Sunday, 9 July 2017

Kunsthuis Gallery 2017 collection

Yorkshire remembered

Over the first few months of 2017 I began putting together a series of paintings based on my memories of growing up in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The collection of 10 paintings will be shown by Kunsthuis Gallery, Crayke, Yorkshire, as part of their exhibition "A Wash of Energy". The gallery says: 


Kunsthuis Gallery will showcase Watercolourists who we feel are pushing the boundaries of their discipline and creative practice. We want to celebrate excellence and originality within this medium. Kunsthuis Gallery have engaged in extensive research of artists who work within the medium of Watercolour and who, we believe, sit in line with our gallery’s ethos to be the Contemporary Abstract gallery of The North.

This first piece: 'Post Industrial Shadow and Light' (right) recalls the shapes and colours of a 1960's landscape still affected by slag heaps, but showing in the distance, the light sunny forms of hillsides unaffected by the grime. 

Living in West Yorkshire allowed weekend visits to Holmfirth and onto the Pennine Moors, a landscape which I feel is my spiritual home.

My watercolour work is made with only a mental recollection of place and form. I may have sketched in situ, something I do enjoy, but in the studio a kind of distillation happens and the first layers of colour which go down seem to be made with no conscious sense of planned or realistic representation. No doubt I am laying down forms which most impressed upon me when in the place.

For example, here's how the first image (above) began....

In the piece below, scratching the surface of the wet, 300gsm NOT watercolour paper introduced some interesting suggestions of the kind of wiry detritus and abandoned buildings sometimes encountered walking through hills which once supported mining  and weaving. 

School and Uni field trips took us to various sites to study the flora and fauna of the North York Moors. Scenes like the piece below: "Storm Approaching" are fixed in my mind. The feel of the air, colours and clear sense of space that standing so high on the tops brings. Not to mention the call of the Curlew....

Maybe the above pieces demonstrate that I often enjoy leaving layers of translucent pigment to dry before choosing the next colour, always looking out for those serendipitous shapes I hadn't planned and decide to leave. Sometimes I will work a drying edge of paint with water or a different wash, and watch to see how the capillary action affects the flow of paint over the surface. Granulation typical of certain pigments also adds to the composition. The final piece is always the result of choices made as I go along, simply on the basis of what I like.

I imagine that the above examples from the Kunsthuis collection give a sense of quiet, so I'll include one last example in which I feel I've achieved power and dynamism in the composition. Entitled "Water Falling" its one of several paintings inspired by a walk through the towering rocks and pounding falls of Ingleton Gorge. Its a large piece painted on a favourite paper of mine: Two Rivers paper Company's 700lb NOT - quite a beast to tame, but wonderful stuff.

Thursday, 16 September 2010


A great feeling to finally finish several paintings today. Some of them are based on the Norfolk coastline, a series I hope to continue over the next month. With a few "End of Year" shows coming up at galleries, I shall also need smaller work that may appeal as Christmas approaches. The canvas above is of Weybourne Beach in the evening.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

September 1st 2010

With an exhibition coming up in September at The Old Printworks, Saxmundham, and other mixed shows in Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk between now and Christmas, I am beginning to feel like my head may start to spin freely on its axis. Although perhaps that would mean I am possessed so maybe the wrong image. But it is mind boggling trying to work out what will go where.

I've found myself working quite small over the last few weeks: 20x20cm and even smaller, something I never thought I would do. 

Most of my inspiration comes from the agricultural landscape here in East Suffolk, but these small paintings include coastal and estuary subjects from Norfolk.