© Copyright 2018
Yes, the title of this project is a humorous reference to David Hockney’s “paper pools”: but I certainly do not claim his stature for my work! Hockney was fascinated by the ambiguous relationship between “apparent surfaces” and “real surfaces”, both of which are illusory, since they are both located in actuality on yet another surface — that of the picture. I share that interest in this project, but there the similarity between our intentions ends.
My “puddles” (in contrast to Hockney’s swimming pools) are naturally-occurring rock pools, usually in mountain streams. Their context is as important to me as their intrinsic character, and this series of pastel studies extends my long-standing interest, as a landscape artist, in the fundamental mysteriousness of wild places. I am fascinated by the way in which, looking into these water-filled rock basins, we gain a sense that we catch sight of another world of experience from which we are necessarily separated, and which we can only see and understand imperfectly.
Although this project can be traced intermittently over more than a decade, it moved again into the centre of my attention as I prepared for a recent exhibition at How Stean, in Upper Nidderdale.