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Sculpture in the stunning extreme

Sculpture in the stunning extreme

When my good friend suggested a trip over to Doveridge, I had to think about why on earth we would want to go there. I know the village vaguely, its sort of that place that you see in a blur as you drive through it on the way to Ashbourne. If I thought any deeper about it, it must somehow be connected to the river Dove that flows through Derbyshire, but that’s it. Nothing else of any importance.

We headed over there, both of us armed with cameras and she took me down to the river – yay, the Dove as promised, and little suspension bridge there, aw, that was an unexpected surprise, and even better that the sun was shining through the clouds even if there was a cold nip in the air. We were five minutes there, if that, cos there wasn’t much else to look at after the bridge, and walked back up the lane towards the church. I like old churches, for the sense of history more than the actual religious side of it, and took a few photos of the gateway with the dappled sunlight on the old stone steps. And then, walked on, and stopped dead in my tracks.

Wow!Doveridge yew sign

She hadn’t warned me about this.

Wow! I’ve never seen anything like it.

Doveridge yewWhy hadn’t she said anything about this!!!!? I wondered as I grinned from ear to ear, in wonder.

It was old, that was obvious, but when we read the sign by it I hadn’t realised HOW old. Old and very infirm, this gentle magnificent creature. It had been there an awfully long time. And it needed gentle support to aid it. Otherwise it would have torn itself to pieces. I felt an awe there in its shadows and wanted to touch, I so wanted to touch it, and laid my hand gently on it feeling its life within.

 

And then my friend said the magical words… “You can go inside”. “Can we?” I asked in surprise, and she smiled as she walked me around, to the other side, the open side, the side that revealed all the innermost secrets and I looked in wide eyed wonder again at what had opened up infront of me and looked up and said “I thought you were joking” and she smiled as I took a step further and went in, looking all around me, and up, at the sky above. I was inside. Inside a living tree.

The churchyard yew according to the sign, was thought to be more than four hundred years old, wow,  yep, by a thousand years!

 

Doveridge yew insideDoveridge yew detail

And also according to the sign Robin Hood had married under it. Ok, well, maybe he did who am I to argue that point.

 

 

But what fascinated me, on this sunny day that picked up the shadows, and light, and tones of colours, and hinted at heads of serpents, skulls, elephant heads, and wraithful faces, and many writhing bodies  was that this was the most beautiful sculpture I had ever seen. Far better than anything carved my man. Nature had made this fabulous work of art, and I was inside it. I think it was the unexpectedness of it that also struck me. I had had no prior warning at all of its existence. From the road outside it was a yew tree like many old churchyards have, but it was the feeling of being enveloped by it as you walked under its many heavy branches, and the way it had toppled over some of the gravestones under it, and the immensity of it, that I found incredible. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a tree like it anywhere.

 

I love wood, I love things made of wood, I love to see wood, and feel it, but I have never ever seen wood formed in such a way, by itself.

I've been an artist all of my life, and my paintings now hang on walls in Europe, USA and Canada. I'm working on getting them on the other continents! My wide range of artwork has been exhibited nearer to home in the East Midlands, with the Guild of Erotic Artists at Beaumont Hall Studios in Hertfordshire, and at "Erotica", Olympia, London. I have also been featured alongside my work in the Guild of Erotic Artists book (volume 2). I love to create dramatic interest in my pictures, whether it’s to paint an unusual landscape, or just to utilise dramatic lighting in my figure drawings or strong colour in my animal portraits. Delighting in the spontaneous tendencies of watercolour adds an interesting and distinctive look to my paintings, some of which are purposefully ambiguous, enabling the viewer to use their own interpretation of my artwork. I also love to hide images, and humour within my paintings, whether it’s a secret message, or an erotic couple hidden within a landscape, or even an erotic landscape where the couple are camouflaged as the features of the land itself. I am equally happy painting in oils, acrylics or watercolours and love to draw with pencil or ink. I have also developed the very effective method of drawing using white pencil on black card which creates dramatic pictures by just picking out where the light catches the body and leaving the rest of the image to the imagination, in darkness. I can also utilise many different styles, whether it is realistic, abstract, surrealistic, erotic, fantasy or camouflage art where something is hidden within the painting. I'm just passionate about my art, whatever I paint! But, it doesn't matter how many landscapes or pet portraits I paint, its always the erotic stuff that people are interested in! I started blogging to share some of the strange conversations I have with the people I meet. But its evolved into far more than that now.

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