The Beautiful Melancholy

The Beautiful Melancholy project is a body of work which looks at the abstract, complex feelings which are evoked by the dark, unsettling and intimidating personality of Dartmoor.

Often when I'm out on the moor it feels as if the landscape is looking back at me, and it's not just me looking at the landscape. This magical world is strangely addictive - it always lures me further in, and I love to find intimate hidden places and peek into them.

I find this fascinating and mysterious side of Dartmoor addictive and stimulating. I feel its presence and this is what I am aiming to capture in my art. I want the viewer to fall into the painting, to be absorbed into a familiar and yet slightly unreal world. I love to recreate the deep and rich colours that the moor evokes in my memories of time spent walking across the moor when the weather is closing in, realising just how insignificant I am against this vast, complex landscape.

However, I like to add an aspect of hope and optimism into each painting, allowing the viewer to feel settled and complete, like the feeling you get when you are safe from the storm.

In summary, what would I like the viewers to feel after seeing The Beautiful Melancholy project? I hope they will experience the unsettling and unreal side of the moor's dark and threatening personality, but also that they will come away with a renewed sense of wonder and appreciation of the wondrous and fascinating living entity that is Dartmoor.

Watch this short film to accompany The Beautiful Melancholy project...

The Art

Endless Stream is inspired by the clear, dark, peaty streams of the moor, that appear reflective like a mirror, but absorb your thoughts and carry them away. Acrylic on canvas, unframed, 100x100cm - £1,450.00

Where Peaceful Waters Lay - I wanted to convey in a painting the loneliness and distance of the moor, accentuated here by a reflective pool, alone in the dark marsh, as it gazes toward the sky. Acrylic on canvas, unframed, 120x100cm - £1,650.00

This painting, entitled The Dreaming allows the viewer to be drawn into the dark landscape; soon your eyes will see the subtle detail of the undulating moor stretching out before you. Oil on canvas, unframed, 100x120cm - £1,650.00

Black Light - A feature of the moor at certain times of the year is the blackened stems of burnt gorse set against the surrounding golden grasses, which give the impression that the fire still rages around the remains of the woody stems. Acrylic on canvas, unframed, 40x30cm - £325.00

A favourite location of mine is Taw Marsh, near Belstone. These two acrylics are studies of the view south from the marsh into the northern high moor. Acrylic on board, 30x40cm; Acrylic on canvas, unframed, 20x30cm - not for sale

Cloudburst - As I reached the end of the green lane leading down to Rushford Mill stepping stones on the River Teign, the spectre of a cloudburst threatened to wash away the peaceful beauty of the scene in front of me. Oil on canvas, unframed, 60x50cm - £475.00

Although Storm Approaching above was inspired by a view near the Longstone at Shovel Down as a storm approached, a path that seems to disappear over a vast horizon is a frequent sight when walking on the moor - giving the impression that the moor ahead of you has suddenly vanished and the path will lead you only into the forboding clouds. Oil on canvas, unframed, 50x50 cm - £435.00

Blue Moor captures the distant hills on a cold winter's afternoon. Oil on canvas, unframed, 30x60cm - £375.00

Now Sleeps the Peaty Earth - the beautiful silence before the light disappears. Oil on canvas, unframed, 40x50cm - £395.00

Inner Light The moor always gives me hope, even in the dark light. Oil on canvas, unframed, 15x15 cm - Sold

Under Earth is a representation of the inner core of the moor, as though the viewer has been engulfed by the landscape itself. Oil and acrylic ink on canvas, unframed, 100x100cm - £1,450.00

Open Moor - The solitary grasses bring us back to the sense of loneliness and isolation that the moor can create, despite its great beauty. Oil on canvas, unframed, 30x30 cm - £255.00

Painted in acrylics, Strange Light developed from an accumulation of memories of unusual light conditions, often seen on journeys home from the moor. It reflects the strange glow of light that sometimes rests on the distant horizon, and illuminates the autumnal remains of the year's bracken. Acrylic on canvas, unframed, 60x60 cm - £495.00

These two paintings were unplanned and unprepared works, painted alla prima and were borne out of a sense that the landscapes I had recently visited were actually watching me more than I was observing them, giving me an unsettling feeling, despite the beauty of the place. Pool (on the left) was based on a memory of a dark pool of water near Scorhill, and Who's Watching Who? (on the right) was inspired by the hidden marshes behind the famous clapper bridge at Postbridge. Oil on canvas, unframed, 30x40 cm; 35x25 cm - £195.00 each

Light in Darkness above captures the captivating light of irridescent buttercups and luminous umbellifers as the darkness of a disappearing storm comes to an end near Rushford Bridge, Chagford, evoking a sense of relief as the light returns. Oil on canvas, unframed, 70x100 cm - £795.00

The sketches shown below are some of those that formed the basis of the painting above. I often paint these ink and watercolour preliminaries in the field, but in this instance they were completed in the studio based on notes and photographs I took whilst walking. Ink on paper

Unframed paintings can be framed - please contact me for a quote.