Alex Egan

Alex Egan
mail@alexegan.co.uk
alexegan.co.uk


Alex Egan, Giant Oak
Giant Oak

I live in the Norfolk broads, a gentle terrain, flat and marshy where trees stand out. It's off the beaten track and I'm surrounded by wildlife and ancient woodlands. I also still have strong links to Shropshire where I spent many years.

Alex Egan
Our Inheritance, Ink, acrylic, graphite on paper , 2017, 41 cm x 65 cm

A thread has, for some time run through my art practice, the depiction of trees. Until fairly recently I was using them merely as objects to draw so that I could practice honing my drawing skills, or so I thought. Subconsciously though, I realise now that they have been and are much more than that. 

Through recent life events they have increasingly crept into the foreground of my art. This coincided with an unexpected house move and having no established studio to work from. 

Alex Egan
This Ancient Oak, Houghton, pencil, acrylic, ink on paper, 2017, 30 cm x 42 cm

At the time I was already committed to an existing deadline for a show. I decided to go back to the beginning with a subject that had always been a source of solace, a sense of peace.

Intimate and intricate drawings of trees, small in scale with the intention of increasing the size of the work through time. My car became my mobile studio, restricting and liberating in equal measures: restricting the size of my work and narrowing down the range of trees I could draw to those that I was able to park up in front of. Liberating in being able to keep warm during very cold winter days and thus enabling me to spend more time on the detailed drawings, while also giving me the ability to travel further in search of the right one.

Large Chestnut, Graphite and watercolour, December 2015

Many of the trees I have so far been led to on my quest are not necessarily in the upper echelons of the tree world, they are quite often the scruffy specimens, the dead trees, the Ivy clad misshapen hunchbacks.

I am gearing myself up for the supermodels but as with all things appearance is just the start; beauty is more than skin or bark deep. Last winter when I finally had somewhere to work from, I spent a few weeks drawing the most magnificent oak in the garden, it is directly outside my studio window. I had the luxury of being indoors in the dead of winter and drawing it on a relatively large scale. In the summer, when clothed in all its glory, this tree’s branches stretch out and down, creating a perfect circular canopy to lie beneath and absorb its serene energy. 

Alex Egan
Ancient Sweet Chestnut, pencil, acrylic, ink, 2017, 42 cm x 30 cm

I am without shame a tree hugger, their energy is powerful in its stillness. I am in search of discovering through my art a way of depicting this. 

I hope as a human being I am evolving and this will extend to my art practice, very much helped by the wisdom of trees.



J’habite dans les Norfolk Broads, une terre douce, plate et marécageuse, sur laquelle les arbres se détachent. C’est hors des sentiers battus et je suis entourée par la faune sauvage, par des forêts anciennes et de très vieux arbres.

Depuis quelques temps, un fil conducteur parcourt mon travail : le besoin subconscient d’être parmi les arbres et de les représenter dans mon art. Je me sens maintenant tellement reliée à eux, comme si j’avais mon propre système racinaire, qui communique avec les arbres que j’observe et que j’aime.
Visuellement, bien sûr, ils sont magnifiques, et nous avons tous le souffle coupé devant un bel arbre. Nous sommes d’abord frappés par sa taille, puis par ses plus infimes détails : les bourgeons qui se forment, les feuilles qui se déploient, étapes annuelles de sa vie, vie incroyablement lente, longue et fière.

S’arrêter et méditer ; quand nous contemplons un arbre ancien, nous nous demandons de combien d’évènements il a été le témoin. Dépeindre visuellement tout cela et bien plus encore, c’est pour moi le travail en cours de toute une vie.

Ma vision est maintenant tellement sensibilisée à rechercher et à observer les arbres, que c’est la première chose sur laquelle je me concentre devant un nouveau paysage. C’est bien évidemment ce qui s’est passé quand nous avons visité Vaux au début de l’automne 2016. C’était une belle journée, parfaite pour observer et pour respirer l’air chargé d’oxygène exhalé par ces arbres français.