The Cycle Diaries

Since mid-2015, I have been taking a number of walks and cycle rides from which I have been collecting a mixture of sketches, photos, thoughts, poems and field recordings along the way.  To me, the camera is like a sampler that enables me to extract elements (or ‘beats,’ as it were) while sketching and field recording helps me get closer to the feel of a particular landscape.  The poems and thoughts tend to be direct responses to the environment, or me feeling I have the freedom to ‘release’ a certain thought or idea into that environment. New paintings reflecting on this were developed in my Dartmoor and Exeter studios.

2016

The Cycle Diaries started as a way of exploring new ideas, initially intended to form a collection of mainly sketches and photos for landscapes.  As time went on, I also found myself experimenting quite a bit with writing and performance stills; the land remaining an ever-present riposte to increasing disconnection.

22 June: Getting Lost!

I set out with the aim of riding from Exeter to Dawlish Warren, roughly 22 miles there and back.  As I was reaching the Double Locks, I changed my mind and decided to head for Haldon cycle track via Shillingford St. George.  I had ridden this way before while living in a pub in nearby Doddiscombsleigh.  However, I ended up in Kennford, not exactly off course, but not advisable to try and get to Haldon via the dual carriageway!  I asked a lady for directions and she pointed me back towards Clapham.  As I was riding back, I noticed a sign for Haldon campsite and headed up what turned out to be a monster of a hill, which took me way off course!  The ride down the hill was great fun though, as I got splattered with mud speeding down the country lane.  I came to a crossroads and ditched the idea of Haldon, instead embracing this wayward journey to which I hoped to find my way to Dawlish Warren (back to Plan A).  I found the route to Kenton from the back roads, by way of the woodland gardens and Belvedere Tower at Powderham – more hills with some breath-taking views and great fun to ride down!  I got directions to Kenton from a couple walking their dog and then a nice lady in Kenton directed me to Starcross, which I managed to find via taking a shortcut through fields near Powderham.  From there, it was a decidedly more straightforward journey to Dawlish Warren where I had chocolate ice-cream and hot chocolate with whipped cream.  My thighs were burning from all the hills, but the sun had come out and I sat on the beach before riding the cycle trail back to Exeter.  I found the sky particularly dramatic today and most of the photos reflect my being drawn to that.  All in all, I covered almost 30 miles on the bike!

2016, Reductions.

Reductions are developments inspired largely by some of the drone and dub techno I often listen to – sounds stripped down to form an elongated sparseness that seem to grow into something new each time you hear it.  A lot of the music I listen to fuses samples from the natural environment and I consider my approach to drawing and painting to hold something of a methodological affinity.