An emerging theme in recent work as I develop the collection that will be shown in my March – April 2015 exhibition at Bodmin Shire Hall is that of landmark trees, those sentinels that punctuate the hillsides here in the Vale of Lanherne or that stand tall among a crowd of others in the woods. Most recent of these is Oak Tree Above the Valley ( https://www.hendersonsmith.co.uk/product/oak-tree-valley/ ) in which the blond fresh leaf growth sings out against a lowering sky, emblematic perhaps of the persistent optimism that others point out about me.
It’s hardly surprising that some common themes are emerging as I work on my new collection Through Trees to the Sea for my exhibition at The Camel Valley Gallery in Wadebridge, Cornwall in October 2014. There had been an Entrance to a Lane in a canvas made early in the year and a way into the community in the Dusky St Columb painting made shortly afterwards. Now the way through the trees becomes a hollow lane that seems to tunnel its way through the darkness in my latest charcoal drawing. This piece entitled Woodland walk 3, hollow lane ( https://www.hendersonsmith.co.uk/product/woodland-walk-3-hollow-lane-print/ ) develops the series of drawings that will accompany the collection of paintings that I plan to put together for the Camel Valley Gallery exhibition in the autumn.
These new drawings are successors to previous charcoal sequences ( see https://www.hendersonsmith.co.uk/product-category/drawings-and-prints-of-drawings/ ) that accompanied other collections. As demanding or more so than creating a painting, the charcoal drawing process requires that everything be communicated by the way this partly burnt wooden twig behaves; smudging the pristine whiteness of the paper, building layer on layer of tone, lending itself to bold gestures and making erased passages take on a positive mark quality of their own. Much has to be achieved with such simple means.
Our move to St Columb has for me meant finding a lot of fresh inspiration for my paintings and drawings. Now I can at last begin to follow up on this in the space of our purpose built studio. The wooded Vale of Lanherne has already enabled me to begin getting to know the huge potential that trees hold for me as a theme with an immense range of expressive possibilities. The town itself intrigues me as well, with its hilltop location and fascinating variety of buildings. I’m excited too about the possibilities of Castle-an-Dinas as a central location within Cornwall from which a huge variety of vistas can be explored, towards the coast, towards the moors, the clay country and so-on.
>>Click here to visit the New Work page that gives picture links for the pieces shown in public for the first time during Cornwall Open Studio Week.
>>Click here to visit the Lanherne Studio page