In biology and psychology it relates to an animal that has had the cortex of its brain removed or separated, a moist-sounding process not guaranteed to raise the spirits of passers-by. ‘Remove the rind, or husk from’, is another explanation. In the United States of America, where they tend to lengthy locutions, they sometimes refer to decorticated peanuts. One is tempted to add, well, they would wouldn’t they! The verb decorticare - from the Latin decorticat - has been mooching about avoiding the limelight since the early 17th century - an age ago, back in the acorn time of our oak, if it is an oak. Think of all that time spent waiting in Suffolk for a passing painter to set up an easel to watch the slow striptease. So it was in 2012, on a summer’s day, the tree stood, decorticating for all it was worth. Decorticate, to ‘remove the bark from; slough off a skin’. Bark off, at least I think that’s what the farmer on whose land I had strayed, shouted.

Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs.’ Ansel Adams


20” x 15” (50 x 38cm)

Acrylic on gessoed panel