The long story

9 December 2020

For about 6 years I have been painting, amongst other things, long still life paintings.  Each time I think ‘enough of this’ another one pops into my head.  It all started with a present for my niece who wanted a painting to go in a particular place where only ‘long and thin’ would do.  She is very sporty so it became ‘Six balls and a shuttlecock’.

Six balls and a shuttlecock 21 x 110cm

So I’ve tried to think what made me want to continue with this format. Often it’s only in retrospect that these things seem to come to you. Even before the painting above, I had seemed to veer towards ‘a line’ and have written about it in previous blogs. I live in East Anglia where the land is, more often than not, flat with a visible clear horizon.  The majority of my landscapes emphasised this including some of the first paintings that I showed at the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours (RI).

Black earth poplars 45 x 71cm

Something being laid out in front of you, straight on, seemed to force you to inspect it – almost like a specimen with everything laid bare.  Another influence could have been my time as Project Artist during the building of the St Edmundsbury Cathedral Millennium Tower, where I studied all the various, often unseen components that had been essential in helping the building to stand up – like little square slate cubes hidden like dowels between the penultimate and ultimate stone. It appealed to my love of the obvious and often overlooked. So here are a few of the long still life paintings done since 2014.

Birds and beasts 30 x 95cm Bits 36 x 96cm Nine scissors 39 x 96.5cm Hanging by a thread 30 x 90cm Lost Connection 81 x 27cm Mallets, 31.5 x 96cm On the shelf 24.5 x 80cm Root veg 48 x 96cm Empty nests 31 x 94cmTen green bottles 30 x 89cm Old boots 43 x 94cm Old hands 17 x 51cm

A row of Roman bottles 21 x 50cmTied up in knots 29 x 91cm

Fresh root veg 29 x 91cm

A dozen rusty nails 23 x 44cm Driftwood and a pebble 24 x 57cm W Lung tonic and other bottles, 20.5 x 47.5cm Nine keys 17 x 33cm Nine Roman bottles 23.5 x 73cm