As many will know, a group of fascinating artists descended on the Blackdown Hills in Somerset early in the twentieth century to produce some bucolic colourful landscapes in a style that really represents the landscape. Names like Walter Sikert, Robert Bevan and Spencer Gore amongst others have come to be the pioneers of this work and are worth a look at the places they found such as Woodhayes, Rosemary Lane and Applehayes.
Some say little has changed in that landscape over the intervening hundred or so years; but a not so careful look at the structures of modern farming, the widened gateways with incongruous barriers and signage, the destruction of the verges and mono-green phosphated-grasses bring a dimension that bears scrutiny against the paintings done by the Camden group.
I carried out a sketching exercise of these sometimes hideous result of ‘negative gentrification’ and in the dull days of this spring converted them into large acrylic paintings which illustrate the reality of today in the Blackdowns. They will be on display at The Beehive from 3rd to the 25th May 2023 along with four other contributors to the theme. If you go there then wander over the street to the Thelma Hulbert gallery where another homage to these artists is showing until early June 2023 under the heading Paradise Found – surely a fitting description the area.