am pleased with the way this one came out as there seemed to be so many ways to go wrong. It was difficult to convey the wonder of the image since it is basically a very simple, grey scene.

The key to each aspect of the painting was to capture complexity and simplicity at the same time. The sky appears to be a fairly uniform bluey grey, but subtle gradations produced a deep foreboding nature. With the trees (as always, I love painting trees) I try to show the complexity of the structure with a minimum of brush strokes. The snow itself appeared completely white and without depth, but it still required blues, yellows, and greys to make it feel real. I am pleased with the three walls; my intention was to preserve the sense of distance I remember from the original scene.

Cretan Tree

Cretan Tree
2009, 76x61cm, 375

Winter Walk

Winter Walk
2005, 30.5x40.5cm sold

In the Woods

In the Woods
2005, 30.5x40.5cm sold

I was walking on my own through woodlands the other day and noticed that everyone else I saw was walking a dog. Suddenly I felt rather conspicuous and out of place; as if it was unnatural for me to be there without a purpose.

At times during the walk when I found myself alone in the woods with nothing but the trickle of a stream and the rustling of leaves for company, I wanted simply to stop and stare; to look around me and soak in the atmosphere. In practice, I could only do this for about a minute at a time, as I expected at any moment to be 'discovered', staring like a child or a madman, by another dog walker.

It struck me how odd it was that it felt unnatural to walk alone in a forest; that I felt hurried along by the presence of other people. Mankind has certainly lost some of its connection to the rest of nature; an instinctive link with the rest of the world.

The appeal of landscape paintings is clear; you can gaze upon the world to your heart's content, without being taken for a lunatic. A landscape painting can allow you to recapture a moment when nothing exists except you, the earth, the trees, and the sky.

This scene is taken from one such moment.

The Watchers

The Watchers
2004, 35.6x24.8cm sold

Sunset from Higger Tor

Sunset from Higger Tor
2005, 30.5x40.5cm, 195

Derwent

Derwent
2004, 28x36cm sold

Wild Grass

Wild Grass
2005, 40.5x30.5cm sold