Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Fanciful Gothic Beasts

This pastel was composed around 1992 from sketches of the misericords in the choir stalls of St. Laurence, Ludlow. They are quaint carvings of biblical stories as interpreted by the medieval woodcarvers. Sketching them involved sitting on the floor to get a better view which meant I was out of sight to anyone standing at the chancel screen. While totally engrossed I was interrupted by the verger leaning over the bookrest to see what was going on. Apparently thefts of choir stall seats were not unknown.

Dark fantasy is never far away in the art of Northern Europe – you find it in the paintings of Breughel and Heironymous Bosch. But I found these fishes and beasts rather quaint, all that was lacking was bright cheerful colour. Use the thumbnail to see a larger image.

Fanciful Gothic Beasts

Saturday, October 21, 2006

‘A brief encounter after more than 15 years.’

Yesterday I went into our local print gallery just to browse. They have boxes of cheap mounted prints that are on offer for a few pounds. On the walls they display paintings of varying age and quality and I was stunned to find that they had a framed pastel of mine. I told the assistant that I was the artist and asked how they had acquired it – she had no idea.

I remember that it was a painting of a hill farm – Alltforgan – at the head of Lake Vyrnwy. It was painted at least 15 years ago and I must have sold it at one of the Ludlow Art Society exhibitions. In those days I was not very businesslike and did not keep careful records or take photographs of my work so I have no idea who the original purchaser was.

By co-incidence another painting by a former Vice-President turned up recently in the same shop. It was bought by his son who showed it to me. Fortunately I was able to tell him who had bought it and the gallery must have acquired it at a sale of the purchaser’s effects when she died. I guess the gallery acquired mine in a similar way. It was good to see it again and I was tempted to buy it back because they’d valued it at far less than the price I ask now. I resisted but I’ll probably go back again to see if they’ve sold it – I hope it finds a good home

Friday, October 13, 2006

“It’s Like Meeting Old Friends.”

I’m married to a woman who is passionate about tidiness so when faced with the threat of having my normally chaotic studio tidied up I knew I had to act immediately! The trouble with being ‘tidy’ is that you can never find things; but never mind the enforced reorganisation of my studio storage did me a good turn – I had to sort through my old painting and drawings.

This was a task that took me two days because renewing acquaintance with the paintings was like meeting old friends, you can’t just give them a cursory glance and pass on. Memories come back and the realisation dawns that things don’t look as they once did so many of the subjects I would now treat differently. There are several paintings though that could be improved by the application of a stronger wash or by cropping to a smaller format. That’s a task that will have to be fitted in between developing new work during the coming months.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Scilly tips for Sketchers

Sketching outdoors in front of the subject beats having to work solely from photographs. When working out of doors these days I do tonal studies and leave colour work for the studio. It is difficult to assess tone values when you are also considering colour. The advantage of making tonal studies is that the means of doing them is so simple. The 'Tonal Studies' link navigates to a web page that discusses the topic further - do have a look!

Tonal Studies