2019/01/31

Crispin Heesom

Crispin Heesom
c.heesom@btinternet.com
crispinheesom.com


I have always been fascinated by trees, even before I took up painting.  My earliest memory was of climbing a giant Cedar tree growing in my parent’s garden, of taking in its presence, smell and touch, looking down through the branches to the neatly mown lawn far below.  I remember finding the trees behind a walled garden, filled with birches, ash and copper beech and spending a whole summer painting there.  It was very much my secret garden

Crispin Heesom
Apethorpe bridge

A few years later I stumbled across a wood filled with ancient oak trees.  I had seen the same trees in an early 19th century painting when they were fully grown but now they appeared to be strangely shaped stumps a world away from the picture – but still magical in their own way.
I like to record landscape over a period of years in the in the village where I live, which is part of Rockingham Forest.  There is an area of disused quarries where Horse Chestnuts and Willows grow and I find it intriguing to see how nature has taken back control from a manmade landscape.

Crispin Heesom
Hills & Holes July

Monkey Puzzles are amongst my favourite trees and I remember going to “The Triangular Lodge” in Rushton and as I looked out saw a strange juxtaposition of Monkey Puzzles and Rapeseed fields.  Whereas, seen in a city context they always seem incongruous to everything around them, like some strange vestige from a previous time.

Crispin Heesom
Bluetree & Sandpit

Another inspiration has been a huge local Beech tree that was planted in the fifteen hundreds.  Despite its size, it is hidden by foliage on three sides, looming out like some” giant arboreal cathedral”.  I paint and draw it at different times of the day over different seasons and am always intrigued by the tangled root structure at its base, which itself has led to several paintings.
Often doing free interpretation studies, I aim to do the kind of work that is “infused” by nature, playing around with marks.  I like to work on the border between abstraction and figuration rather than rigorously copying from nature so that I can create a fresh image. 

Crispin Heesom
Walsingham blue tree

Many artists have inspired me, Frank Auerbach, Van Gogh, Chaim Soutine and more recently Max Ernst.  “The Frottages” of Max Ernst are particularly poignant in the way that such a small mark can become gigantic.  The directness of his marks seems to dwarf human scale and be a way of triggering the subconscious into a kind of alternative reality.  For me painting is often a kind of inspired muddle, a wrestling of experience rather than a standing back from it.  I have a somewhat primitive attitude towards nature – the sensation being what I paint about and what I paint with – an odd fusion between paint and subject in a search for a more primal visual language!

Crispin Heesom
West-Street

During the last year I have had main exhibitions in Peterborough Museum and the Yarrow Gallery, Oundle.  I have shown in the Leicester City gallery, Cambridge, Kettering, Stamford and twice in the Mall Gallery in London.  Previously, I have shown drawings in Viersen in Germany and etchings in Milan.  My work is featured in the Faland Warwick bequest in Peterborough and in the Graham Cooley collection.