Friday, October 28, 2011

Seeing the wood

Internal movements

For hundreds of years there has been a tug of war between the poetic/emotional and the systematic/scientific approach to many subjects. No less is the case when we look at landscape painting, my current hero Paul Nash being the poetic champion over against say Monet as an analytic colourist. It needs more than an eye, however great that eye maybe, it calls for a sensitivity and a deep feeling for the land that in turn reveals a rapport that an open heart understands at once. This has little to do with the majority of conservationists and protesters, but is more in tune with the woodmen and the crofters of our day who live hourly in a physical harness with the soil, the weather and the seasons.

I was fortunate to grow up alongside woodmen and farm labourers whose intuitive reading of their earthy mistress was uncanny. Can I still tap into that harmony between man and earth, that served our forebears so well, to find a language in line and tone to reconnect us again.

Late this afternoon in the damp October air I made a few charcoal drawings while standing on a lightly wooded hillside. I determined to reject preconceived solutions and known artistic language in order to allow a current response to occur. I saw no 'composition', I saw in front of me a mass of interactions over an undulation pierced by the burrows of small mammals.