If I can find a unifying theme for these last months’ travels it is stone. Red stone outcrops carved to make rock houses on Kinver Edge and cut through by the canal which I followed. Cotswold stones from cool blue grey to sunset orange in the walls of Tewkesbury Abbey. Massive columns of golden stone in Greek temples, fine stone fragments in Roman mosaics, and freshly spewed black lava on the slopes of Mount Etna. And these earth colours and textures complemented or contrasted by a shock of blue sky, a tumble of green ivy, the polished gold of an icon or the orange skin of a persimmon.
The plan during my travels had been to paint daily, but with the exception of a few very unfinished canvases I have filled my time with the mechanics of life on the move. Now I am home and I am writing this partly to pull together my thoughts, partly to convince myself that these months will provide the basis for a significant development, and partly to put off picking up a brush and proving myself wrong.
I am now as far as can be from painting the landscape in front of me, from the security of being able to look again, or of going to source for further inspiration. Of course there are the photos, some sketches and notes, but these may be the seeds rather than the raw material for what happens next. Since what fascinates me is the essence of landscape and place maybe it’s time to embrace the separation and let the sifting of memory and persistence of impressions do their work.