Lara Cobden

Lara Cobden

I feel most at home amongst trees. Wherever I am, the woods offer a place to retreat to, to reflect, inspire and individual trees an eternally generous and benevolent source of healing and wisdom.

Lara Cobden
She fell, landed somewhere between awareness and surrender, Oil on canvas, 70 cm diameter

Rooted in a central theme of recollection and sense of place, my paintings are informed by observation, memory and dream. They are a subjective and individual response to my surroundings, calling on an imagined, coveted past that is unreal; a magical realism. Pulling between the chimerical and the familiar - I hope there is both a stillness and fluidity in my work; in the ordinary, a sense of reverence. Paintings evolved from remembered fragments and casual snapshots shift between misty and precise, perceived reality and imagined narratives. 

Lara Cobden
Afterglow, Oil on wood panel,  50 cm x 50 cm

A desire to capture the essence of experience - a fleeting moment, ephemeral and yet resilient in its presence, are what inspire me to paint.

Lara Cobden
Her Heart was shaded by the sadness of gravity and the bliss of dappled sunlight, oil on linen 100 cm x 130 cm

I like to inhabit and explore this in-between place and try to collect and recreate that residue of experience; like recording details, grasping at the gossamer fabric of waking from a dream. 
Trees and forests offer a unique space for this journey to begin, at once interior and exterior, offering both refuge and unease, a starting point for as yet untold stories, portals into another world.
The thread pulling my work together is about 'coming home', belonging; or conversely a sense of ‘unbelonging’.

Lara Cobden
 A willow and an oak, Oil on wood panel, 50 cm x 60 cm

Lara Cobden is a figurative painter living and working in Norfolk. Following her Fine Art, Painting degree at Brighton University, Lara spent 11 years in Ireland before relocating to East Anglia. Focusing on memory and sense of place, her paintings are a response to the natural world around her.

Lara Cobden
Following the call of inaudible voices, Oil on canvas, 100 cm x 100 cm

‘Cobden’s ethereal forest scenes delicately balance impressions of a rather contradictory nature, where feelings of slight caution created by the lurking depths of the forest are met with a distinct sense of life and hope, emanating from light found at the end of the foliage’s misty tunnel.
The hazy nature of the artist’s graceful technique however helps bind these apposing elements together, somewhat diffusing and blending the darkest darks of the works into the softened earthy colours of the surround trees. By handling the paint so tactfully in all areas of the painting, the space and depth of the environments become evermore prominent, helping emphasise such feelings of being swallowed and suffocated by the growing forest, or relief from finding the fresh, open air.’  Adam Reid - Metaphysical Objectivity in Comparison with Realism 2013

Lara Cobden
In to the Enchanted Garden, Oil on wood panel, 80 cm x 100 cm

Paul Newman

Paul Newman

Now living in Somerset, Paul Newman graduated from Falmouth College of Arts in 1995 after A-Levels and Foundation in Poole and Bournemouth, Dorset. As a graphic fine artist intrigued by nature, he works exclusively in graphite and is interested in detail, texture and tone inspired by elements of the ancient landscape and stories of Wessex.

Paul Newman
In the margins, 2014, graphite on bristol board, 21.5 x 30 cm

His work is created by research into the nature and history of places that interest him; geology, ecology, historical remains or natural history. Walking is an important part of the working process, getting to know a particular area well, understanding how it was shaped. Much of his work comes from places that have an ingrained historical meaning or personal significance and the work is mostly a response to being affected by memories or experience over time in that place. He is keen to make links between the places that he finds and the stories that fashioned them. His influences are maps and writers, geologists and legends, songs and poems. Drawings and photographs taken in the field are then worked up into finished pieces in the studio.

Paul Newman
Langdon Hill, 2010, graphite on bristol board, 22 x 16 cm
Paul is also interested in how nature manifests itself on human objects, reclaiming and abstracting these forms, such as overgrown remains, weathering, seasonal change and decay. He looks for evidence of human activity changing landscapes into places, creating unique locations which can affect, uplift or threaten.

Paul Newman
Path to Golden Cap, 2007, graphite on bristol board, 15 x 15 cm

He has shown work at various galleries across the South West, including the Bath Society of Artists and the Royal West of England Academy as well as in London with the Society of Graphic Fine Art.

     “All in all, it's true to say that Newman is a collectible artist who produces graphite works of reflective beauty.  His research is profoundly felt through his pictures. And it is true to say that to experience his work is to respect the challenges of time, balance, conflict, detail, uniqueness and scale with which he so elegantly battles in the pursuit of what we so often simply refer to as ‘nature’." J.A. Harris

Paul Newman
Ash, skywards, 2010, graphite on bristol board, 15 x 15 cm

Paul has worked as a trustee for Black Swan Arts in Frome, as the event co-ordinator for Somerset Art Weeks and curated the 2016 Quartz Arts Festival in Taunton. He is also the curator of a recent touring exhibition, ‘The Transformed Land’ and has worked on many exhibitions for Black Swan Arts.

Paul Newman
Queen of the Woods, 2017, graphite on bristol board, 26 x 26 cm


Art Bermondsey Project Space - The Arborealists: The Art of Trees 2017

Goetsch Winckler 4 by Jemma Appleby

The Arborealists: The Art of Trees 2017
curated by Philippa Beale
12 December 2017-13 January 2018

Gallery one

The appearance of the Arborealists in 2013 is an extraordinary phenomenon within the pervading orthodoxy in an art world that values post modernist objects, film and popular culture. Where events, interventions and installations engage the viewer, what can ‘tree painters’ (the Arborealists are for the most part painters), offer a public that is understandably titillated by Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst. Nevertheless, the incredible success of the David Hockney exhibition at the Tate proves that the general public are still interested in artists who reveal nature. 

In recent years, many artists have discovered that trees have become one of their most penetrating of influences. The story of their existence and survival is intrinsic to our history and culture, they are even a part of our political landscape. They are a metaphor for our own survival. They live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. As ‘specimens’, they also can stand alone, not out of choice but like brave, solitary people who stand up to be counted, like ‘the one just man’ who does not remain silent when evil is done.

Trees represent the holy, the exemplary, the beautiful and the strength required of mankind. Cut down a tree and it reveals its whole history in the rings of its trunk, all its scars, struggles and suffering. The attacks of axe, saw and storms leave scars but as every forester knows, the hardest woods have the narrowest rings and it is in the most infertile places that the strongest and most indestructible trees grow. Trees permeate our history providing inspiration for religions, literature, poetry, visual art and architecture. 

Philippa Beale.

Vaux en Couhé, France, May 2017

Excerpt from the exhibition catalogue.
Catalogue available (French/English)

L’émergence des Arboréalistes en 2013 est un phénomène assez extraordinaire au sein de l'orthodoxie prévalente d’un monde artistique qui valorise les objets post-modernistes, le cinéma et la culture populaire. Face aux performances, aux interventions et aux installations qui font participer le spectateur, alors que peuvent encore offrir des « peintres d'arbres » ? Et les Arboréalistes sont pour la plupart des peintres. Que peuvent-ils offrir aussi à un public qui est habitué à Jeff Koons et Damian Hirst ? Néanmoins le succès incroyable de l'exposition David Hockney à la Tate Gallery prouve que le grand public s'intéresse toujours aux artistes qui montrent la nature.

Ces dernières années, de nombreux artistes ont reconnu dans les arbres une de leurs influences les plus pénétrantes. L'histoire de leur existence et de leur survie fait partie intégrante de notre histoire et de notre culture. Ils font même partie de notre paysage politique. Ils sont une métaphore de notre propre survie. Ils vivent en tribus et en familles, dans les forêts et les bosquets. Ils peuvent aussi rester des « spécimens » solitaires, non par choix, mais comme des personnes seules, courageuses qui se dressent, pour être comptées comme « le seul juste », celui qui ne se tait pas lorsque le mal est commis.

Les arbres symbolisent l'exemplarité, la beauté et la force dont l'humanité a besoin. Coupez un arbre et il révèle toute son histoire dans les anneaux de son tronc, toutes ses cicatrices, ses combats et ses souffrances. Les attaques de la hache, de la scie et des tempêtes laissent des cicatrices, mais comme tous les forestiers le savent, les bois les plus durs ont les anneaux les plus serrés et c'est dans les endroits les plus infertiles que croissent les arbres les plus forts et les plus indestructibles. Les arbres irriguent notre histoire. Ils inspirent les religions, la littérature, la poésie, l'art visuel et l'architecture.

Philippa Beale.

Vaux en Couhé, France, Mai 2017

Traduction Guillaume Brandy

Extrait du catalogue d'exposition
Catalogue disponible (français/anglais)

December 12, 2017 @ 10:00 am - January 13, 2018 @ 6:00 pm

Opening times:
Mon: By appointment
Tues - Sat: 11:00 - 18:00
Sun: Closed 

Art Bermondsey Project Space


AICA: Feminism and contemporary landscape practice meets ‘The art of trees’

An article from
Angela Summerfield


Angela Summerfield, ‘Un-natural Nature: Tree Portrait (2)’, oil on canvas, 49 x 49 cm

"Curated by Philippa Beale, formerly of the University of the Arts, this exhibition, at the Bermondsey Project Space, features largely women artists (roughly 70 %!) whose practices address conceptions of landscape and its dominant motif, the tree. 



Arborealists Annual General Meeting 2017

Arborealists AGM 2017

Twenty of The Arborealists met at The South Bank Centre on November 17th 2017 for their Annual General Meeting. Their agenda was to discuss past events and their success, to welcome new members to the group and to look forward to future planned exhibitions and proposals.
An energetic and enthusiastic discussion was held, presided over by Tim Craven who introduced new members who were in attendance.

The group has grown to 57 members, and continues to expand with all members offering unique skills and experience which are essential to their ethos, ecological concerns and professionalism.

The next twelve months include five forthcoming exhibitions across the UK and France with the continuing development of future projects.


Second week-end at Lady Park Wood and film making


In partnership with George, Peterken and with sponsorship support, we have commissioned a film about Lady Park Wood and our responses to be shown at the festival and other public events.

Inspired by the success of a Kickstarter project last year in which Fiona McIntyre raised £10,000 and after a brain storming session with the ever positive fellow Arborealist Richard Bavin and Fiona decided to instigate the making of a short documentary film which would publicise this unique scientific and artistic collaboration in Lady Park Wood. 

Richard Bavin expertly co-ordinated two field trips with the artists in Lady Park and, as executive producer, Fiona was tasked with managing the film project from start to finish as well as raising funds to enable filming and editing. This included sponsorship from three sources: Forestry Commission, CAP.Co (with thanks to a kind introduction by Alex Egan) and Pegasus Art as well as generous contributions from artists and supportive individuals.

Sourcing the best film maker for the job involved interviewing three talented film makers but it was the London based Kashfi Halford whom impressed Fiona the most with her obvious passion for the environment. Their first meeting was on her houseboat moored on the river Thames where she told Fiona about several of her very inspiring projects including 'The End of the Line'  which was nominated for the Sundance Grand Jury Prize and British Independent Film Award for best documentary about over fishing of the oceans. As a film maker Kashfi could clearly combine a passionate interest in environmental issues with skilled camerawork, sympathetic interview techniques and a variety of interesting cameras including having a license to fly a camera drone. In addition she would be directing the film and using her considerable skills in editing it. Commissioning her was a no brainer! www.kashfihalford.com www.manuvalcarce.co.uk

Filming began in earnest on the 28th and 29th October 2017 with the help of assistant film maker and photographer Manuel Valcarce. This included insightful interviews with George Peterken and Tim Craven as well as all twelve of the participating artists and guest artist and botanist Susan Peterken. A variety of cameras gathered visual material of the woodland with close-ups of trees and drone footage from above the canopy and along the woodland floor. The sounds of the woodland were also recorded. The artists were filmed at work sketching, drawing and painting their responses to the environment.

Participants in the film:
Robert Amesbury Brooks
Richard Bavin
Ann Blockley
Tim Craven
Annabel Cullen
Tom Deakins
Jane Eaton
Alex Egan
Jelly Green
Fiona McIntyre
George Peterken
Susan Peterken
Lesley Slight
Jacqueline Wedlake-Hatton

The Wye Valley Festival and exhibition at Monmouth Museum in 2018 will be a prime opportunity to play the film to the general public as well as being a permanent record of a unique collaboration. With environmental issues becoming urgent and with the help of science and art it is hoped that populations can be awakened to re-wilding projects such as Lady Park Wood which will significantly enrich our understanding of the symbiotic relationship of trees and habitat for generations to come. With the internet playing a greater role in communication this film will be a fantastic tool for us as Arborealists and for George Peterken and the Forestry Commission to reach a much wider and more international audience. 
(Fiona McIntyre)


Kevin Tole

Kevin Tole

My painting and drawing practise appear to have diverged significantly. In the past both were a reflection of each other and I laid great importance upon sketchbook work to the extent that I would work every day into a sketchbook. Over the last two years my drawing has become fixated on a particular subjects and has developed its own stature. 

Kevin Tole
Antony Plane in Winter, Charcoal, pastel, acrylic, gouache, water on paper. Free hanging on battens, 150 x 250 cm, 2017

This started with a year-long project working on one group of three trees on the edge of Dartmoor, producing an A1 charcoal drawing per week. That has moved on to further projects in Cornwall with trees and Glasgow on the Titan cranes along the Clyde. 

Kevin Tole
No. 29 Danescombe Oak, Beech Charcoal, Compressed Charcoal, White Conte, White Charcoal on paper, 59 x 84 cm, 2016

In all the projects I like to use materials found in the immediate areas to the subjects commonly making my own charcoal in which the source wood is intimately connected to the subject of the drawing. 

Kevin Tole
Antony Walnut No. 1, Charcoal (various) on paper, 59 x 84 cm, 2016

The drawings have all increased in size because this allows me to make and examine gestural marks, to move from the finger to the shoulder and to seek the chance mark arising from the conscious build-up of layer upon layer. This has led me into etching and printmaking to move ideas sideways and forwards.

Kevin Tole
Summer Beech Tree, Etching, Limited Edition of 20, 35 x 45 cm, 2017

Kevin Tole
Fagus silvatica Field, Beech Charcoal, various compressed charcoals, white, charcoal, white conte, 150 x 575 cm, 2017