Nick’s visits over the last 15 years to the Wye Valley around Hampton Bishop and Tintern Abbey prompted this series of painted panels. At a particularly special spot on the river at Lower Red Bank there is a run of cherry blossom amongst riverside weeping willow trees set against the deep, rich red banks, that make the farming in the area so successful. Hence the land around Hereford is known as ‘boys’ country.’ “If you stick anything in the ground it’ll grow!” Sadly, arable farming is one of the contributors to the decline of all river ecosystems, but a necessity.
After painting a series of studies on the River Wye down on Lower Red Bank, Nick finally found a fitting composition for the original work. The butterflies in the work were chosen to accentuate the spring blossom (fresh green, early leaf cover of the trees and white, yellow and pink blossom) and to capture a dream state of bygone eras. Duck, herons and other wild fowl often frequent the waters there, and the river used to be famed for it’s prolific catches of salmon, and other course and game fishing species. Obviously, there is also a strong Japanese influence in this work, in the use of gold and a simplified, almost emblematic painted scene leaving the viewer to place themselves by experience in the scene. After all, sound and image are always strengthened by individual associative experience.