"A Tree Within" by Arborealist Fiona McIntyre

"A Tree Within"

An exhibition to coincide with the publication of Arborealist artist Fiona McIntyre new book 'A Tree Within'.

A monograph with interview by Art Historian Dr. Alan Wilkinson and a foreword by Southampton curator Tim Craven. The book explores Fiona's artistic development from Edinburgh to Scandinavia to the Cotswolds until her recent incarnation as an Arborealist.


14th September - 31st October
The Bishop’s Palace
Wells - Somerset - BA5 2PD

Telephone: 01749 988111




Robert Brooks

Robert Brooks

As a landscape painter, primarily my objectives have always been to keep the subject and ideas as simple and as coherent as possible. Trees for their beautiful shape and structure fascinate me and provide much inspiration for my work.  Shapes, sizes and relationships, both in colour harmonies as well as drawings are not to be ignored. This emphasis was pummelled into me whilst studying at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, where strict painting methods, including measuring were applied.

Robert Brooks
Large Oak at Throop

Focusing and being truthful to one’s own integrity in art brings much into the drama and beauty of an original artwork. My method was developed and inspired through my tutor Patrick George, who helped me to focus my ideas; as well as one of my muses Cezanne; who’s sheer and direct work got straight to the point of shape and colour, which has influenced my work massively.

Through my early career in the 80’s my style and progression has developed, initially from a somewhat naïve perspective, I have channelled my efforts into simplicity, drawing out the natural beauty seen from the eyes perspective.

When painting on the Purbeck Hills in Dorset, Corfe Castle usually takes on a significant role within my compositions and panorama studies; it does tend to lend itself from any angle and distance.  Seeing a painting slowly come into being; causes much excitement and inspiration towards myself, as well as much joy into my work.

Robert Brooks
Tall Oak at Burley

Not always knowing where to start on a picture can often pose a challenge, but bringing everything together, be it in whatever medium or subject I find myself drawn to; this challenge is frequently what gives me much enthusiasm towards my main pursuit.


Westonbirt Treefest

The Westonbirt Treefest exhibition will showcase the work of about 12 Arborealists and their new fully illustrated publication will also be on sale.

Westonbirt Arboretum
26th August - 31st August

The Arborealists are a 40 strong group of artists of diverse art practice who share the subject of the tree. From 2013 these artists have joined together for exhibitions in galleries across the south of England to national acclaim, including The Royal West of England Academy, Bristol, and St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, Lymington. Their artworks are at turns dramatic and contemplative, demonstrating that trees still have relevance in contemporary art and retain the power to move us all as a vital element in our landscape and sense of national identity.

Trees provide a wonderfully versatile subject for artists, not only in terms of the variety of form, character and colour they provide, whether individually or collectively, but also for their wealth of association, myth, folklore, religious, symbolic and ecological significance, which they have come to embody. In Britain trees have inspired artists from Gainsborough and Constable through to Paul Nash, the Neo-Romantics, the Ruralists and David Hockney.


Art Historian Sister Wendy congratulates The Arborealists

Sister Wendy has written to St Barbe Museum, Lymington, to congratulate us on our exhibition earlier this year.

The art historian and TV presenter, who now lives a hermetic life at a nunnery in Norfolk, wrote to say how much she has enjoyed reading the fully-illustrated catalogue of The Arborealists.

Sister Wendy shot to fame in the 1990s when she presented programmes, such as ''Sister Wendy's Odyssey'' and ''Sister Wendy's Grand Tour,'' which often drew a 25 percent share of the British viewing audience. Sister Wendy made her U.S. debut on U.S. public television and that same year The New York Times described her as "a sometime hermit who is fast on her way to becoming the most unlikely and famous art critic in the history of television."

In her letter, Sister Wendy says: 

"The Arborealists catalogue has been a great joy to me. It's a magnificent concept and so well carried out". 


Jacqueline Wedlake Hatton

Jacqueline Wedlake Hatton

My recent work is focussed on small pockets of ancient woodlands on Dartmoor such as Wistman’s Wood and Hucken Tor. These I have chosen because of their wildness and for the unusual shapes of the trees there. The habitats of the moorland trees is very specific in terms of altitude and terrain. This geology results in unusual growth patterns and a proliferation of mosses which grow on the trees and everything around them. I am Cornish and to some extent my work pays homage to the ancient Cornish culture which is so bound up with nature and the landscape. However, it also references the processes and influences of technology and how those infiltrate our experience of even the most natural sites in our landscape. 

Jacqueline Wedlake Hatton
Insider, Oil on canvas, 1 m x 1 m, 2015

I have allowed my love of the beauty of woodlands a free rein in my recent paintings. However, I find that other themes emerge and what appears on the canvas is more than a simple image of woodland. Intuitive gestures made with paint belie the complexity of the relationship between circumstance, locality and context.  The ancient trees that are my current subject are so old that they represent the concept of time, they link my consciousness to the lives of my ancestors and their scarcity is a reminder of the deforestation that is so threatening in our post-modern era. So a landscape painting is never just a landscape but has this interestingly dream like aspect, interwoven and interconnecting, where all of those themes coincide. 

Jacqueline Wedlake Hatton
Fogged, oil on canvas, 1 m x 1.20 m, 2016

With regard to the process that initiated my current work, locating my 'voice' is a triangulation between memory, photography and canvas or hand, eye and mind. What I have found is that my voice is an amalgam, its constituent parts being those of myself, with mechanical processes and products - such as photography. I am surprised and intrigued by the way these aspects blend together on the canvas. 

Jacqueline Wedlake Hatton
Snake, oil on canvas, 1 m x 1.20 m, 2015

Dans mes derniers tableaux d'arbres la photographie a exercé une influence marquée sur ma perception visuelle et sur mon style de représentation. On dit de la peinture qu'elle reflète tout ce que l'artiste est et a éprouvé. Par conséquent, inscrits dans les couches de couleur se trouvent non seulement mon expérience de la peinture, mais aussi l'expérience culturelle de grandir en Cornouailles, mes centres d’intérêt artistiques et scientifiques, la culture pop et ainsi de suite. Dans mon esprit tout cela complète un cercle qui relie le physique à l'éthéré, donnant forme à l'expérience et aux idées lorsqu'elles rencontrent des « réalités ».

Inévitablement, je suis surtout attirée par les arbres qui ont quelque chose d’inhabituel dans leur forme, témoignage de la façon dont l'arbre a répondu aux événements et aux conditions de son environnement. De plus en plus, je suis consciente des histoires que les gens attachent à de tels arbres. Et ce n'est pas moins vrai des histoires qu'un public se raconte au sujet des peintures. Lorsque je réalisais les études sur les arbres de la région de Vaux en France, je me rendais compte que j'étais moins empêtrée dans mon propre bagage culturel. Et je peux discerner une plus grande légèreté dans les études que j’y ai faites.


Paul Ridyard

Paul Ridyard

My work reflects a passion for ancient woodland, localized mythology and the unusual and distorted; naturally occurring forms to which I am drawn. I spend much of my time seeking out extraordinary trees on the Internet and then visiting them, much like a tourist. I then work mainly from the snapshots I take, which are manipulated to accentuate any ambiguities I find. I am drawn to the wonder of these ancient, mutated and exposed subjects developing any new readings and relationships, as material flattened to images, they might suggest.

Paul Ridyard
Dean, 2011, pencil on paper mounted on dibond, 55cm x 70cm

The work becomes a re-generation of the content of the photographs and questions the authenticity of our experience of the natural. I try to assimilate the photographic image as closely as possible and hope that by doing so, in a handmade fashion, that each pencil mark undermines any absolute notions of true or false. Instead it merges the documentation of these rare and compelling objects with the uniqueness of direct experience of them.
Paul Ridyard
Root-ball II, 2013, pencil on paper mounted on dibond, 113cm x 122cm

Recently, I have focused on trees that have had the ground around them eroded due to some external factor, revealing bizarre, exposed shapes. When I first came across them they were referred to locally as ‘ the walking trees’. This seemed ridiculous. However this irresistible, irrational, yet romantic notion took me on a day trip to the woods. These drawings engage with my interest in subjects, which I see as suggesting more than one thing and their new reading when isolated from their original surroundings.

Paul Ridyard
Unterholz, 2015, pencil on paper mounted on dibond, 100cm x 70cm

Au cours des 10 dernières années, mon travail s’est centré sur la recherche d'arbres extraordinaires via Internet pour ensuite les visiter, tout comme un touriste. Je suis attiré par la merveille de ces sujets anciens, métamorphosés et vulnérables. Et je développe toutes sortes de nouvelles lectures et de nouveaux rapports qu’ils , pourraient suggérer, comme matériaux rapportés aux images planes.

Mon travail le plus récent présente des arbres autour desquels le sol a été érodé en raison de quelque facteur extérieur, révélant des formes bizarres, à nu. Lorsque j’ai croisé leur chemin, ils étaient appelés localement « les arbres qui marchent ». Cela semblait ridicule. Cependant, cette notion romantique m'a conduit à une excursion d'une journée dans les bois. Ces dessins participent de mon intérêt pour des sujets qui me semblent suggérer plus d'une seule chose et pour leur nouvelle lecture lorsqu'ils sont isolés de leur environnement d'origine.

Mes dessins deviennent une re-génération du contenu des photographies et  questionnent l'authenticité de notre expérience du naturel. J'essaie d'assimiler l'image photographique le plus fidèlement possible et j'espère qu'en procédant ainsi, de façon artisanale, chaque marque de crayon mine toute notion absolue de vrai ou de faux. A la place, cela combine la documentation de ces objets rares et fascinants avec le caractère unique de leur expérience directe.


Stella Carr

Stella Carr

Stella Carr
Fagus Dawyck Purple & Quercus, ink, 19 cm x 15cm

I grew up amongst artists and scientists, submerged in the interplay between. Fundamentally my painting attempts to associate these disparate ways of seeing, within these two disciplines, unifying them.

The paintings indicate how all is connected macro to micro, using the allogory of relationships of trees to each other and the wider ecosystem.

I am absorbed by pattern repetition from bole to leaf tip, trying to pare down the form of different species, keeping the genus recognisable yet focusing on what can appear as signs and symbols as much as structures.

In recognising the integral role of micro-organisms, the vital component for a healthy ecosystem, I take pleasure in sensing the invisible network of mycorrhiza weaving patterns, the universal languages of signs and sometimes chemical formula; the tool of industrial agriculture. These layers interplay on a seemingly pastoral scene, elements combining in dialectic.

Also for me trees are individuals that are markers of time, from an arboreal fashion statement in parkland, a veteran surrounded by amenity forestry, an avenue for war, the coppice, the orchard or native wildwood, they place human beings in context and mycelium, that trees play symbiosis with, the real influencer.

Stella Carr
Distressed Chestnuts dead Elm, 2014, ink and pastel, 43 x 36 cm

Stella Carr
Oak Beech Rooks, 2014, mixed media, 65 x 50 cm

Stella Carr
Haw, Cowgill, 2014, mixed media, 50 x 65 cm

J'ai grandi à Liverpool parmi les artistes et les scientifiques, fascinée par leur interaction. Ma pratique tente fondamentalement d'associer et d'unifier ces différentes disciplines.

Mes peintures montrent comment tout est relié en se focalisant sur les relations des arbres entre eux et avec la flore et la faune. Je suis fascinée par la répétition des motifs dans le monde naturel, du microcosme au macrocosme. J'essaye d'abstraire la forme de chaque espèce, en gardant le genre reconnaissable tout en mettant l'accent sur les signes, les symboles et les structures perceptibles.

Je défend les micro-bactéries. Elles sont l'élément vital qui permet au monde naturel de fonctionner. Je prends plaisir à ressentir leur réseau invisible, je le tisse abstraitement. Il inclut des motifs de produits chimiques, l'outil de l'agriculture industrielle, qui s'infiltrent dans la vision pastorale : la main humaine sur les richesse de la nature.