The excitement for me as an artist lies not in exploring the unknown but in how I can effectively organise a visual arrangement that reflects the atmosphere and intensity of an environment, evoking a precise moment of the day under specific light and conditions. I hope you enjoy the work

Feature of the week  30/06/2019

The Old Bridge

Usually we visit France in Spring, Summer or Autumn, but in 2015 we decided it was time to spend Christmas there. It was a novel experience. Although a mild winter, it was necessary to keep the giant wood-burning stove going 24/7 for three weeks. This certainly kept us fit but was hardly relaxing. What was refreshing was the lack of hype in the shops and outside the houses. There was the odd fairy light reindeer and slowly deflating blown up plastic Santa but generally the celebration was a low key affair. Boxing Day saw us meeting English friends in Valleraugue in order to attend a choral choir service in the local temple. A chill, dank, misty atmosphere prevailed and it was at this point, I saw the dark old bridge looking so very different to my usual image of it, like a tourist guide photo against a blue sky backdrop spanning the sparkling jewel-like stream. However, I

Dark Bridge.jpg

thought it far more intriguing and mysterious than any chocolate box image and one could almost smell the mouldering leaves and the charred wood smoke.

  

The bridge has a poignant memory for me dating back to August 1979 which was very hot that year the grass being burnt to straw. Close friends had been staying with us for a couple of weeks and mid-morning we cheerily waved goodbye to them as they drove off in an overloaded Renault 4. Three hours later as we drove seven kilometres along the baking tarmac road to the end of the valley in order to buy provisions, but as we made our way along the narrow winding road we were astonished to see three weary looking figures trudging towards us, shimmering in the heat haze, and laden down with two weeks’ worth of luggage. Our friends had come to grief at the old bridge, constructed centuries ago to support light horse driven carriages and not intended for modern cars passing each other in a heat wave. The car proved to be a write off and next day, we drove them to Nîmes so they could make their way back to London by train, a long drawn out process before the days of the TVG!

 

Forty years later those of us still here still refer to this incident from time to time! We blame it on the tremendous heat which is here again this Summer. Forty degrees plus await us and caution is required when driving those narrow roads.