“On this edge, the hedge. Just where the smallest, wildest, most unused field reaches to the open expanses of the unenclosed stretch of heather moor, there is a small stunted hawthorn tree.”

Kurt Jackson will return to the same hawthorn tree growing in a hedge near his home at St Just, Penwith, in Cornwall, and respond to how it changes through the seasons. This solitary tree is the remnants of an ancient hedge, and its form has been shaped by the weather and landscape over the years, contorted by wind, nibbled at by sheep and deer. It’s low, almost bonsaied in its form,’ says Kurt. ‘It leans or rather points into the east, swept and blown from the west, from the prevailing winds off the Atlantic cliffs. It is a crashing wave of branch and stick.’

Kurt is an artist who embraces a range of materials and techniques to celebrate the natural environment. He was born in Blandford, Dorset, and graduated from St Peter’s College, Oxford, with a degree in Zoology. He has been Artist in Residence on the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, the Eden Project and at the Glastonbury Festival since 1999. He lives in St Just, Penwith, in Cornwall with his family. For this residency, he is making a series of mixed media paintings, one for each season, alongside a series of smaller sketches, poems and maquettes to record its changing appearance through the year. He will also run a series of educational workshops at the Jackson Foundation


We are pleased to share the full set of paintings that Kurt Jackson made during his residency for the tree charter. Each painting charts a single thorn tree’s relationship to the seasons, through the artist close attentive practice. The series begins in winter and continues throughout the seasons  expressing the Thorn’s various guises throughout the year.

The first piece is called: The thorn in winter from the south side. A wren sings to me, the wind blows under a weak winter sun and the thorn shivers.

Photography by Seth Jackson


On a fine day early in August Kurt led a small group to the ancient thorn tree that he has been painting over the course of a year for the Tree Charter residency.  It’s a rare thing that Kurt Jackson hosts a workshop so places were very limited. Participants were ferried up by bus and then a brisk walk to the thorn where students were given a unique insight into Kurt’s creative practice. The photos of the workshop were taken by artist Andrew Fields during the workshop.

Photography by Andrew Fields


Through the seasons: Kurt Jackson began sketching the thorn tree in February, at the end of winter, and will return to the same place every season, creating a mixed media work on wood to express the tree through the year.

Photography by Seth Jackson

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