We use cookies to deliver a reliable and personalised ArtQuidexperience. By browsing ArtQuid, you agree to our use of cookies.

Log in

  Lost password

New on ArtQuid?

Create Your Free Account
Sign up Sell your Art
  1. Art Prints
  2. Paintings
  3. Drawings
  4. Photography
  5. Digital Art
  6. Themes
  7. Staff Picks ♡
  8. More


Norman Trewhitt Posted: december 30, 2016 / Modified: january 1, 2017

Remembered places. Fragments of time. Add to the mix imagined events partly dreamed up from stories or even myths, like stills from a movie (think Cindy Sherman or Leonora Carrington).

When I was younger I enjoyed walking in wild places; in the mountains, - in the English Lake District, Scotland and in the forests especially the Northumberland Forest where I lived until moving to Lancaster in 1984; and walking along the sea shore whether it be Morecambe Bay, Cornwall or the Mediterranean in Cyprus. I tend to follow the paths less well trodden, byways off the tourist trail and deserted beaches. Nature on its own terms. More often than not walking entirely alone. It is in these silent empty spaces my imagination can set to work. Each place sets its own scenario. Walking along the forest trail the imagined figure is walking from who knows where to an unknown destiny. The situation is timeless: it could be the present day or a time from a long-forgotten past. Indeed the very track could be centuries if not millennia old.

Do not the very stones tell their own story? In some forests the trees are centuries old and will still be there when we are all long gone. The seas, deserts and mountains have been here since the dawn of time.

Crossing the moors I may stumble across a stone circle or maybe a solitary standing stone. It may have been put there only recently or thousands of years ago. There is an air of mystery about such things and when the mists gather shrouding it all in a damp veil, is there not an air of mystery (or mist-ery) to it all?

Along the be beach the breakers forever roll in to the shore. The tide rises, - the tide falls. It too has always been thus.

Add to all this, fragments of stories I have read or been told or sometimes created in my own mind, pictures emerge. These pictures, and I include sculpture here, become incidents or situations frozen in time. There is no story leading up to what the work shows and no continuation. It is like viewing something from a train window, E. G. Someone riding a bicycle or sitting under a tree. The train moves on. What is seen is no longer there. Another scenario briefly unfolds. Or again, read a random page in a novel, but only that one page. There is enough information to get a grasp of the moment but what came before or comes after is not known.

During a period as Artist-in-Residence at Limassol in Cyprus I would regularly walk along an isolated beach somewhat off the tourist track. It has a boatyard at one end and a small Greek Orthodox chapel at the other about a kilometre away. In the late afternoon I would walk back to the studio along this beach with the still warm sun beating on my back. The Mediterranean gently lapping the shore on my right. I am entirely alone. In that timeless moment an imagined stranger walks towards me. Is it someone from the ancient past? How am I perceived by this imaginary person?

Then as I near the chapel a car pulls up beside it. The crunch of tyres on the gravel brings me back to the present time. But there was enough planted in my mind to germinate an artistic idea. What if I was in ancient Cyprus then? No plot here, - just a brief scene. I entered it then left it.

On another occasion I revisited an area of forest in Northumberland not far from where I once lived some fifteen miles (24 km. ) North of the Roman Wall but once again well off the tourist trail where there are mod notices making it clear there are some parts where backpackers are not entirely welcome. However, by keeping away from specific military sites I am free to go about my wandering business. There was one occasion I camped at Chirnsyke near the source of the River Irthing that gave rise to, - years later, - the Sanctuary Project. Having been granted permission I put up my tent by the Irthing for a single night before continuing my trek deeper into that sector of the forest and on towards the Scottish Border.

I awoke early in the morning, opened the tent flap to a sea of dawn mist. There was just about no wind; just enough breeze to allow the mists to drift and (more importantly) keep the midges away. From the tent the pale green of the grass faded away into the fog. Visibility was no more than a few yards. To the east the sun rose out of thick fogbanks to give a gradually strengthening to the pale yellow light.

Then, in the distance, about a couple of hundred yards away, the ghostly images of Sitka spruce treetops began to emerge. Ever so gradually over a half hour period more trees began to emerge, some only to return to their nebulous hiding places like shy children. Soon I could make out whole banks of trees with a ground mist swirling around the bases and an increasing blue sky opening up overhead.

There was absolute silence throughout this display.

Then the mists closed in one more time obscuring everything.

The memory of this formed the an ideal backdrop for the Sanctuary series in which faerie-like figures appear, - play out a short scenario, - then lose themselves in the ever changing mists. So far, three sculptural groups have been made on this theme; 1) The Guardians, 2) Sanctuary and 3) Coven. These are small pieces which in an ideal world would be life-sized or a little larger and located deep in the forest where a wanderer would stumble across them.

The Guardians consists of a kneeling in the centre of a circle of seven standing figures. All are female in full length dresses. The figure in front of the kneeling one is clearly the group leader.
Sanctuary is a similar circle but with the principal figure being the only one standing having just risen from the throne behind her. A circle of seven kneeling acolytes surround the foetal form of a naked male.
Coven refers not to witchcraft specifically but to the number of those guarding or being custodians of something special, E. G. Christ and the twelve apostles or perhaps the Arthurian Round Table with it’s twelve knights. The total number, thirteen, is auspicious signifying the thirteen months of the Lunar calendar which has been extant for thousands of years. Coven is a semi-circular group consisting of ten standing female figures and one enthroned female. There are two male figures, one at each end of the semi-circle.

Supplementary to Sanctuary I have made a series of watercolour sketches illustrating the events at Chirnsyke where the figures appear. I have it in mind to make paintings on this theme at some point in the future.
More information: normantrewhitt.co.uk

Live Art World News


Select language

  1. Deutsch
  2. English
  3. Español
  4. Français