After art school (St. Martin's in London . . . a long time ago!) I went to live in the middle of the huge forest at Thetford, Norfolk. I love all those conifers and, in Clearing (ii), I am back amongst them. In the painting the scene is one of devastation and there is a brutality about this destruction though the cause . . . nature or man, is uncertain. Also uncertain is whether these trees are, like those at Thetford, part of a plantation. Fading into the background, like an old memory, is a watchtower though this structure seems much bigger than those constructed for controlling just deer.
I like the suggestion of a narrative in a painting . . . but I also like ambiguity. I wouldn't want a definitive interpretation. I want the imagination to be fired. 'Clearing' could refer to an open space within a forest, or to the physical act of clearing away, but also to the possibility of perceiving things more clearly - seeing things anew through changes in understanding . . or memory . . or just the weather.
The 'Clearing' pictures first emerged in 2007. I began Clearing (ii) a year or so later, after making a number of charcoal drawings. It too is in charcoal but also acrylic and is the product of lots of re-working. Consequently it has some thick encrusted parts playing off against more fluid areas. I want my paintings to hold some of the changes made during their creation and to work slowly on the viewer . . . gradually offering up more.