My studio is very small and so, if I want to convey a sense of space, I have to work with miniature rooms. I have used dolls' houses, but recently, I am making my own interiors, using pieces of wood,often found on skips. The studio window overlooks the garden, which is beautiful, but if I want to suggest a marine narrative, or a landscape, I have to paint one. The white interior is one I find fascinating, as it is by the window and so I can record the changing light from the sharp brilliance of summer, through to the cool and close toned winter. Taking a subject seen in different lights, is an ongoing preoccupation - hence the Fitzwilliam and Chevington series, the interiors and several of the still lifes, where white or monochrome objects are lined up on the same shelf and the light (always natural, never artificially created ) defines the passing seasons and time of day. Several of the props are from Gabor Cossa, Trumpington Street, Cambridge
After a day of travelling by train we arrived in Munkacs/Mukachevo in western Ukraine, to find the castle we had come to see shut. We were with our son Alexander, a frequent guest on local breakfast television. He rang round his contacts and the castle was opened just for us. On a perfect May morning we sailed in through the great doors, in the wake of our celebrity son, the only visitors there. The staff had kindly opened the museum and shop for us and the sounds of workmen in the courtyard were a balance between the utter quiet within the thick walls and life carrying on around us. I saw the castle ten years ago, in October and the light was entirely different. Then it was overcast, the walls taking on a deeper, richer hue. In the May sunshine the beautifully constructed walls shone white, the windows overlooking the view to the distant Carpathians. Alexander is an expert on the area and his book 'Transcarpathia, Europe's Last Wilderness' gave us a good overall understanding of this beautiful, under visited part of East Central Europe. For a description of the castle and its history, go to https://www.budapesttimes.hu/2018/08/16/palanok-pearl
Still life. The two words are a perfect description of the subject. Still life does not move, but it is still life. Nature Morte, is not how I view the objects on my studio shelf. They are not dead. Stillness is a living existence, the lack of movement suggesting a temporary cessation rather than a final and absolute death. Most of my still life photographs are taken from a shelf in my studio, lit from a side window. The light is a major player in what I see as an ongoing drama series. Each hour is different, often changing minute by minute and it is always natural light. I am not interested in anything else, as I find the beauty of natural light, however unexciting it might be on a dull day, of infinite fascination. One thing I have discovered which makes a difference to a composition, is that if there are too many objects of value i.e. antique and beautiful, the effect can be quite dull. Mixed with trivia such as boxes, bottles, small tin cans and crumpled paper, often roughly covered with acrylic paint, the precious ones take on a new life. It becomes theatre, with the divas surrounded by extras - who are not really extra, but essential. The weighing words/ideas series was inspired by a scales lent to me by Debora Greger. I photographed them, returned them and bought two more from Antiques on High, Oxford.
From 23 March 2020 we were advised to stay at home, not to meet family and friends and to observe what has become known as 'social distance'. My studio has become my universe - apart from taking a walk each day and waving to friends and neighbours across the street. When we do go away, I often take a small window with me. This was made from a bathroom cabinet, the back removed and the doors opening out to a view. The images shown here are of shots taken in the not so distant past when we could wander about without the fear of catching or transmitting the vicious virus now floating round the world. Beyond lockdown is a new world. I hope we can all make it a truly new and good place to be.