PHIL (PHILLIP) ALDER. STUDIO PAINTINGS

I tend to paint in cycles. When a theme or idea takes off it feeds the imagination for ten to fifteen years. We are very lucky to live in a beautiful wooded valley (although sadly suffering form ash dieback) and to have always had a large garden of fruit trees, flowers and vegetables, and at one time, bees. I live with trees as a constant backdrop.

Apart from my family and art I have three principal passions: stories and history, walking, gardens and gardening and these passions have always found their way into my paintings.

The current practice tends to fall into two categories hovering between figuration and the abstract. For convenience I call them either 'gardens' or 'cascades'. The paintings seek to evoke the experience of being immersed in particular place at a particular time, usually in informal, exuberant gardens or in woodland and light.

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1995 - 2010. In 1995 I wanted to make a few paintings focusing on disciplining myself to colour and composition, make things simpler and more direct. They took off, and I found myself concentrating on this theme for around fifteen years. They also printed well as cards.

1975 – 1995. In 1974 we moved to west Wales (it was the land of our fathers and mothers) for a 'few years' and stayed.

We took a lease on a smallholding in 1981 and lived there for 25 years. It was where our family grew up. It was an enclosed space and we were overlooked by trees and hills. We planted an orchard and a garden, kept chickens etc;. It was by developing a more figurative approach that I was able to come to an understanding of the energy and providence of this place and I found a delight in painting colour and gesture floating in a shallow space and held together by rhythm. My real breakthrough though came in this period with a series of large watercolours (see watercolours from this period).