The Old Man of Horner Wood
oil on linen
75 x 50 cm
The Old man of Horner Wood was painted as part of a project by The Arborealists on the woods and trees of Exmoor and Dartmoor. In Autumn 2019 I visited Exmoor in order to study the trees in both Horner and Culbone Woods and on my walk I met a man who had lived in the area all his life who told me some local tales. When painting this amazing yew tree I decided to put his image in the shadows by the bench.
Painted on linen the painting has a rich texture of thickly applied paint, neatly painted 4cm edges and is ready to hang.
On Trees and Woodland of Exmoor and Dartmoor:
‘Environmental campaigners believe that the majority of the population feel unconnected to nature and that there is no simple solution to this problem. We have become separated from our primordial roots and our once instinctive reliance on the cycle of life of our native flora and fauna. Many of us do not see ourselves as part of nature and so we do not understand or even care that we depend on the health of the natural world for our survival.
It is recognised that doom and gloom reports of wild-life extinction and the destruction of vital environments can have the opposite effect to that intended. We readily accept a depleted state of nature as a baseline that continues to creep; biodiversity is slipping away without being noticed. We refuse to accept or digest the evidence and we bury our heads in the sand.
There is a consensus however that fostering some kind of personal connection to nature is vital in order to awaken and mobilise a largely urban population to take action, and that this could include spirituality and the arts as well as science. The project will draw directly on this premise.
The Arborealists have visited specific tree and woodland sites on Exmoor and Dartmoor, as advised by Exmoor and Dartmoor National Park Authorities, in different seasons and have made work for a specific exhibitions.’ Philppa Beale