Hilltop–Sao Martinho Do Porto, Portugal

A friend and respected artist, curator and writer glanced at the painting above and commented that it looked like an ordinary work done in the vein of contemporary British landscape painting. I suspect he meant it was 'anonymous' through lack of distinction or quality. We never had that conversation. Nor was he being harsh. He had a point. A landscape formed from scraped and dragged paint over a high keyed ground is something you do see in many galleries and shows around the UK. Some of that work is delightful and distinguished, created by serious and talented artists.

When I was working on the painting not much of this was at the forefront of my mind–it just seemed the 'right' way to create and hold the painting together. On reflection, I suspect other things were in play. I was testing other artists' maps for a way to resolve a work. Nothing wrong with that as it is part of the process of discovery. However, it is usually unsustainable as you become a pale reflection of the work you follow. Its lasting value is measured in the usefulness it yields in understanding what route you are taking–And that understanding is often elusive or hard won. 

I am content enough to say that the painting communicates something to me.


  1. This is the view I see every day, yet the painting shows it to me in a fresh way.
    On reflection, I notice that the hill is lit up by the morning sun, so the painting also speaks of the promise of a new day.


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