Based in Romsey, the New Forest is but a cycle ride away. Over the years I've captured many quiet and not so quiet corners and turned them into popular paintings...
Ober Water is normally busy with visitors - families out for a walk, with kids in weliies splashing about as dogs chase after sticks, but pick your time well and you can have this beautiful place to yourself. I took the original photo in early May 2001 during the foot and mouth outbreak. The forest had been reopened to the public, but the carparks remained closed. I walked in from nearby Brockenhurst and had the place to myself - plus a few deer, ponies and a snake I disturbed on my walk.
Forest Autumn II
Around the last week of October or the first week of November the forest gives a superb display of Autumn colour. Most people flock to the ornamental drives, but quieter spots like this (just North of Ober Water) can give just as good a show.
A December day, but already the sun had burned off most of the frost. Heading North through the woods from Brockenhurst I came upon a sheltered glade where the sun had yet to make its mark. Using a tree to obscure it I caught this scene of frost and rays of sun filtering through the bare branches of the bushes. I found this a real challenge to paint - trying to figure out which to paint first - the rays of sun or the shrubbery.
I sometimes cycle down to Lepe on the coastal fringe of the New Forest. On this day it was hot and sunny, and the crowds from nearby Southampton had flocked to one of their nearest stretches of beach. The scene reminded me of a Seurat painting of people relaxing by the Seine, so I felt inspired to paint this challenging composition in oil on a 30x20 inch board.
All that remains now is to show you whereabouts these views came from. I can give only approximate locations, but if you wander around a bit you may spot something familiar from one of my paintings, but do beware that the landscape is constantly changing by natural processes - trees growing up or dying off and falling, rivers slowly changing their meanders. Its surprising how quickly such a timeless landscape changes.