Landscape with Forest
Acrylic, Oil and Mixed Media on Board
120 x 120cm
Exploring books, prints and photography while researching for this artwork, I was initially drawn to specific events, like the beach landings at Gallipoli, or battles and conflicts, or groups such as the Light Horsemen or Sappers, or notable and heroic individuals. However, while the above would all be suitable candidates to directly address the subject, my attention would inevitably return to the original black and white images of makeshift hand‐made graves of fallen soldiers at sites like Lone Pine, Shell Green, Hill 60, Shrapnel Valley on the Gallipoli Peninsula or nearby Lemnos or Tyne Cot in Belgium, among others. Since I first saw them in print many years ago, I’ve been deeply moved by these grainy out‐of‐focus monochrome and duotone photographs of the hastily assembled crosses placed uniformly like a forest, on the stressed, worn and barren, battlefield landscapes in a heroic effort of remembrance. Historic and recent images of the sites from or about the period, whether it’s art, photography, illustration, or film, continue to produce a range of responses and emotions for me –sadness, hope, fear, horror, respect and even love come to mind. My Grandfather was a returned veteran of WW1 and my father was a British expatriate and Returned Serviceman #14443767 for the 5th Royal Tank Division during WW2.
When I paint, I use the landscape as my reference and starting point. I always start an artwork with an open mind and trust the inadvertent fall of paint or random placement of lines, colour and shapes or objects as I proceed. The intention is to draw the viewer into the painting to experience it as uniquely somewhere/something, – an ecosystem in its own right, of my own making.
“LWF ‐ Landscape with Forest” is not a painting of a specific place or location, it is its own place, its own location, a self‐contained area/object. Building and editing layer upon layer over many months I produced a distressed, scarred, worn patina suggesting the topographical landscapes not long after these various conflicts. I’ve then overlayed the shredded landscape with the Latin Cross, scattered randomly and arranged uniformly throughout as an homage to the lost soldiers, and referencing the original stark, historic, abstract‐like visual records and relics that inspired me.