Freya Wood walks two kilometres daily from her home to her studio on the Rainscombe Estate. She takes a pack lunch and listens to classical novels whilst walking and painting. In summer months, she sets up on location in the surrounding hills, In winter she works in her studio. Freya’s style and technique is highly idiodyncratic: she uses a combination of watercolour, gouache, ink, and gum arabic. She stains her thick pieces of finest Bockingford Watercolour paper by submerging them in large vats of water then pouring a specially prepared ground to create the desired background.
Freya avoids the literal landscape , the worlds she creates are more metaphorical. Although the places she depicts are rooted in a topographical reality, (primary the environs of the Wiltshire downs) she tends to return to particular places for ‘motifs’ , places that hold some intrigue for her, to which she has attached some important memory or sensation.
Her paintings are an emotional reaction to a spectacular backdrop which has moved her since childhood. She detaches some obscure part of the landscape; a bristling beech thicket, an escarpment rippling with tumuli, a particular configuration of trees which seem to her pregnant with meaning, and accords to them a disproportionate value and significance, isolating and elevating them from the landscape they inhabit and honing in on their distinctive qualities with all the mania and devotion of a fetishist.
Freya immerses herself daily in this landscape. The hills rise and fall around her as she moves through it on her way to her studio in the heart of the valley, or to her latest painting spot. The shifting, rippling forms of the hills, the eerie and inviting avenues, the geometric undulations of the pattern of the plough, all these are internalised and stored up as she walks, ready to emerge somewhere down the line, surfacing in some strange new guise in a new painting or drawing.
Wiltshire is renowned for its high downland and wide valleys. Two-thirds of Wiltshire lies on chalk. The beds of the Chalk formation build some of the most spectacular scarp and downland scenery in England. The peculiar properties of chalk are therefore responsible for the county’s distinctively dramatic vista’s. The high hills plummet steeply into billowing arable fields, the valley of Pewsey, (being situated between the Marlborough downs and Salisbury Plain) having been carved out by an ancient glacier. The highest point in the county is the Tan Hill–Milk Hill ridge in the Pewsey Vale, just to the north of Salisbury Plain, at 295 m (968 ft) above sea level.
Wiltshire Chalk Country is a unique and precious landscape- and with rising urban sprawl, and the proximity of the county to London, Freya’s paintings aim is to preserve its richness and wildness whilst it remains unspoilt.