This painting is throwing up challenges for me because of its excess of content. I read somewhere, about six months ago, that a painting should have a maximum of seven elements and that it should contain conflict. I wrote these two rules on my studio wall: Max 7 elements, conflict. They seemed like good guidelines.

Of course, a lot of great paintings have many more than seven elements. Eventually I wanted to make a larger painting, so I butted two canvasses together and started thinking about what to paint on them. The result of a collaging process is this: protesters and trespassers against a backdrop of thatched cottages and a field with harvest workers. I’ve since added a row of silos behind, and a combine harvester. It’s a source of private amusement that my Dad is the only person who’s seen this painting in progress and known what that machine, with its attendant tractor-trailer, is. In another of my paintings, “Trespass on the Manor Lawn”, one of the crop sprayers that his company uses extends its wings behind the figures. Nobody seems to notice it. Without recognisability these beasts take no place in the collective imagination of the landscape, even though they do so much to shape it (for better or, in many ways, for worse). This is true of many, many things hidden in plain sight around us every day. Conversely, the thatched cottage is basically irrelevant to the contemporary rural in social and environmental terms, yet its familiarity is self-perpetuating. 
Top: Charcoal sketch on canvas for Recreation

Below: Recreation in progress
Oil on canvas