Lockdown walking

During the second Lockdown in early 2020 I like many others took to walking in my local countryside. It was a need to get out and to walk my two dogs within the prescribed limit of 5 miles from home. I spent many days walking the lanes above my village of Sandford up on the Henstills. This is a ridge of land which is a typical mid Devon rolling landscape of farmland and I watched the approaching spring and the changes in colour and pattern in the land. There are far reaching views across to Dartmoor to the south west, towards the Blackdown Hills on the border between Devon and Dorset and Exmoor towards the north. The light changes constantly as the clouds race across the sky – every now and then the sun illuminating a small patch of land so that it glows. I was reminded of a poem I came across when I used to live in Chester and frequently visited the village of Aberareon on the end of theLlyn peninsular in North Wales. There is an ancient church there were pilgrims used to stop on the way to Bardsey Island – it is a very sparse magical place, plain whitewashed walls clear glass windows overlooking the sea. I learned about R.S. Thomas who was the vicar there for many years. I bought a book of his poems in the church, and have it still. “The Bright Field’ resonated with my and my experience of being out in the landscape – the ephemeral qualities to be found there and the need to be mindful of the present moment. This has become a mantra for me when I am drawing out in the hills and I try to retain that sense of a magical moment in my semi-abstract interpretations in the painted panels.

The work is acrylic paint on wooden panels – I like the firm response between brush and wood rather than canvas – not sure why but it is a pleasurable and tactile experience applying the pigments, and I also like the fact that the entire object is made by me – the cradling of the wooden panels and the eventual wooden and painted frames

The Bright Field

“I have seen the sun break through

to illuminate a small field

for a while, and gone my way

and forgotten it. But that was the

pearl of great price, the one field that had

treasure in it. I realise now

that I must give all that I have

to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future, nor hankering after

an imagined past. It is the turning

aside like Moses to the miracle

of the lit bush, to a brightness

that seemed as transitory as your youth

once, but is the eternity that awaits you.”

R.S.Thomas

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