Ann Blockley

Ann Blockley

When I was seven I lived under a rhododendron bush in The Wood. It was my Gaudi palace with its complex architecture of intricately woven branches, twisting, carved columns studded with the ruby reds of sumptuous flowers. It was my secret haven where I could stand on a throne of logs to recite the poems in my head and make drawings. The rooks were my companions and a mossy carpet embroidered with the stars of fallen blossom was my playground. 

Ann Blockley
Teasels by the pond

Years later I visit a different group of trees. I watch a new generation of rooks gather and swoop and listen to their cacophony of sound as the sun lowers itself into the tangled black lace of the treetops. I am no longer a princess with palace but I imagine myself to be an artist and I collect leaves and acorns, thoughts and words and feel my way into the moods and seasons of nature. I imagine I am a creature scrambling through earthy tunnels under the brambled hedgerow, weaving my way around gnarled roots and burrows.  I imagine I am a bird, perching in that hedge with its skeins and creeping ribbons of berries.  I watch the light pierce through gaps in the labyrinth of marks and shimmer in the ponds where I see the entangled trees and undergrowth reflected.

Ann Blockley
 Last light in the woven hedge

I take these thoughts back to my studio which is built from ancient beams of oak and elm. Here I can remain connected with the poetic, organic world of the woodland, hedge and field. I let the paint flow and mingle, using marks in ways that evoke and suggest something of nature’s words and imagery. The challenge is to convey a mood and create an air of mystery or magic. The aim is to subtly alter reality into something more elusive. I enjoy playing with marks that are intriguing in themselves and sometimes merely allude to the facts. However, I am influenced by the way that the wanderings and happenings of paint often echo nature itself. 

Ann Blockley
Wild woodland tapestry

I sense my paintings are changing, growing, some shoots are withering, others are flourishing in fresh directions- just like the trees that have always informed them and influenced me. 

Ann Blockley
River Sunset

Jelly Green

Jelly Green

John Fowles: “Trees are like humans: they need their pasts to feed their presents”

Jelly Green
Leaves in an English Wood, watercolour on paper, 2015, 29 x 151 cm

I have always been drawn to woodlands. That sense of stepping into another world, another story: a place of mystery, bursting with a vibrancy and life that feeds the imagination and palette.

Jelly Green
Puzzlewood, oil on canvas, 2016-2017, 152 x 183 cm

As a child, I spent long periods of time in a native British woodland on my Grandparents farm in Suffolk. Over the course of the year I would watch the leaves change colour: the vivid green canopy of oaks, ashes and hornbeams in the summer months gradually fading away as the autumn approached, until all that was left were the bones of the trees, brittle against a grey sky, and the occasional drumming of pheasants battling with the branches overhead. The melancholy of winter then giving way to hope as tree buds begin to unfurl in the spring. British trees and woodlands are markers. They mark time and place. This is something that I try to reflect in my work. 

Jelly Green
Ancient Oak Glemham 2, charcoal on paper, 2015, 84 x 60 cm

I carried this woodland within me when in 2015 I went to Brazil to paint the rainforest. Nothing, prepared me for the explosion of colour and sound on my arrival. The denseness of light and dark, the sheer scale of the trees, was both breathtaking and humbling, and inevitably, hugely inspiring for my work. It is difficult to conjure that sense of ‘being' - of living and working in such an enormous ‘organism’ that sustains so much life. Each tree is an entire world in its own right, its trunk and limbs home to monkeys, bats, spiders, sleuths, moths, parrots …. Night as busy, if not busier than day. 

Jelly Green
Winter Rendham 1, oil on canvas, 2013, 13 x 18 cm

When beginning a piece of work I usually start by making several charcoal drawings and smaller oil or watercolour paintings with the subject in front of me. I then take these studies back to my studio to work from for a larger canvas. I find working in-situ incredibly important as it keeps a painting moving, there is a real sense of immediacy when painting outdoors. Landscapes change enormously throughout a day, one minute it can be wonderfully bright and then suddenly completely darkened by a passing cloud. This can at times be very frustrating but also very freeing, it helps to keep the paint fresh, which when working in the studio can have habit to become overworked.


Lady Park Wood Project

Lady Park Wood Project 2017-2018

The Lady Park Wood collaboration first began as the result of an invitation by ecologist George Peterken after he stumbled across the 'Arborealists: Art of the Tree' catalogue and had the vision to recognise the benefits of working together on an ecological/artistic project. 

Lady Park Wood is an ancient wood above a gorge in the lower Wye Valley.  As a scientific experiment it has been left unmanaged for over 70 years, studied and recorded by George Peterken who is a renowned woodland ecologist.  

George invited the Arborealists to come and work in the wood and respond in our own way as artists, the first results to be shown in Monmouth Museum in May 2018 as part of the Wye Valley River Festival.  

As you can see from the photos of Lady Park Wood the inspiration was plentiful and we were grateful for the chance to explore and record this fascinating landscape.
(Richard Bavin)

First Arborealists weekend in Lady Park Wood
29 & 30 April, 2017


Nature in Art Gallery and Museum, Gloucester

The Arborealists
at Nature in Art Gallery and Museum, Gloucester

11th April 2017 – 14th May 2017


"A celebration of trees, with work almost exclusively by members of The Arborealists, a group of 43 artists with a national profile, from Wales to East Anglia and Sussex to Cornwall, of diverse art practice, philosophy, scale, medium, style and technique, who share the rich and versatile subject of the tree."


Artists and Illustrators

The new issue of Artists and Illustrators magazine publishes an article on the Arborealists and headlines the group on its front cover.

The February issue of Artists & Illustrators is on sale now in the UK & Ireland and online.

Paul Finn

Paul Finn

My working method is to draw from direct observation as I walk through the landscape. I work exclusively from the landscape and will usually record places which are familiar to me. When I draw, I use ink and sometimes charcoal, I want something immediate and unfussy to draw with.

Paul Finn
Miss Willmotts garden, 2015, ink on paper, 38 x 28 cm

I will return to a place many times to see the elements of the landscape at different times of the year.

Paul Finn
First sight Dedham, ink on paper, 38 x 28 cm

I need time to evaluate what I have seen, and it takes time before I can begin to think about painting. Paintings recollect the emotion of being in the landscape, in the tranquillity of my studio. There is no set method or recipe to the way I paint; I just try to respond to my memories, and to the atmosphere of the landscape. I paint instinctively but am attracted to the patterns, structure and rhythms of the fields, trees and buildings that I see on my walks.

Paul Finn
Beth Chattos woodland garden, oil, 54 x 55 cm

When I work I feel at ease when editing and changing what is in nature. My best work comes as a result of letting go completely and giving myself up to the paint. When I am brave enough I paint physically and vigorously, making marks sometimes with little regard for the final product.

Paul Finn
The bank opposite ( River Stour ), oil,  60 x 20 cm

Ultimately I want to create paintings which celebrate being in the landscape with all of its infinite variety, and enjoy making paintings where my decisions are visible and where abstract elements counterbalance figurative elements.

Paul Finn
From the Church to the Temple. Oil 100x33

Observations et souvenirs

Ma passion a toujours été le paysage. Ayant grandi dans l’ouest du Yorkshire, entouré de mines de charbon et de moulins à foulon, je pouvais en vingt minutes de marche être dans des endroits préservés, que je découvrirais. J'ai conscience de l'histoire quand je peins et j’admire Corot, Constable, Turner et Bonnard, et tant d'autres. Mes peintures ne sont pas réalisées sur le motif, mais s’élaborent à l’atelier. Elles cherchent à capturer l'essence d'un lieu, peut-être mes premières pensées et impressions. J'aime remarquer la façon dont les arbres réagissent visuellement et se relient aux champs. J'aime la façon dont les couleurs travaillent avec d’autres couleurs, et les formes avec d’autres formes. Je dessine quand je suis dehors dans le paysage et avec cela je rassemble mes souvenirs, mes pensées et mes sentiments dans la tranquillité de l'atelier. J’aime pousser et tirer les couleurs sur l'espace plat d'une toile, dans la structure, dans la nature plastique du plan de l'image. J’aime essayer de recréer un espace vraisemblable. Je ne me lasse jamais du défi d'utiliser ce que j'ai observé, pour le reprendre à l’atelier et recréer mes expériences lorsque j’étais sur place, à partir de ma mémoire et des dessins.

Paul Finn, mars 2017


Book review in 'The British Art Journal'

'The British Art Journal'

publishes a book review of ‘The Arborealists: The Art of the Tree’
by Helen Cobby

"The Arborealists: The Art of the Tree with essays by Angela Summerfield, Philippa Beale and Peter Davies. Published April 2016 by Sansom & Co.
Helen Cobby

Trees and woodlands have held a special place in the British landscape and soul for centuries. They nurture complex ecosystems, are crucial for our own survival, and provide unique environments as well as aesthetic structures that signal both local and national identities. Trees are firmly entwined with our cultural heritage and have fascinated artists and writers as diverse as Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Constable, Hardy and the Pre-Raphaelites.