Talking Techniques The White Wood
Artists & Illustrators|December 2018
Talking Techniques The White Wood

Artist MARK EDWARDS reveals how he paints his haunting and beautifully textured acrylic snow scenes.

Sally Hales

You’ve been painting the wintry forest of the White Wood for more than a decade. Why did you start painting it and how has it developed as a subject over the years?

I had spent years working on a series of deer stalking paintings in the Scottish Highlands, our home since 1974. Although this series was proving commercially successful, I felt it had run its course. It was while looking at an unfinished final painting in that series that I was inspired to paint what would become the White Wood.

Instead of the usual stalkers, ponies and deer among the mountains, I painted two figures in a wintry wood and a smattering of snow. It was unusual because one of the most noticeable features of the north-west Highlands is the lack of trees. This painting intrigued me. I used oil paint more thickly and loosely than previously, but it took a long time to dry so, for the next painting, I changed to acrylic, a medium I had been using for my illustrations for years.

What is it about a snowy winter setting that appeals?

I like the clean separation of the various elements of White Wood paintings; the trees, the men in bowler hats, a train, a red balloon and so on. It continues to develop, sometimes with the same cast of characters, for the most part, isolated and somehow disconnected. They inhabit a wood that not only defines and protects them but, at times, appears to threaten them.

I read that you lived in a shepherd’s hut. Did this give you a deep attachment to the changing seasons?

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December 2018