in the Simon and Garfunkel adaptation of the old country rhyme …

May is nearly over tonight

two years ago I had just completed this painting, for the Cley 18 exhibition, this year’s version would have been opening in late July, but it has been cancelled due to the pandemic. as commercial galleries are now going to open on June 15th, perhaps this was not necessary, but things being what they are I am sure the artists are happier with a safety first policy.

poetry readings are taking place on line. I have a poem in Finished Creatures, so probably I can do an online reading of it for the launch.

it was inspired by a visit to Cley beach but also by a chapter in the late Tim Robinson’s wonderful series of books on Connemara, explaining the milky blue plankton blooms seen there amongst other flora and fauna of the west coast of Ireland. very sadly he and his wife Mairéad Robinson succumbed to the coronavirus this spring.

the virus has also prevented one of the mainstays of my writing life, the writing outside courses run by Dr Jonathan Ward from the NNW education centre at Cley, so I have been making the best of my local walks around Bale, and taking part in some online workshops. but I have been painting pretty solidly as well.

over the last couple of weeks we have been penetrating further into the wood at the bottom of the green lane, through the deer paths, which are quite open at present, into a part full of huge beech and oak, tall hollies, and dead or dying elm. it’s one of those places that seems very secret when you are there, but it turns out most local people have been in there. there is a swing on a high branch of one of the beech trees, and recently someone has built one of those stick wigwams.

I was very surprised to find this pool almost full. it is highly temporary, depending on the vagaries of the water table and springs which fill or empty in many ponds, streams and pits where the gravel slopes of the terminal moraine, the Holt/Cromer ridge, peter out in this high part of Norfolk, and the mix of sands, gravels, clays and chalk surface and create boggy land in the shallow valley that this wood  occupies.

I have been here when there’s been no water at all, just an amphitheatre full of dry beech leaves

it is always a magical place, there are paths that lead to great fallen trunks, and archways of ivy, hazel and honeysuckle. this spring the sunlight splashes through and the birds – thrush, blackbird, wren, chiffchaff – are loud, ignoring one’s presence.

the reflections are quite mesmerising

it has been the inspiration for some recent paintings. I love the fact that the sky is reflected, so that there is no horizon, everything is upside down

I am not interested in painting realistic landscapes, but reach into memory of place for colour and shape

texture too

blessed with this brilliant weather

it’s best to get into the studio early and then late, to avoid the strongest sun.

happily, a gallery in Somerset that already stocks my ceramics, has become interested in my paintings, so these three

almost landscapes – Sloping Field

Blue and Yellow Field

and Green Field in the Clouds

are off to Castle Cary this week for an exhibition titled “Pastures Green” at the David Simon Contemporary gallery, which will open again on June 15th.