Karen Bowers

Karen Bowers

Karen Bowers
Flood and Willow, Oil on board, 2013

The environment around my home informs my work and is a constant and important inspiration to me. I walk daily with my dogs and always have a camera or sketchbook with me. I record the trees, hedgerows and nature noting its changing patterns and details that are so easily overlooked and passed by. Trees and landscape create a narrative that can tap into our memories and feelings. 
In my painting I am attempting to capture the spirit and power of nature.

Karen Bowers
Hidcote, watercolour,  2014

There are many artists that have a continual importance to me when making my work, but the two that are a constant presence are Georgia O' Keeffe and Paul Nash. Georgia O'Keefe said that what she was always trying to capture in her paintings, was

"The unexplainable thing in nature"

Karen Bowers
Fragmented Green Wood No1 and 2, watercolour, 2011

Mon travail exprime mon affection pour la nature et le paysage. Mes tableaux dérivent de lieux réels et sont des portraits intimes et étudiés. Une grande part de mon travail concerne le paysage à ma porte, et je sors marcher presque tous les jours avec mes chiens et mon appareil photo. Les arbres et les paysages peuvent créer un récit susceptible d’atteindre nos souvenirs et nos sentiments. Dans mes peintures, je tente de saisir l'esprit du lieu : ce qui est mouvant et puissant dans la nature, ses structures changeantes et les détails à côté desquels souvent on peut passer. L'acte de peindre et l'exploration des possibilités de la peinture sont aussi importants que le sujet.


Emma Buckmaster and Janet French

Emma Buckmaster and Janet French


Tree Portraits - A Collaborative Project

Emma Buckmaster and Janet French are both printmakers with a shared passion for trees. Together they have created a unique series of etchings printed onto paper made from the trees own leaves.

Each Tree Portrait is a separate project starting with a search for the 'ideal' specimen. Once the tree has been chosen, the leaves must be collected and after a prolonged process of soaking and boiling, delicate sheets of paper are created using only the natural constituents of the leaves to bind them together. The leaves of each tree behave differently and the process is one of continuous experimentation. The etching is made on a steel plate because of the pressure necessary to print onto leaf paper. Whilst the paper is still damp the etched image is printed onto the leaves from the steel plate using a traditional etching press. Finally, the prints are mounted between glass so that the texture or translucency of the paper forms part of the image.

The project started with a small image of an oak tree and has progressed to include beech, lime, silver birch, white poplar, hawthorn, ash, alder and holly.

Emma Buckmaster and Janet French
Fagus II, 2013, 25 x 27 cm, Etching on Beech Leaves

Emma Buckmaster and Janet French
Tilia, 2011, 51x43 cm, Etching on Lime Leaves

Les graveuses Emma Buckmaster et Janet French sont passionnées par les arbres. Travaillant en collaboration, elles ont créé une série unique de portraits d’arbres « Tree Portraits ». Ces gravures sont imprimées sur un papier fabriqué à partir des propres feuilles de chaque arbre.

Chaque « Tree Portrait » est un projet à part, qui commence par la recherche du spécimen « idéal ». Une fois l'arbre choisi, on recueille ses feuilles. Un long processus de trempage et d'ébullition produit des pages d'apparence délicate, liées uniquement par les constituants naturels des feuilles. Les feuilles de chaque arbre se comportent différemment et le processus est une expérimentation continuelle. La gravure est réalisée sur une plaque d’acier en utilisant une presse de gravure traditionnelle. Enfin, les tirages sont montés entre deux verres. Ainsi la texture translucide du papier fait partie intégrante du travail.

Notre projet a débuté par une petite image de chêne. Il a progressé pour inclure le hêtre, le tilleul, le bouleau argenté, le peuplier blanc, l'aubépine, l'aulne cendré et le houx.

Fiona McIntyre

Fiona McIntyre

As a painter I revel in taking the time to feel and observe the natural world. Being one with nature is important to me. In that moment I acutely observe all that is within my field of vision sketching and drawing, sometimes over many hours. It can become a battle with the elements when it rains or the wind is blowing but this is part of the exhilaration. When I draw outside I become aware of subtleties and fleeting moments; clouds billowing across a cerulean sky, angry mauve curtains threatening pelting rain, myriad nuances of green shifting to autumnal shades of alizarin. I become aware of time passing as shadows move and how colours become vibrant just after rain, in blazing sunshine or enhanced by miraculous light.

Hidden within the work are subtle symbols that hint at what lies between the seen and the unseen - gateways into the imagination painted in livid, chromatic colour to awaken the senses. The attraction I have for trees is because they stand like witnesses of our history and guardians of a timeless place where the troubles of this century become irrelevant. I have a particular fascination for the ancient mythology associated with them and the rich properties of healing that each tree offers humanity. The problems on the planet right now are enormous, but instead of painting the hopelessness, I choose like Blake and Palmer to find the visionary in what remains of our landscape.

Fiona McIntyre
Sunyata, 90 x 110cm,  oil on linen

Fiona McIntyre
Ghost Leaves, 90 x 110cm, oil on linen

Fiona McIntyre
Homage to Sartre - Being or Nothingness, 153 x 161cm, graphite on six sheets of fabriano

Mes premiers souvenirs sont des souvenirs de marche dans les forêts de pins aromatiques des Highlands occidentales écossaises avec mon grand-père forestier. Désormais dans les Cotswolds je suis environnée par un enchevêtrement varié d’arbres anglais et de terres agricoles. Je travaille sur le motif, dessinant des croquis d’observation au crayon, au fusain et à la couleur. De retour à mon atelier cela évolue et quelque chose s’en extrait : une exploration de la couleur et de la forme picturales inspirée par le sentiment d'une idée. Souvent la littérature sert d’étincelle : les écrits existentialistes de Jean-Paul Sartre m'ont par exemple amenée à observer un arbre assoupi en hiver. Aujourd’hui, Poitiers est devenu un nouveau voyage passionnant dans un type complètement différent de paysage arborescent, élégant et baigné dans une lumière chaude. Cela a nourri ma fascination pour une perception intime des arbres et de l'eau, en encourageant la stylisation et la simplification. Dans mes peintures inspirées de Poitiers - et par nécessité - j'ai commencé à utiliser la photographie et le collage comme un point de départ. Ils m’emmènent dans des royaumes inexplorés. La France a ouvert la porte à mon désir d'une plus grande clarté. Elle m'a permis de plonger délicatement l’orteil dans les eaux de l'abstraction.




Chemin des rêves, Path of dreams, Acrylic and pigments on canvas, 2 x 12 m x 6 m, 2016

Guillaume BRANDY & Francis DALSCHAERT work together on the same picture. 
They have exhibited in France and England since 2011 under the name of BRANDY-DALSCHAERT. Their workshop is located in France, at the countryside near the forest.

Eaux, Waters, mixed media on paper, 200 cm x 100 cm, 2012
The inbetweenedness of beings, the gap between our visions, the bridge between our sensitivities. The ineffable hiding in the essence of things and beings, within their fluctuating, moving relations. Movement of life, ebb and flow of reality, constant changes of our thoughts and our actions. The multiple cycle of metamorphoses.

The tree may seem motionless, but it is always changing, living, rustling. Like the perfume it exudes, it conjures up the fleeting essence of feelings and emotions which can be experienced like so many dreams, tales or stories, in the inner world of our thoughts and imaginary realities.

In the heart of Nature, 'Eaux' and 'Jardin' can express the fleeting innermost part of our being.

Let is together, open the toy box of our imaginations. Bring out from the depths of our being an uninterrupted dialogue of long-hidden dreams, imaginary walks in the infinitely large or in the infinitesimally small, in the space of our thoughts, the secret of landscapes, in the secret of our landscapes.

Reality and life, in all their forms, change incessantly. They are never fixed, they escape from the grasp of our minds just as we try to seize them. It's up to us to read between the lines, to prise out the meaning between the cracks, to break down and to build up meaning to catch a sideways glance of the world.

It's up to us to imagine a space for a snippet of life seen from another angle, so we can dance it, and perchance tame it.

Our shared quest explores a common questioning of the ineffable and the inbetween, the impermanence of reality, fleeting life, human uncertainties and the ambiguity of relationships.

Just as two fruit trees need one another to bring forth healthy fruit, we work with our four hands to bring out through our meeting a new space of freedom which is more than just a simple juxtaposition. We fold our universes into one another and establish a dialogue.

The signs of each one of us respond to the other and echoes the rustling of the tree, that vital source.

Guillaume Brandy & Francis DALSCHAERT travaillent ensemble sur la même oeuvre.
Ils ont exposé en France et en Angleterre depuis 2011 sous le nom de BRANDY-DALSCHAERT

Leur atelier est situé en France, à la campagne, près de la forêt.

Jardin, Garden, mixed media on paper, 200 cm x 100 cm, 2012

Entre-deux des êtres, intervalle de nos visions, espacement réuni de nos sensibilités. Indicible caché au cour des choses et des vivants, au creux de leurs relations fluctuantes et mouvantes. Impermanence de toutes choses. Mouvements de la vie, flux et reflux du réel, perpétuels changements de nos pensées et de nos actes. Cycle multiple des métamorphoses.

Au creux des paysages, dans son apparente immobilité, l'arbre, toujours changeant, toujours vivant, toujours bruissant, évoque et dégage comme un parfum une impermanence de sensations et d'émotions que les hommes sensibles perçoivent, reçoivent comme autant de rêveries, de contes et d'histoires, dans le monde intérieur de leurs  pensées et de leurs réalités imaginaires.

Au coeur de la nature, « Eaux » et « Jardin » sont l'expression de l'indicible fugace qui atteint chacun au plus profond de son être.

Ensemble, ouvrir le coffre à jouet de nos imaginaires. Faire émerger de nos profondeurs, dans un dialogue incessant, des rêves enfouis, des promenades imaginaires dans l'infiniment grand ou le microcosme, dans l'espace de nos pensées, dans le secret des paysages, dans le secret de nos paysages.

Le réel et la vie polymorphes changent à chaque instant, jamais figés, insaisissables à notre esprit qui voudrait les réduire. A nous de lire à chaque fois entre les lignes, de décrypter le sens dans les interstices, de le défaire et de le reconstruire pour visiter les coulisses du théâtre du monde.

A nous d'imaginer l'espace d'un instant la vie sous un autre angle, pour peut-être pouvoir la danser et l'apprivoiser.

Notre recherche en duo explore des questionnements partagés : l'indicible et l'entre-deux, l'impermanence du réel, la vie fluente, les incertitudes humaines et l'ambiguïté des relations.

Comme deux arbres fruitiers qui ont besoin l'un de l'autre pour donner des fruits vigoureux, nous travaillons à quatre mains, pour faire émerger par notre rencontre un espace nouveau de liberté qui soit plus qu'une simple juxtaposition. Nous entrelaçons nos univers et dialoguons.

Les signes de chacun se répondent et font écho aux murmures de l'arbre, source vitale.


The Arborealists: a new generation of tree painters

Tree painting was once regarded as boringly traditional. Laura Gascoigne finds an old subject putting out new roots.

"Now, a new group of British tree painters calling themselves the Arborealists has emerged from the exhibition ‘Under the Greenwood: Picturing the British Tree’ held at the St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery in Lymington, Hampshire, two years ago."

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The Art of Trees at Mottisfont Abbey

Arborealists: The Art of Trees

19 September - 15 November 2015 - 11am - 5pm 

Jemma Appleby

Our new exhibition celebrates the art of trees through paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture this autumn. Created especially for us, 'Arborealists: the Art of Trees' draws on a rich tradition of the tree as a vital subject for art.

Trees have proved an important source of artistic inspiration for centuries. From John Constable to David Hockney, artists have employed the largest plant on earth as a metaphor, symbol, decoration and stylistic device.

A new group of contemporary artists called the Arborealists are now adding fresh work to this tradition. Following a highly successful exhibition at the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol, the Arborealists are creating a unique show for Mottisfont, which will include new work exhibited for the first time.

Centred on the single subject of the tree, a versatile and rich subject for art, a key feature of the group is diversity of art practice with regard to medium, scale, philosophy, style and technique.
On display will be intricate pencil drawings of root systems, gorgeous autumnal colours and beautiful natural sculpture. Minutely detailed drawings, delicate wood engravings and fine etchings resonate with vibrant, and expressive watercolours and oil paintings. Complex trees drawn from life will contrast with conceptual forest landscapes.

Former National Trust forester John Surplice has worked on fallen trees found around the grounds and estate to reveal spectacular sculptural forms. Lizzie Sykes worked with older performers' group Mind the Gap as part of an artist's residency at Mottisfont to create The Greeting, a film that grew from the group's responses to trees here.

Full list of appearing artists: Robert Amesbury-Brookes, Jemma Appleby, Ann Arnold, Graham Arnold, Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis, Jo Barry, Philippa Beale, John Blandy, Hannah Brown, Peter Clossick, Gary Colclough, Marcus Cornish, Tim Craven, Dalschaert and Brandy, Michelle Dovey, Kurt Jackson, Abi Kremer, Ffiona Lewis, Hannah Maybank, Fiona McIntyre, Alexander Pemberton, Howard Phipps, Michael Porter, Julian Perry, Nick Schlee, Celia de Serra, Lesley Slight, Angela Summerfield, John Surplice and Lizzie Sykes.


Bristol celebrates art of the tree

To kick off Bristol's year as the European Green Capital, a gallery has become a magical arboretum of tree-inspired art

To kick off Bristol's year as the European Green Capital the city's oldest gallery, the RWA, has been transformed into a colourful arboretum for an exhibition by a newly formed group of artists. Rows of trees in  works by a group of 30 British painters, printmakers and sculptors line the bright Victorian rooms at the Royal West of England Academy.

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Arboretum at the Royal West of England Academy

The Art of Trees; the Arborealists and other Artists

19 December 2014 - 8 March 2015

Julian Perry, Three Pollards, oil on panel, 2004

Celebrating Bristol's year as European Green Capital, the RWA launches its winter programme on a fittingly 'green' theme, with Arboretum, exploring the rich history of the tree in art. Here, beneath the shade and shelter of towering trunks, amidst gnarled roots and leafy canopies, the real and the imagined sit side-by-side transforming the RWA's main galleries into a wooded hinterland.

Drawing on the romantic tradition in art, alongside ecological issues - such as Julian Perry's investigation into experimental forestry work in Three Pollards - Arboretum intertwines art and environment, capturing a very British symbol of life and renewal. Our 'trees, like ruins, embody history'; which proves to be a consistent thread that runs throughout each artist's work. Dan Hays composes paintings that reflect the low-resolution appearance of early digital photography building up an image with a series of individual pixels. In a similar vein, Hannah Maybank's epic textured surfaces are constructed of delicate layers of paint over latex, built up in stratum like the coiled concentric circles that lie beneath the brittle bark of a tree. These seductive layers of peeling paint are suggestive of a vast history entombed beneath.

Jo Barry, Tim Craven and Celia de Serra's detailed pen and ink drawings depict the minutia of trees, from the monstrosity of fallen trunks to skeletal branches, whereas Royal Academician Anthony Whishaw aims to capture what he refers to as a general 'treeness'. Featuring fifty shades of green, Fiona McIntyre, Michelle Dovey and Abi Kremer capture the fabric of the forest in surreal technicolour, foiled by the muted tapestry of Fiona Hingston's tree-scapes dragged from the earth in soil and charcoal.

Memory and observation are called upon to create places both real, remembered and imagined. Kurt Jackson's scored and scratched depictions of woodland combine the scrubby, wind-blasted copse of Skewjack in West Cornwall with the rich forest interior of Ashcombe near Bath, informed by memories of Jackson's boyhood spent exploring the squirrel and jay filled oak woodlands of Hertfordshire. In contrast Jemma Appleby's disquieting forest landscape punctuated by the surprising presence of cantilevered rooftops, inspired by the Unison houses of Frank Lloyd Wright, relies on a sense of illusion to create an imagined place. Here, caught somewhere between the tree-top canopy and forest floor hangs a very British blend of fact and folklore, myth and magic, culture and conservation; our past and our future.

Arboretum follows on from the critically acclaimed and highly popular Under the Greenwood - Picturing the British Tree at St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery. Reprising themes from the contemporary element of this show it explores the importance of the tree as a rich and vital subject for art, featuring work from members of the Arborealists: Jemma Appleby, Ann Arnold, Graham Arnold, Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis, Joanna Barry, Philippa Beale, John Blandy, Hannah Brown, Gary Colclough, Tim Craven, Celia de Serra, Michelle Dovey, Dan Hays, Abi Kremer , Ffiona Lewis, Fiona MacIntyre, Hannah Maybank, Alexander Pemberton, Julian Perry, Lesley Slight and RWA Academicians Nicola Bealing RWA, Martin Bentham RWA, Kurt Jackson RWA, Howard Phipps RWA, Michael Porter RWA, Anthony Whishaw RWA and Lisa Wright RWA.

Arboretum will be showing at the RWA in conjunction with The British Wildlife Photography Awards 2014: A Celebration of British Wildlife. This launches the start of a programme of environmentally focused exhibitions at the RWA engaging with nature and landscape to celebrate the start of Bristol's year as the Green Capital.