'Context' - A Blog

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My First Time Ploughing
(and why you should have a go)


When I first got to use a plough in earnest, it all turned out rather a mess...but what a superlative piece of kit it is... ...more

The Farm Machine in the Nettles- Will it Ever be Used Again?


How the enigma of an old plough in the nettles led to an insight into the landscape all around and helped seed a lifelong interest in the significance of ploughs, ploughing and ploughlands. ...more

A First Experience of Horse Ploughing


How I ended up behind a horse and plough because of a day’s sketching ...more

The Scent of Spring


A lovely spring smell is in the air which takes me back to the scent of grass and earth mixed together on a Sussex farm... ...more

Esker, Esgair, What's in a Name?


How paying attention to the geographic definition of esker and its Welsh equivalent, esgair, was a missing key to understanding the landscape around me. ...more

Naming a Place


How a place name comes about in the first place and what it might tell us about those who first used the name. ...more

The Meaning of a Place Name


How looking at the roots of the old words for the hills and other places in the landscape around us, can bring us into closer touch with our surroundings. ...more

View of a Hill


When we look at hill, do we ever see it properly? ...more

A Change of Perspective


How seeing the same things around us from a different angle for a moment, might help us gain a little sense of escape from the day to day difficulties that surround us. ...more

'Cockney Sparrows'


Why the determination of these little birds draws comparisons with the inhabitants of wartime London. ...more

The Brightness of Sparrows


How a tiny, unassuming brown bird provides cheer and inspiration in the cold of late winter. ...more

February Thoughts from a Shepherd’s Viewpoint


How thoughts in February centre on damp and difficulties, at one of the hardest times of the shepherd’s year. Yet there is solace and strength to be derived from the sheep themselves. ...more

The Meaning of a Figure in a Landscape (Part 2 of 2)


Should the figures in our landscape paintings be harmonious or discordant, or even there at all? ...more

The Meaning of a Figure in a Landscape
(Part 1 of 2)


Should the people in our landscape paintings be from now or the past and should they confront or soothe us? ...more

Distracted by Figures in a Landscape


How the single figure of a person in a landscape can distort our perception entirely. ...more

The Poor and the Parish Boundary


When the Poor Laws meant that a parish boundary really mattered ...more

The Difficulties of Light, Dark and Parish Boundaries


A voyage around a parish boundary to show the difficulties of keeping track of tonal values in a painting. ...more

The Best of Winter’s Light


Why the quality and form of light matters to artists (and all of us?) ...more

The Brief Beauty of Now


Appreciating the colours of winter ...more

A Figure of the Future in the Landscape


How much stranger is it, if a figure ‘in our mind’s eye’ in a landscape is our self? ...more