The Invasion

The Invasion

Krynoid Supremacy. This is one of a series of postcard collages where London is invaded by strange plants which control the city. The Krynoid is a human/plant hybrid from a Tom Baker Doctor Who storyline. As a child I dreamt I became one and this dream still influences my work today.


Long time no bl…

Long time no blog. Had a few problems with my eye condition which has meant minimal reading, writing and computer time over the last few months, so now it’s settled down, here we go.

I have been quite busy really, learning new printmaking techniques primarily. First of all I spent six Saturdays learning wood engraving at Dulwich Picture Gallery with the very talented Peter Brown. Working on a tiny detailed scale with a dodgy eye was not the easiest thing to do but here are some (obviously small) fruits of the course:

Landscape Green Man

Green man

The first is on box wood and the second on lemon wood. I have a lovely larger piece of box which Richard Michell, my printmaking tutor at Morley College, gave me from a fallen branch he’d found on Box Hill in Surrey, so that’s my next project sorted. It’s quite difficult to master the tools in comparison to other printmaking techniques, and making a mistake is irreversible.

I’ve also been on a short course on Stone Lithography with another very talented artist Oscar Farias at Morley College, so I now have stone waiting for me when term starts again in September. Such a complex technique of printmaking, and in many ways still hard to get my head around to confidently know what I’m doing without a manual at hand.

Here are a few pictures of my stone and the first proof of the image:


Drawing on the stone


After acid bite and cleaning


First proof

The stone needs more work to lighten some of the darker areas and one more bite should do the trick I’m hoping. Oscar’s work and mine have a few themes in common; I especially like his biomorphic landscapes with a foetus being born from strange plantlife – http://www.oscarfarias.com/The_Expectation2.html

I’ve also been showing my work at Skylark Galleries. Had a wet but enjoyable weekend at Urban Art in Brixton and currently have two of my etchings on show at Bankside Gallery next to Tate Modern in the RE Open. http://www.re-printmakers.com/exhibitions.aspx

Grand Designs Live

Again another month has flown by and I have neglected blogging! I don’t seem to have the time at the moment – I’m in the midst of a framing frenzy ready for my show at the Pavilion Cafe in Dulwich Park next week. It’s part of the Dulwich Festival Open House and runs until 3rd June.

This week my work is on show at Grand Designs Live at London’s Excel and I’ll be at the Grand Art Fair tomorrow on stand L141 with Skylark Galleries.

Skylark Galleries at Grand Designs Live this week

The vast show is on until Sunday at London’s Excel.

There was an interesting article about the return to popularity of neo-romanticism in The Times one Saturday last month, citing the Keith Vaughan show at Pallant House and recent retrospectives of Graham Sutherland and Prunella Clough. I thought it was a strange omission that there was no mention in the article of the remarkable exhibition by Patrick Keiller currently on at Tate Britain, where his recent film Robinson in Ruins is playing on a large screen alongside paintings by Paul Nash and Graham Sutherland, segments of film from Quatermass II and literature and art relating to landscape from a social, historical, aesthetic and economic perspectives.

The Robinson Institute at Tate Britain

From Tate’s website: Penelope Curtis, Director, Tate Britain, said: ‘Patrick Keiller has risen to the challenge of the Tate Britain Commission in an exceptional way with a new installation that enables us to look at the Tate’s collection in relation to some of the issues that Britain faces today, demonstrating how similar concerns run through time. Patrick Keiller’s sustained interest in understanding the English landscape, and what it can tell us about the origin of some of the world’s problems, strikes a perfect chord with the Tate collection.

Foxgloves juxtaposition - the plants are communicating with Robinson...

The Robinson Institute is on until October.

Really worth seeing is the very charming Mark Hearld exhibition of children’s illustrations for “A First Book of Nature” by Nicola Davies in the Foyles Bookshop Gallery on Charing Cross Road. I went along to the Private View last Thursday where Mark was very sweetly writing our names in for us on the “This book belongs to ____” title page. Childish pleasures are often the best.

A month gone by…

It’s a month since I blogged so a lot to catch up on. I’ve just got back from a rainy week in Portugal, missing the good weather in the UK, and now sitting in Skylark Gallery with the cold wind and rain falling outside – the weather performing a Bank Holiday Special.

Yesterday I queued up early morning to see the David Hockney show at the Royal Academy which finishes today. It wasn’t the 4 hour wait some had reported – I was there at 9.15 and was in by 10.45. I must admit I was disappointed with about 80% of the pieces shown. I thought much of the work looked rushed and unfinished, and could really have done with a critical eye over it beforehand to cherrypick the best pieces; the show wouldn’t have suffered for less work being shown. Surprisingly the ipad drawings in reproduction worked very well, seeming to retain the lightbox effect of the technology on the printed version. Light was what seemed to be missing from many of those big flatly painted canvases, along with any real vision or depth to the images. I really liked 3 of the hawthorn blossom pictures which seemed to have more form in their amorphic surrealism than some of the more straight pictures of trees and landscapes, and also more fun and pop joy in nature effervescing.

In terms of subject matter, this was all of course right up my lane, so to speak. In March I went up to Oxford to see the Graham Sutherland exhibition at MOMA called An Unfinished World – focusing on his dark and neo-romantic pictures of Pembrokeshire on paper, landscapes and trees being so similar in subject matter to the Hockney show. The scale of the work differed hugely to Hockney’s of course, but the images hold more magic and emotion. Sutherland for me is able to infuse mystery into an image, and the highlights were 4 studies for Entrance to a Lane shown together. The sense of place conveyed by Sutherland is missing from Hockney’s vision of the countryside, I think because Hockney is concerned with the surface of the world and not what lies beneath.

When Hockney looks in detail with the camera montages of lanes and hedges, it is again just the surface, and no matter how big the image is, there is nothing revelatory about the changes in season or the atmosphere of the landscape for those of us who walk regularly along lanes and across fields. My favourite of these moving images was the hedgerow on a windy day simply because of the movement that was lacking in the unmoving surfaces of the other films.

In Oxford, a visit late in the day to the Ashmolean Museum led us to the Print Room for an hour to examine the superb Samuel Palmer drawings and sepia pictures of his visionary years in Shoreham. That really was a magical experience to hold the pictures and be able to examine them with a magnifying glass in all their minute and exquisite detail. Interesting too that the ink is a much darker brown than I remembered when I had seen them at the British Museum show of his work a few years back, but this may be influenced by the tan coloured reproductions which seem to have been produced over the years.

So I’m feeling inspired to paint again, but in the meantime I’ve added some more collage postcards to my website – the first shown here is called The Ascent of Man and the second is The Surprising Attractions of the Rheidol Valley, Aberystwyth.


There are 8 more new ones in the collage gallery of my site.

I’m now gearing up for showing my work in the Pavilion Cafe in Dulwich Park as part of the Dulwich Festival Open House next month (14th May – 3rd June), and before that at Grand Designs Live at London’s Excel with Skylark Galleries from 4th-13th May.

My featured artist show at Skylark gallery 2 in the Oxo Tower is on the theme of landscape as a refuge or retreat from the city, but also a fantastical refuge from the mundanity and physical reality of our everyday lives.

The show features my most recent REFUGE etchings and aquatints:


THE COASTAL REFUGE – the largest of this series from a long-running theme where humans are born from plants. The origin of this series began in 1990 when I was using automatic drawing to produce images, and the large painting Myrrha and Adonis arose from my subconscious. From Ovid’s Metamorphosis, the story tells of Myrrha who asked the gods to be turned into a tree having seduced her father and become pregnant. The gods oblige and she gives birth to Adonis from her trunk.

I developed the theme in various oil paintings over the next few years, feeling the most successful of these was The Teeming Womb where a verdant and productive Mother Earth gives birth to green children. Like the Green Man, these  pictures explore our synthesis with the natural world, our integral part of the genetic make up of living things on the planet – see article here on our shared plant dna and similarities. 

Many of my landscapes are womb-like in their protectiveness of the figures who wander down country lanes and are enveloped by rolling hills. A gynaecologist pointed out to me many years ago how the lanes in my pictures were like medical diagrams of fallopian tubes and it all fell into place.

Since I’ve been back in London, visits to the countryside or even London parks have become a necessity, but I adore the city and the two small etchings below REFUGE FROM THE CITY – NORTH and REFUGE FROM THE CITY- SOUTH are a real celebration of city and countryside in miniature.



You can see these pictures at Skylark 2 in the Oxo Tower on the Southbank until 18th March 2012.




Skylark Galleries Blog

Here is a link to the blog Skylark Galleries have just posted about my joining Skylark 2.


I’ve also been busy on more postcard collages and have completed over 20 now. All of them use black and white vintage postcards of British landscapes, with content inspired by what is written on the reverse, British sci-fi like Quatermass and Dr Who, a feature of the place depicted or its name and description.

Kit Boyd Homage to Quatermass