“…Baptist mentioned that plants behave in much the same way as humankind, strangling and smothering rivals in the rat race for position and food.
He was especially struck by this idea, he explains, having made the beautiful series of paintings and woodcuts, ‘Mysteries of an English Garden’. Now, a man as well informed as Baptist knows that a meditation on the English pastoral should point to Eden, not Dawkins. But it is typical of Baptist’s pattern of thought that, within the famed arbour of the English garden, he finds himself marvelling at the mysteries of DNA, simply doing its job; all that struggle behind all that beauty.
Dawkins was interviewed in The Observer in September and Baptist had brought the article along to show me. In it, asked if Darwinism informs his everyday apprehension of life, Dawkins responds: “Well, in one way it does. My eyes are constantly wide open to the extraordinary fact of existence. Not just human existence but the existence of life and how this breathtakingly powerful process, which is natural selection, has managed to take the very simple facts of physics and chemistry and build them up to redwood trees and humans.”
Writer and former deputy editor of Printmaking Today
He now works for the Poetry Society
I have been sketching and painting our garden over very many years – the same or similar views over the seasons. I saw the growth and changes of the plants as they reached out for the sun, smothering rivals in their lust for light and energy. There, as the days and weeks passed by, I could almost draw, like a slow motion movie, the struggle for existence that each plant makes to survive. A suggestion of plant structures at a microscopic level has worked itself into the images, maybe influenced by abstracts I did in the 60s.
I’m also beginning to add ‘a sprawl of incidents’, real or imagined taking place in the garden.
All of these Painting and Prints are dedicated to my wife Jean who created the garden over many years- from what was an old orchard.