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Drawing into Painting

10 September - 1 October

I like to find an image in the visible, material and usually natural world. This world has been abandoned by most ‘cutting edge’ painters (though not photographers). I feel that this world is increasingly vulnerable and that it must be protected and celebrated.

An image is a representation with multi layered connotations.... and striking visual presence. I see images out there, photo shoot them, put them on my lap top, make alterations and then draw free hand.

For many years I confined myself to watercolour. About seven years ago I started using acrylic, albeit a watery acrylic. It gave me varying possibilities of opacity in each brush mark and, may be, a greater richness of colour and tone. (I can hear shouts of disagreement from watercolorists!). At about the same time I started using bands or ribbons of colour, leaving a thread-like line between each band, even if the space represented was just a large area of flat surface in the background to a still life. The threadlike lines, between bands of opaque paint, gave a new kind of translucency ... and directional movement, and a kind of shimmer across the surface.

In those early days (and my 2019 exhibition at The Art Stable) the bands and their lines were quite bold and diagrammatic, imposed on the given image. Gradually they have become more discreet or nuanced. The bands of colour are about a centimetre wide, the threads between them less than a millimetre. In the current work every painting is preceded by a finished drawing. I use pencils with a fine point, thus suggesting engraved or etched images (but I prefer the tones of graphite to those of printer’s ink!) The paintings are squared up from these drawings, which stay close at hand as I work on the painting.

In the most recent paintings I have tried to leave an interstice next to every mark. Think interstitially I keep saying to myself! I won’t make the claim that this is true to Science.... that there is an interstice between all atoms of matter.... but I will make the painter’s claim that, though the application is precise (and precision is usually a killer in painting), there is still movement in the image; and breath; and air. Reconciling that difficult equation has been my ambition for most of my painting life.

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Drawing to Music

17 September - 1 October 2022

Since Spring 2020 time has truncated. Then, we were living in limbo, waiting: senses stretched to breaking point, acutely aware of the boundaries between inside and outside. Birdsong became a cacophonous element of the new silence. The dropping notes encapsulated freedom. The idea of John Cage’s work 4’33 where the ‘music’ was the ‘silence’ of the concert hall seemed deeply relevant. Alongside ‘drawing’ birdsong I made joyous responses to Chopin’s Walzes, and revisited the mellifluous economy and intimacy of Gregorian Chant. My memory of the notation of Plainsong – dots scattered across four lines – seemed a logical progression of my use of the marks and piercings of Pianola rolls.

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23rd July
11am - 3pm

continuing throughout 12 August, by appointment

including work by Eileen Agar (1899-1991), Peter Archer, Charlie Baird, Elizabeth Blackadder (1931-2021), Dorothy Bradbury (1913-80),  William Brooker (1918-83), Gary Cook, Michael Cullimore (1936-21), Kevil Davies, Melita Denaro, Keyna Emerson (1923-2021), Mary Fedden (1915-2012), Marjorie Firth (1895-1975), David Gommon (1913-87), Tom Hammick, Josef Herman (1911-2000), Blair Hughes-Stanton (1902-1981), Felice Hodges, Henrietta Hoyer-Millar, Matthew Hilton, Albert Irvin (1922-2015), Michael Kenny (1941-99), Philip King (1934-2021), Teresa Lawton, Ursula Leach, Alexander Massouras, Robert Medley (1905-94), Sally McLaren, Theo Mendez (1934-97), Emily Myers, Hughie O'Donoghue, John Piper (1903-92), Brian Rice, Christopher Riisager, Tobit Roche, Ludwig Sander (1900-75), Elliott Seabrooke (1886-1950), Peter Sedgley, Liz Somerville, Yo Thom, Amanda Vesey, Keith Vaughan (1912-77), William Wright, George Young.

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WEND: the Stour from source to sea

11 June - 9 July

I've spent the past few years seeing the woods for their trees, as ash and oak - and the wildlife dependent on them - has been my artistic focus. Lately, the luminous quality of the River Stour has drawn my eye. 'WEND: the Stour from source to sea' is a series of paintings celebrating its magnificent 60-mile journey to the English Channel. Capturing its watery reflections is proving an exciting and uplifting challenge, while spotting otters and kingfishers along its banks has been an added bonus.

I've visited its source, only then registering why the wonderful Stourhead estate is so named, it marks the spot where the river starts. As it wends through Dorset, many villages are named in its honour: West Stour, Stourpaine, Stourton, Stour Provost, Sturminster Newton, illustrating how our ancestors instinctively appreciated its vital role in their lives, and still does in ours.

I'm painting its twisting course as it falls 750ft from its Wiltshire birthplace to Christchurch Harbour, showcasing its beauty, its environmental importance and, sadly, how we're not looking after it as we should.

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11 June - 9 July 2022

The Art Stable is delighted to be presenting the fifth exhibition of work by Liz Somerville.  This time however, instead of the linocuts that Liz has previously exclusively worked on, we are going to be focusing on a group of watercolours that she has made of the area around Eggardon, the iron age hill fort to the north-east of Bridport, where Liz moved last year.

These watercolours are a way of exploring the area that Liz is now immersed in, and recording in paint the detail, colour, line, texture and light of that ancient landscape.

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A Passing Glimpse

30 April - 28 May 2022

The moment of dawn after a night of gentle rain - when the land sparkles with freshness as the sun rises with little globules shining water on every blade of grass or leaf. The moment when you catch your breath with an awareness of history as you take in a landscape...feeling the spaces in-between, the air, the warmth, the freshness, the story it holds....the irresistible need to dance with each day different from the last...That moment at dusk when day fades, sufusing the air with a different light...These are the sensations I need to record and convey.

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Near and Far

30 April - 28 May 2022

There are two strands to my work, or perhaps three now, since the two strands have produced a third which combines the other two. Mainly I work from a huge collection of found objects and I’ve built up a large series of paintings, mostly the same size and shape, which work together and separately. I find these objects fascinating and because they are unidentifiable I can make pictures which are basically abstract, about the relationships between the objects, while also exploring the objects themselves. Sometimes too, I feel, they suggest a slightly surrealist narrative.   The objects lie on the floor and mirroring the way I move them around there, they are sometimes scrubbed out in the paintings or added as suggestions in charcoal.  Putting several of the ‘still lifes’ together creates an extra dimension, like three-dimensional noughts and crosses, as the paintings relate, echo, contrast and work off each other.

Plein-air landscapes make a refreshing opening-out from the narrow focus on small objects. I’ve been painting in Pembrokeshire for many years and been fascinated in turn by the light on mud, wet sand, the cliffs, rocks, and the light on the hills. I painted a series of long thin landscapes that allowed me to concentrate on where the sky met the hilltops. From hills in Pembrokeshire I went in search of different light on differently shaped hills elsewhere – the Brecon Beacons, Cotswolds, Herefordshire, the Peak District, Teesdale and North Yorkshire moors, Cornwall, Wiltshire and Hampshire. But I still return to Pembrokeshire, which combines hills and sea.

From time to time I incorporate some of these landscapes, often vertically, so the landscape element becomes merely a memory, with painted and charcoal drawings of the objects - and my two main strands come together.

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Now and Then

19 March - 16 April 2022

The Art Stable is delighted to be hosting the third solo exhibition of drawings and paintings by William Wright, whose work takes inspiration from his domestic and studio life, intensified during lockdown spent with his family in South London.  In some ways the subject matter didn’t change, with the acute observation of familiar and humble objects, but views from his window became overlaid with memories of Paris, the narrow London street opening up to a wider imagined world, a stolen moment of fantasy within the reality of lockdown with three young children. 

The Art Stable is delighted to be hosting the third solo exhibition of drawings and paintings by William Wright, whose work takes inspiration from his domestic and studio life, intensified during lockdown spent with his family in South London.  In some ways the subject matter didn’t change, with the acute observation of familiar and humble objects, but views from his window became overlaid with memories of Paris, the narrow London street opening up to a wider imagined world, a stolen moment of fantasy within the reality of lockdown with three young children.

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Attic Stories

5 February - 5 March 2022

Having lived and worked in Child Okeford for over 30 years, I am particularly happy to be having this exhibition at The Art Stable, having known Kelly since she opened the gallery in 2006.  All but one of the works in the show were created in my attic studio there, just a few hundred yards away, and it features in most of them, along with the objects and people familiar to me. I became so accustomed to this very special space, with its warped elm floor and quirky beamed walls that it developed into a kind of visual shorthand for me: a language I could manipulate instinctively and expressively for the compositions that evolved in it. After work it was a bonus to be able to walk out on to the nearby Iron Age fort of Hambledon Hill, whose high perspectives and ancient landscape acted as a perfect counterpoint to the claustrophobic intensity of the attic.

Coinciding as it does with my 70th birthday, and being situated in the heart of this lovely area, The Art Stable is an especially appropriate venue for this, my first gallery show outside central London for over 30 years.

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Paintings, Prints and Ceramics by Contemporary and Modern British artists

27th November - 23 December

including work by Victoria Achache, Eileen Agar (1899-1991), Peter Archer, Charlie Baird, Lucy Bentley, Sven Berlin (1911-99), William Brooker (1918-83), Lucy Burley,  Samantha Cary, Eduardo Chillida (1924-2002), Gary Cook, Michael Cullimore (1936-21), James Boswell (1906-1971), Marjorie Firth (1895-1975), Terry Frost (1915-2003), David Gommon (1913-87), Graham Bell (1910-43), Felice Hodges, Mary Jewels (1886-1977), Teresa Lawton, Ursula Leach, Kenneth Martin (1905-1984), Alexander Mackenzie (1923-2002), Sally McLaren, Theo Mendez (1934-97), Emily Myers, Howard Phipps, Christopher Riisager, Tobit Roche, Peter Sedgley, Peter Snow (1927-2008), Liz Somerville,  Graham Sutherland (1903-80), Yo Thom, Keith Vaughan (1912-77), Amanda Vesey, William Wright, George Young, Henrietta Young.