Gordon Rushmer: The Wind in the Trees: Petworth

Gordon Rushmer’s new show is a comprehensive collection of watercolours that traverse the varied landscapes of the South Downs National Park. This much-loved area of southern England stretches along the south coast from the gentle hills of Hampshire to the iconic white cliffs of East Sussex and inland from the rolling South Downs to the Weald and Hangers in the north. The newest of all the National Parks, this exhibition celebrates the Park’s tenth anniversary and is supported by the South Downs National Park Authority.


Gordon has had a long association with the Park and three years ago started exploring and recording both the well-known and quieter places in the Park for this latest project. He walked the 160 km South Downs Way, and explored the rivers, villages, forests and heathlands. His works capture the many moods and the ever-changing weather conditions, from the frosts of winter to the hot days of summer.


For Gordon, who has always lived in his beloved ‘South Country, this landscape continues to provide endless inspiration and also relief from the harrowing scenes of war he experienced as an official war artist during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Over a twelve-year period he painted the activities of the Dutch and British Royal Marines and Special Forces, firstly during the Bosnian conflict then on to Eritrea, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is one of the few modern British watercolourists to have been included in Tate Britain’s much vaunted exhibition ‘Watercolour’ in 2011.


To accompany this exhibition, Gordon has written ‘A Celebration of the South Downs National Park’, blending his experiences, thoughts and feelings with over 90 watercolour paintings. Signed copies of the book will be available for sale during the exhibition. A percentage of the sales from the show will be donated to ‘Trees for the Downs’, an important tree planting project by the South Downs National Park Trust, see www.southdownstrust.org.uk/trees-for-the-downs/ for more information.