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Encaustic painting, also known as wax painting, involves using heated wax to which coloured pigments are added. The wax is applied to a surface which can be card, paper, board or wood and heated metal tools and brushes are used to shape and manipulate the medium.

For me encaustic is a most immediate and exciting medium. Above all others it allows me to compose ‘after the fact’ and reduce the number of elements with no potentially destructive left brain interruption. The process of depicting scenery from encounters with my local landscape manifests from the strata of memory – like layers of rock.

‘TERRAIN’

This series of encaustic paintings were inspired by the Northumberland landscape along Hadrian’s Wall.

Winter's night on the fell (21cm x 15cm)  2008

Winter's night on the fell (18cm x 13cm) 2008

Whatever the season the landscape is dramatic; dark skies, rushing clouds, sunlight highlighting a fell, mist hanging over high ridges – and on a warm summer’s day (we do have them) walker’s paradise.

Towards the Wall (18cm x 13cm)

Towards the Wall (18cm x 13cm)

It is a great experience to walk along the wall. The high ridge-walk has stunning panoramic views.

Fallen Down (18cm x 13cm) 2008

Fallen Down (18cm x 13cm) 2008

Northumberland is the most northern county in England. Five years after he became Emperor of the Roman Empire Hadrian visited Britain. To secure his empire from what he regarded as ‘barbarians’ he ordered a wall to be built 73 miles long stretching from the River Tyne in the east to the Solway Firth on the west coast in Cumbria. There are remains of milecastles all along it.

A Broody Day (18cm x 13cm)  2008

A Broody Day (18cm x 13cm) 2008

Uprooted from their Mediterranean home I used to wonder how the Roman soldiers fared in the changeable Northumberland climate.

Windy Fell (18cm x 13cm)  2008

Windy Fell (18cm x 13cm) 2008

The answer lies in letters home to their native Gaul which are preserved in the museum at Vindolanda. The officers pleaded for clothes to keep them warm including subuclae – vests – and abollae, thick heavy cloaks.

Wild on the Fell (18cm x 13cm) 2008

Wild on the Fell (18cm x 13cm) 2008

“Paria udonum ab Sattua solearum duo et subligariorum duo,” one soldier asks for. That’s socks, two pairs of sandals and two pairs of underpants.

Shower Coming

Shower Coming (18cm x 13cm) 2008

Sunpatch (18cm x 13cm)

Sunpatch (18cm x 13cm) 2008

The wall took six years to complete. Members of three auxiliary legions did the building. Most of the wall was built of stone 8ft wide, although the first bit in the east was 10ft. It has been estimated that more than a million cubic metres of stone was used to complete it.

Roman Remains (21cm x 15cm)  2008

Remains (18cm x 13cm) 2008

The wall was manned until sometime around 400 A.D.

On the Wall

On the Wall (18cm x 13cm) 2008

Milecastles were placed at regular (one mile) intervals along the wall. They were built as look-outs and garrison for up to 32 men.

Hadrian's View (18cm x 13cm)  2008

Hadrian's View (18cm x 13cm) 2008

Hadrian and his men must have looked across the fells as we do today. I wonder if they have changed much.

Reflection

Reflection (18cm x 13cm) 2008

The area is very rugged, wild and evocative.

Summer Fell  (18cm x 13cm)  2008

Summer Fell (18cm x 13cm) 2008

A Place to Rest

A Place to Rest (18cm x 13cm) 2008

The Roman barracks had some of the earliest-known flushing toilets – the remains can be seen at Housestead’s Fort. Housestead’s Fort is the best preserved of sixteen outposts along the wall.

Haunted Landscape I  (18cm x 13cm)

Haunted Landscape I (18cm x 13cm)

The museum at Vindolanda houses some fascinating artifacts found during the excavations. I imagine there were bears in ancient times – in the Vindolanda museum there are jaw bones of wild boar excavated along with iron artefacts and pottery.

OTHER WALKS, OTHER PLACES

Lochside (21cm x 15cm)  2008

Lochside (18cm x 13cm) 2008

An hour’s drive and we are in the Lake District. I love the atmosphere around the lochs.

cup and Ring (18cm x 13cm)  2009

Cup and Ring (18cm x 13cm) 2009

Northumberland has a rich pre-history. There are many instances of rock art – large limestone rocks engraved with curious formations known as ‘Cup and Ring’ marks. No one is quite sure what their purpose was, but I love the designs.

In the Shire

In the Shire (18cm x 13cm) 2008

Hexhamshire has wide open spaces. You can walk for miles without meeting another person.

The Moor

The Moor (18cm x 13cm) 2008

Gamekeeper

Gamekeeper (18cm x 13cm) 2008

There are pheasants everywhere, they tend to throw themselves under your car – they make chickens look like Mensa members. The gamekeepers breed them for the shooting season.

Quarry

Quarry (18cm x 13cm) 2008

There are many quarries which is why most Northumbrian village houses are built of stone.

How Far?

How Far? (18cm x 13cm) 2008

Distances are deceptive – on our walks we try to guess how far away the horizon is.

Haunted

Haunted (18cm x 13cm) 2009 Collaged Encaustic

The evidence of Northumberland’s pre-history era is to be found in the instances of rock art. There is a Mesolithic structure at Howick dating back to 7500 BC. It has been identified as Britain’s oldest house.

They have also found tools, ornaments, building structures and cairns dating to the bronze and iron ages, when the area was occupied by Brythonic Celtic peoples who had migrated from continental Europe.

Let's go up past Ninebanks

Let's go up past Ninebanks (18cm x 13cm) 2008

On windy days we like to walk through Ninebanks village – it is more protected there. The road twists round over a little bridge and comes out to the river where on one side is a flat ‘beach’, ideal for wading bird conventions.

They're Burning the Heather (18cm x 13cm)

They're Burning the Heather (18cm x 13cm)

If it’s not a circular walk we have to decide how far we should go – so that we have enough energy left to walk back. It’s very tempting to continue walking to see where this or that lane leads ….

Looking West (18cm x 13cm)  2008

Looking West (18cm x 13cm) 2008

… and then we turn around and enjoy it all again.

Pyroclast I

Pyroclast I (13cm x 18cm) 2009

Imagining what it would be like to be close to a volcanic eruption. Terrifying how nature can change lives forever – yet people continue to live in areas of known danger. After the eruption in 79 A.D., when it buried Pompeii and Herculaneum, Vesuvius continued to erupt every 100 years until circa 1037 A.D. It was then quiet for 600 years, until in 1631 the volcano erupted again and another 4000 people lost their lives.

Pyroclast II

Pyroclast II (13cm x 18cm) 2009

1600 years after Pompeii was buried its ruins were discovered while restoration was taking place. – and yet today two million people live in the immediate vicinity of the mountain. Herculaneum, which was closest to the crater, was buried under 75 ft of material deposited by pyroclastic surges. The last eruption was in 1944 when three villages were destroyed.

'Sky' - encaustic on paper (15cm x 21cm)  2009   A local charity asked for artists to donate a small painting for auction to raise funds for terminally ill people and their families.  This was one of my contributions.

'Sky' - encaustic on paper (15cm x 21cm) 2009 A local charity asked for artists to donate a small painting for auction to raise funds for terminally ill people and their families. This was one of my contributions.

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