Tao - The way.
The state which is neither speech nor silence.
When painting I feel very much the power and the 'depth' of landscape and it is important to me to try to convey a sense of exploration and revelation particularly in relation to the Cotswold landscape which I find so mysterious and magical. From the resulting web of ideas and impulses I try to present images of a landscape where something out of the ordinary happens: something tribal and prehistoric. There is, for me, a deep and profound spiritual message in the passing of the seasons, the cycles of growth and maturity without a beginning or an end.
The boundary of the Stroud Five Valleys where I live - Cranham, Sheepscombe, Slad, Pitchcombe, Brimpsfield and Caudle Green, I find great mystery and powerful emotion, and I feel a strong sense of time in the shapes of fields, the markings of plough and foot and the colour and passing of the seasons of planting, growth and death.
As a painter I try to push my technique and materials as far as I am able, painting in loose textured washes on A1 sheet of heavily textured paper. My colours are sometimes mixed with pure pigment and often the painted surface is severely distressed. To enhance the texture I use masking fluid, emulsion paint, wax, inks, dyes, and drawn and incised lines. Occasionally I add varnish to the paint or the paint surface to deepen the image and bring out the subtleties of the colour.
My final works are characterised by a rich and vibrant use of colour, texture and copper or gold leaf. They form a complex mixture of theme and counter - theme, harmony and discord.
As with all creative people I am influenced by the work and thoughts of others.
I would be totally lost without the poetry of T.S.Eliot, the paintings of Samuel Palmer, Cecil Collins, Emile Nolde, Tapies and Mark Rothko, Buddhist Chant and the music of John Tavener, Peter Maxwell Davis, Strauss and Sibelius.
Richard Straley 2012