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NEW 'WILD EAST' residency on the Somerleyton estate!

“Painting is a science, and should be pursued as an inquiry into the laws of nature. Why, then, may not landscape painting be considered as a branch of natural philosophy, of which pictures are but the experiments?”

John Constable

The process of painting is a way of expressing feelings that are difficult to put into words. Pretentious as it may sound, that’s how it’s always been for me. During a global pandemic that has changed the course of all of our lives, many have found connecting with nature has been one of the main opportunities for escape and regaining a sense of perspective during the monotony of lockdown. I’ve always painted nature; it is what keeps me grounded when all other logic escapes me. I’m lucky to have been given the opportunity to have an Art Residency on the Somerleyton estate, in conjunction with Wild East. I’d like to use the opportunity to paint several landscapes on the estate over four seasons, observing changes and exploring how I feel about each painting when it is completed.

Art is a great way of starting conversations, and that’s where these short blogs come in. How do you feel about the painting? You don’t have to like them! But if you don’t, why? What does the subject material say to you? Are we too disconnected from our natural environment? do you care? can we reconnect? what practical things can we all do to slow climate change? how can we make those that don’t understand the significance of climate change (and by default the Covid 19 epidemic) sit up, take note and make (if they can) significant lifestyle changes?

Art doesn’t have to be pretentious. I’m not really looking to make edgy political statements or make groundbreaking philosophical observations. I paint this first residency offering (above) simply because I initially wanted to paint some Snowdrops; I never have before. I have visited Ashby Dell on several occasions over the last 20 years. Its timelessness is reassuring. I tried to paint those memories; to preserve them, and give them life.

It is easy to see negatives in the world (I’m generally an expert at doing just that) but for me, Snowdrops are representative of optimism; of new starts, regeneration, positivity.

In an era when we have found a vaccine, a young generation (led by the wonderful Greta) is spearheading climate change action, a conservation movement that has never been stronger (go WildEast!) and a population and leadership unusually open to making positive changes, it seems a good place to start.

Ashby Dell, Painting 1 of residency

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