“There was a field next door where all the cow-parsley had been cut,” he continues. “And when I had settled down to paint, I heard a tractor, and there was a farmhand who was going to cut it down in this field too. I had to persuade him to delay that job for a couple of days.”

I tell Tom that his work reminds me of the impressionists, and ask him if he feels that’s fair. “I like the work of the Impressionists, but I’m also very fond of Constable’s work. He said that the landscape that he grew up in made him a painter, and I feel the same way about this area. But I’m influenced by all sorts of different artists, even though they might not be immediately connected to my work. Carel Weight, David Bomberg, Van Ruysdael. You can find interesting things in all sorts of different fields.” I suggest that finding interesting things in all sorts of different fields pretty much sums up his particular take on landscape painting, and he laughs, perhaps generously, for the second time in the interview. AL


‘Cricket Bat Willows’ by Tom Benjamin (detail)

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