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A cold blast from the past

WITH summer almost upon us, it seems a good time to look back on winter, not that we had one down here in West Cornwall. Snow is as rare west of Truro as rain is in Timbuktu, which is probably why I find the stuff so fascinating.

This picture, called Winter on the Moor, was inspired by a naive painting I saw in the Western Morning News. The two pictures have virtually nothing in common except the snow, but inspiration is a strange thing and springs from the most unlikely sources.

You will have noticed that my paintings owe nothing at all to the actuality I see before me. I like to extrapolate on reality and capture the 'feel' rather than the 'look' of a scene. Thus, my unusual trees are intended to reflect the icy chill of a winter evening, the wind-blasted branches reaching out into the cold night air.

Lest you regard such thinking as pretentious tosh, allow me to refer you to my fellow artists Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, who saw things in a similar way. Though I count myself non-league alongside these premiership superstars, there are similarities in approach.

Matisse, having been upbraided by a lady who felt one of his female figures had been distorted, with disproportionately long arms, replied: 'Madam, you think you are looking at a woman. But, in fact, you are looking at a picture.'

Picasso, famous for his hideously distorted portraits, said: 'I don't paint what I see. I paint what I think.'

Winter on the Moor is one of a series of six snow pictures, prints of which will be on sale at Flushing Arts Week at the end of May. Hope you like it.

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