Just like so many other people, successive lockdowns in 2020 and 2021 made me feel closer than ever to nature and the need to be immersed on a daily basis. I have lived in London for many years and in most ways, it has been my cultural home. The grandeur, the galleries and art fairs, the multi-cultural society, the fashion, the architecture and generally the hustle and bustle of it’s idiosyncratic nature. Plus my grown up children and lots of friends and contacts are there.
But the countryside beckoned…and my roots growing up in Surrey/Sussex and then our decade in South Africa made me yearn to be back. Plus it’s easy to get to London by train.
So after a synchronicity I can’t even explain, several paths brought me to Chestnut Yard Studios which is part of the beautiful Manor Farm complex in Sutton Mandeville on the A30 in Wiltshire. I’m close to incredible views, walks in the Chalke and Nadder Valleys, farm shoes, beautiful ancient stone houses, charming villages and the wonderful Messums Wiltshire.
The influence on my artwork has been immediate and it’s so interesting that the Fragile Moons I was creating in successive lockdowns (the large circular ink and mixed media works which talk about our balancing act with the natural world) are continuing with urgency and obvious influences from what surrounds me. What I discover on walks and the way the landscape makes me explode inside.
It’s mesmerising. The skies are so huge, the Buzzards and Kites wheeling and their plaintive keening overhead, the evidence of little events I find on animal trails and paths and in hedgerows on my way. A beautiful feeling of wild and Africa right here in the UK. We cannot lose our natural world and it’s precious inhabitants.