Alan Cotton  
 

Paintings - Devon - Otter Valley

Blackberry Hedgerow 18" x 24" - 46cm x 61cm
Blackberry Hedgerow 18" x 24" 46cm x 61cm
  Barley Field in Evening Sunlight 18" x 24" - 46cm x 61cm
Barley Field in Evening Sunlight 18" x 24" 46cm x 61cm

Otter Valley Landscape - 13" x 15" - 33cm x 38cm
Otter Valley Landscape 13" x 15" 33cm x 38cm

My studio and home in the Otter Valley has been my central working space for many years. When I first arrived and for a long period, I worked along the banks of the River Otter, the estuary and the slopes of the valley, which seemed to me to be a lyrical landscape with a Palmer like intensity. I painted the villages, farms, stone walls, cloudy skies, wet roads and cows around my studio. With such rich material around me I was able to closely observe the changing seasons and to produce paintings which reflected the moods and physical changes of the landscape. Looking back at some of these early works, I see that reflected images and contrasts of light and deep shade are recurrent; something which is central to my work to this day. In these paintings, as in my later works, I have tried to explore the way in which light breaks up form until solid objects disintegrate, merge and interchange.


Otter Valley Morning Light 14" x 20" - 36cm x 51cm
Otter Valley Morning Light 14" x 20" 36cm x 51cm
  River Otter Evening 20" x 24" - 51cm x 61cm
River Otter Evening 20" x 24" 51cm x 61cm

From the Otter Valley I gradually moved further afield and began to paint the coast, along from Hartland Quay in North Devon. I was overwhelmed by the physical scale of the cliffs, the power of the sea and the tragic history of that stretch of coastline. Hartland is a place of very distinct and varying moods. I have seen it in very benign conditions, where it is like a still pool with light reflecting off all the surfaces. Sometimes it’s a wild place, with the storms racing in and the great swashes of water hitting and eroding the coastline.
I worked, with great urgency, on a much larger scale than before, using broader knife techniques. Many of these large paintings found their way into public collections, culminating in a series of five Hartland paintings commissioned by their University of Exeter to commemorate the Silver Jubilee. These paintings can be seen in Queens Building at the University.

A sketch by Alan Cotton
  Sun and Tree 4" x 7" - 10cm x 18cm
Sun and Tree 4" x 7" 10cm x 18cm
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