July 2021

Festivals and Events

Black Swan arts- David Parfitt

Black Swan Arts, 2 Bridge Street, BA11 1BB, Frome

30 Jul - 26 Sep 2021

Black Swan arts- David Parfitt


A new exhibition of paintings and prints by Somerset landscape artist David A. Parfitt at Black Swan Arts in Frome reflects on our connections with nature, place and home.

Most of the work in ‘20 Miles’ – a mixture of dramatic, sometimes almost abstract, watercolours and striking monochromatic monoprints – has been created in David’s studio during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. ‘Somerset is my home,’ he says. ‘I am from here and I work here. Memories of past and present pervade my work. The places I paint constantly return to me – they are special and are all within 20 miles of my studio in Coleford. This is me.’

The new works – which feature the trees, wetlands and woods of Somerset – explore the tension between the restrictions that have been placed on all of us over the past year and the desire to get out into the natural world. David says: ‘On the face of it not much changed in my solitary working life, but then again everything was different.’

By staying close to home, David rediscovered places on his daily walks around the village, making new connections and creating new memories. Conversely, he also longed for his regular autumn and winter walks around the Mendip hills and Somerset wetlands.

This has resulted in subtle variations in his practice: ‘The marks I make in my paintings seem to reflect an anxiety. They are less defined, sometimes uncertain, and I am making more work from memory.’ He adds: ‘Does this mean I have travelled 20 miles in advancing or improving my work? I am not sure, but I do know that I have not physically travelled further than 20 miles in the past 12 months.’

David describes himself as a landscape artist working with watercolours and monoprints. His paintings are representational, but his intention is ‘to make things that have a sense of place without looking overly contrived or deliberate’. His method involves working quickly, drawing seemingly haphazard marks with a brush and combining these with loose washes without getting overinvolved in detail.

At the same time, he is also ‘thinking about the painting and letting it speak to me, rather than purely replicating the landscape image in front of me’.
Even before the pandemic, David was spending an increasing amount of time working in his studio, although he passionately believes that an essential part of the process is to work on paintings outdoors to capture colour, form and composition. However, these days he takes with him a sketchbook, a small box of watercolours and a camera, using the sketches and photographs to make studio-based pieces where he can give more thought to experimentation or just work purely from memory. Some of his sketchbooks will be on display as part of the exhibition.

David’s monoprints involve a totally different way of working to watercolour: the removal of colour allows him to concentrate on tone, extreme contrast and mark making. He says: ‘These elements are revealed both in the wiping of ink from the plate and by marking and drawing on the plate itself. There is a mechanical process to it all which I find therapeutic, although I am never confident of the result!’

David A. Parfitt was elected a member of the Royal Institute (RI) of Painters in Water Colours in 2011 and is currently serving as the organisation’s honorary treasurer. He won the Neil Meacher RI sketchbook award in 2012, the Frank Herring award in 2014 and the Winsor & Newton/RI award (for the group of paintings judged to be the most outstanding contribution to the exhibition) in 2016.

‘20 Miles’ will be open from Friday 30 July to Sunday 26 September, Thursday to Sunday, 10am–4pm. For further information and up-to-date information on opening hours, please visit www.blackswanarts.org.uk.


Black Swan arts- David Parfitt
Black Swan Arts
2 Bridge Street
BA11 1BB

T: 01373 473980

E: office@blackswanarts.org.uk


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