William Morris described Kelmscott as a ‘Heaven on Earth’. He loved the Manor house and adjoining farm buildings in Kelmscott as a work of true craftmanship, totally unspoilt and unaltered, and in harmony with the surrounding countryside.
I have lived here in Kelmscott for the past 12 years and my old studio window used to face north looking out over the church yard where William Morris is buried. It is fair to say I had never heard of William Morris before moving here and have had a rather misty to non-existing knowledge about the man, the family and their influence on the Arts and Crafts here in the Uk and abroad.
This was about to change.
After 2 years of restoration work and as part of the re-opening, local artists got invited to a two-day workshop this summer to explore the manor and delve deeper into the thinking of the man himself, all within the context of it's time, the late 19th century. Two very hot days of plain air painting, talks by the curator Kathy and print making workshops with Susie Hetherington culminated in an exhibition of our works at the Manor.
Back in the studio my resulting painting was a direct reaction to the hot summer days spent at Kelmscott Manor, translating the feelings and memories by means of paint. I am interested in sharing my observations of my immediate surrounds and perceptions of the senses through the medium of colour, gesture and paint.
Here, I refer back to my on-site gouache sketches and impressions of that day being surrounded by the ever-present traces of the Morris Family at the Manor and from living in the village of Kelmscott since 12 years.
Working in he studio, my thinking is centred on the activity of applying paint, and I feel as well as think through it.
I am converted.