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David A. Parfitt – 20 Miles

July 30 @ 10:00 - September 26 @ 16:00

Painting of trees

A new exhibition of paintings and prints by Somerset landscape artist David A. Parfitt at Black Swan Arts reflects on our connections with nature, place and home.

Most of the work in ‘20 Miles’ – a mixture of dramatic, sometimes almost abstract, watercolours and striking monochromatic monoprints – has been created in David’s studio during the lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. ‘Somerset is my home,’ he says. ‘I am from here and I work here. Memories of past and present pervade my work. The places I paint constantly return to me – they are special and are all within 20 miles of my studio in Coleford. This is me.’

The new works – which feature the trees, wetlands and woods of Somerset – explore the tension between the restrictions that have been placed on all of us over the past year and the desire to get out into the natural world. David says: ‘On the face of it not much changed in my solitary working life, but then again everything was different.’

By staying close to home, David rediscovered places on his daily walks around the village, making new connections and creating new memories. Conversely, he also longed for his regular autumn and winter walks around the Mendip hills and Somerset wetlands.
This has resulted in subtle variations in his practice: ‘The marks I make in my paintings seem to reflect an anxiety. They are less defined, sometimes uncertain, and I am making more work from memory.’ He adds: ‘Does this mean I have travelled 20 miles in advancing or improving my work? I am not sure, but I do know that I have not physically travelled further than 20 miles in the past 12 months.’
David describes himself as a landscape artist working with watercolours and monoprints. His paintings are representational, but his intention is ‘to make things that have a sense of place without looking overly contrived or deliberate’. His method involves working quickly, drawing seemingly haphazard marks with a brush and combining these with loose washes without getting overinvolved in detail. At the same time, he is also ‘thinking about the painting and letting it speak to me, rather than purely replicating the landscape image in front of me’.

Even before the pandemic, David was spending an increasing amount of time working in his studio, although he passionately believes that an essential part of the process is to work on paintings outdoors to capture colour, form and composition. However, these days he takes with him a sketchbook, a small box of watercolours and a camera, using the sketches and photographs to make studio-based pieces where he can give more thought to experimentation or just work purely from memory. Some of his sketchbooks will be on display as part of the exhibition.

David’s monoprints involve a totally different way of working to watercolour: the removal of colour allows him to concentrate on tone, extreme contrast and mark making. He says: ‘These elements are revealed both in the wiping of ink from the plate and by marking and drawing on the plate itself. There is a mechanical process to it all which I find therapeutic, although I am never confident of the result!’

Meet the artist: David Parfitt will be at Black Swan Arts on Friday 30 July from 7–9pm to answer questions about his artwork and creative practice.

Open Thursday – Sunday.


July 30 @ 10:00
September 26 @ 16:00
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Black Swan Arts
01373 473980


Black Swan Arts
2 Bridge Street
Frome, Somerset BA11 2BN United Kingdom
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01373 453355