‘Forbes is also a painter producing vibrant pictures in the Colourist tradition.’
– Sarah Johnson in Literature Online

Track in Cephalonia

One of my enduring interests is in art and painting. I began as a teenage devotee of Van Gogh and Cézanne and the interest in producing and studying works of art has grown from there. I gave up paint to concentrate on words during my time at university and only returned to painting itself after a gap of twenty years.

As a painter, I describe myself as a Colourist and, like Matisse and Nicolas de Staël, I am drawn to the bright colours and sharp shadows of the Mediterranean summer. In 2009, Thames and Elsewhere, my first solo exhibition of paintings was held in Henley-on-Thames. Here is a selection of my paintings with a few quotations about art.


‘Painting is silent poetry, poetry is eloquent painting.’
– Simonides (c. 556-468 B.C.)

‘Ideas are to literature what light is to painting.’
– Paul Bourget

Blue Beehives, Tilos

‘You know, a landscape painter’s day is delightful…
The whole landscape lies behind the transparent gauze of the fog that now rises, drawn upwards by the sun, and as it rises, reveals the silver-spangled river, the fields, the cottages, the further scene. At last one can discern all that one could only guess at before… The sun is up!… Everything is bursting into life, sparkling in the full light – light, which as yet is still soft and golden. The background, simple in line and harmonious in colour, melts into the infinite expanse of sky, through the bluish, misty atmosphere. It’s adorable! And one paints! And paints!’
– Jean-Baptiste Camille Corot, from a letter in 1857

‘Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.’
– Paul Klee

‘Adore everything which lives beneath the sky – the light is so beautiful, the dusk and even the shadows.’
– Georges Rouault