obin Pickering paints places that resonate with him. In this exhibition these places are Cornwall and Venice. The result is a body of work that is evocative, mysterious and eminently empathetic.

He works in pastel to capture the interplay between location, light and colour. In his Venetian work he achieves a compelling depth of luminosity by making a charcoal drawing, then almost obliterating it with black pastel, which he then overlays with layers of fixatives and more pastel.

In some pieces the buildings and architectural details are clear as in S. Maria della Salute sunset II (pictured on the right) where the iconic church is immediately recognisable while the colours of a reflected sunset are played out both on it and on the surrounding waters of the lagoon.

Others, like Evening glow, side canal, are more abstract where Pickering uses blocks of colour to draw the eye round the gentle bend of a generic canal towards the refracted glow of the dying sun captured on the masonry and in reflection in the water.

The frames form an important part of each painting. The mystery and romance of the Venice pieces are enhanced by bevelled black frames separated from the picture itself by a thin gold border.

By contrast the Cornish work is framed in light, sandy-coloured wood, providing an open setting for sand and seascape.

The work in this series ranges from the representational — as in Celtic Lass at low tide, St Ives, where the beached boat dominates the hypnotic quality of the seas and skies behind it — to the almost abstract, as in Moon glints, St Ives, where the hazy purple foreground is separated from a retreating sky by a sea depicted in glittering silvers and greens.

The exhibition is at Radley College, near Abingdon, and is open daily. It continues until March 23.