Gallery

Gary Cook

Temperate Times

 22 June to 20 July 2024

For this exhibition I'm focussing on rainforests. You might immediately think of the Amazon but the trees I am painting are not in South America but are the incredible temperate rainforests that we have in the UK. There is even some evidence that we have small remnants of rainforest right here in Dorset. The show will be at the Art Stable in Blandford from 22 June to 20 July

I have also made sketching trips to the several precious pockets of rainforests that we have in Devon, Cornwall, Wales and the Lake District. These environmentally vital woodlands used to cover up to 20% of our country but now, sadly, they make up less than 1%. They are particularly enchanting because they thrive in damp conditions so their trees tend to be mistily romantic with branches draped in mosses and ferns. They really do look as though they've come straight from a fairytale book. 

I was inspired to begin this project after reading Guy Shrubsole's brilliant best-selling book The Lost Rainforests of Britain. I was particularly intrigued by the passages where Shrubsole describes the plants to look out for because they are telltale signs of these magical, enveloping places. Tree branches, mostly gnarly oaks, are covered in mosses, liverworts, lichen and polypody ferns. Oh and the clue is in the name, they need lots of rain. 

I turned amateur detective on walks around Shaftesbury's misty damp valleys, concentrating on spots next to streams near my home that have this tick list, so there is a theory that the oaks growing there could be remnants of rainforests in our county. It is an amazing thought.  Some people will be surprised to discover that some of the small tracts I have painted around the country are actually in popular tourist areas. They may well have walked in them without realising their ecological significance. 

The paintings, from around the UK as well as Dorset, have hidden silhouettes of some of the 2,300 species dependent on them, as well as some of the wildlife I see as I paint written into the background of the artwork. I'm also enlisting the help of the public by giving a gift of an oak sapling to everyone who buys one of the paintings. I hope that they will plant their presents with care, helping to replenish the UK's diminishing tree cover and maybe even make a small start in re-growing our lost rainforests.

Oak in the Bracken
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on board
34 x 24 cm (image)
41 x 31 cm (framed)
£ 695

Edge of the Rainforest
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on board
34 x 24 cm (image)
41 x 31 cm (framed)
£ 695

Woodland Sunburst
Acrylic and charcoal on canvas
92 x 61 cm (image)
98 x 67 cm (framed)
£ 2250

Mossy Walls
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on board
34 x 24 cm (image)
41 x 31 cm (framed)
£ 695

Oak amongst the Ox-eyes
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on board
34 x 24 cm (image)
41 x 31 cm (framed)
£ 695

Winter in the Rainforest
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on board
34 x 24 cm (image)
41 x 31 cm (framed)
£ 695

Reflecting Giant
Oil and charcoal on board
34 x 24 cm (image)
41 x 31 cm (framed)
£ 695

Sun through the Oak
Oil and charcoal on canvas
123 x 91 cm (image)
128 x 98 cm (framed)
£ 3250

Sezincote (1370)
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on paper
122 x 153 cm (image)
128 x 159 cm (framed)
£ 3750

Morning Mist
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on board
44 x 29 cm (image)
53 x 39 cm (framed)
£ 995

Winter Stream
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on board
68 x 50 cm (image)
89 x 72 cm (framed)
£ 1975

Mist in the Beech Wood
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on board
34 x 24 cm (image)
41 x 31 cm (framed)
£ 695

The Young Oaks
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on board
44 x 29 cm (image)
53 x 39 cm (framed)
£ 995

Nearly Home
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on board
31 x 21 cm (image)
39 x 29 cm (framed)
£ 695

Wind on Water
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on board
34 x 24 cm (image)
41 x 31 cm (framed)
£ 695

Antarctica. Deep Water. An apology.
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on paper
68 x 50 cm (image)
88 x 72 cm (framed)
£ 1975

Antarctica. First Glimpse. An apology
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on paper
68 x 50 cm (image)
88 x 72 cm (framed)
£ 1975

Shadow
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on board
29 x 44 cm (image)
39 x 53 cm (framed)
£ 995

Jurgen's View?
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on board
34 x 24 cm (image)
41 x 31 cm (framed)
£ 695

8.4m to 1
Ink, watercolour and charcoal on board
34 x 24 cm (image)
41 x 31 cm (framed)
£ 695