Turdus philomelos

Smaller passerines appear to have richer songs. Those blessed with a particularly fine voice are blesséd indeed. The repeated phrases of the Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos) are an example of this, offering an enigmatic and persuasive presence in woodland, particularly on a fine evening, and suggestive that their voice is compelled by joy as much…


The Decoy

I have been revisiting this fascinating landscape feature throughout the year and have come to know something of its moods as well as its many guises. It is a cormorant roost, a scheduled ancient monument, a hidden place and one of Britain’s last remaining duck decoys. Ironically it is at once a lure to death…


Setophaga pensylvanica

A warbler of the New World sings in the Adirondack forests. A warbler flits in the bushes of Fetlar… Old World meets the New in a remarkable and fragile moment, a miraculous journey of 5,000km from a wind-buoyed soul that weighs a mere 10 grams. The moment is wonderfully captured in the official description of…


One Fifty Gallery

Eight contemporary artists are exhibiting at R Jackson and Sons Ltd this year to mark the famous artists’ suppliers 150th anniversary year. One Fifty Gallery runs from 9 July – 16 October 2016 and features eight visual artists working in Liverpool each of which has been given a two week residency in the left hand…


Plegadis falcinellus

This is the first in a new sequence of works which are a culmination of much thinking of late. Patient and careful observation of birds over many years has brought its own surprising revelations, of significance beyond the mode of mere depiction for the artist. I now understand a possible route to help crystallise the…


Currus aurantiaca

The title of this piece is a conceit inspired by the Orange Hawkweed wildflower whose cheery flowers are often found emerging from road verges and scrub across the British Isles. In this hidden location on the banks of the Mersey an abandoned vehicle has emerged, incandescent in its own cheery colour, in a quite beautiful…


The Megalithic Shore

The shoreline is littered with sculpture; cast concrete and complex shapes in brick, the ensemble carefully assembled by the vagaries of time and tide. Only in walking a landscape and spending patient hours in pencil, pen and ink is one party to the quiet dignity of an otherwise chaotic scene. The whole always seems purposeful,…


The Cormorants of Utrøst

Words that are a contemporary take on a legend far older. For those experienced in the alter ego of the North Sea, its benign tranquility – I hope this makes some purchase….


Epiphany of Hale Marsh

The yellow stalks of the marsh reeds shake in the wind in late winter. This landscape is hidden, yet in plain sight. For those who have witnessed it, no introduction is needed. The gloomy skies and a biting wind will be all too familiar. It is the 6th January and the arrival of the kings,…


The Oglet Stones

Only the passage of time gives us the privilege to see the glimpses of light that linger yet from the War years. In all the terror of industrialised slaughter comes an occasional passive ingenuity and creativity that is a counterpoint to the darker sides of man’s nature. We stumble across these as if groping in…


Floreat Mossleiam

A winter sky on a sacred hill facing west, overlooking the place of oaks and the distant kingdoms of Mercia and Wales. Floreat Mossleiam! O divinum collis, etsi sub hibernum coelum quiescens….


Dawn, North Sea

A companion sketch to one made of the sea at Dusk. The character of the open sea is fascinating to capture, the light endlessly changing.. ideal for watercolour. This study was probably taken some distance above the Doggerland. Strange to imagine that in the Holocene, aurochs, woolly rhino and wild boar were passing unhindered around…


SLOS16

On 8th May 2016 I participated in South Liverpool Open Studios. This was a new event for 2016; its aim, to let you have a glimpse into the working lives of professional artists who live and work in the suburbs, outside the well trodden path of the city centre. As artists from across the south…


A Half Dozen Eggs

There is a connection in this painting to the city of Sheffield, and to a painting given in lieu of a simple gift of a box of eggs. Here of course the similarity of the story must end, to avoid the conceit of presuming any self worth in relation to Lucian Freud. The four eggs…


The Vernal Equinox

Twilight in March in the north Atlantic, a beautiful transition lasting over two hours. The Vernal Equinox approaches and beyond lies lingering days of sunlight amplified by the sound of hundreds of thousands of kittiwake, fulmar and gannet. In this large watercolour the sun and moon are shown in diametric opposition over a strangely haunted…


The Red Hut

Each visit to this area of the Mersey Estuary opens up new vistas and shifting plays of light and space. There are many walks in this area of Speke which are secreted, seemingly outside of time and space, rich in birdlife. This view is not one of them however, it can be easily reached yet…


San Marco and the Salute

This is a celebrated view, one that has teased and inspired generations of artists since the 18th century. It shows the mouth of the Grand Canal with Santa Maria della Salute to your left and the Ducal Palace to your right; the fact that it must always be captured in a moving vessel, under sail…


Dusk, In the North Sea

There is a character to the ocean, to the open sea itself, in its light and theatre, which simply cannot be captured in coastal waters. At the interplay of land and sea the shallower water has different wave heights and seems to hold colour differently. On a vessel in mid-sea hoewever, there is a novel…


The Mystery at the Trinity

A long autumn sun warms the gravestones at Holy Trinity. In the mid-distance a swathe of grass known locally as The Mystery, flanked by a row of trees bent eastwards by years of westerly winds. Language and landscape merge poetically at this spot. This is an old corner of England, subsumed in the 19th century…


At Oglet Shore

This offers a counterpoint to the short winter days. Painted on a blisteringly hot summer afternoon on the banks of the Mersey, the wind and rain of a protracted winter long forgotten, sandflies buzz around the detritus on the beach and the paints harden on the palette quicker than one can mix them. This is…