We have recently moved to a small but beautifully formed cottage at Roughlee which is situated in beautiful and wild countryside close to Pendle Hill. In fact we bought a large garden, overlooking Pendle which happened to come with a house! Since arriving, I have familiarised myself with our local landscape and have taken thousands of photographs as inspiration for paintings. Here are two recent skyscape paintings inspired by our immediate surroundings.
Friday 7 October 2022
Below is one of the newly framed pieces for the Harrogate Art Fair (which is just a week away!). 'Through the Veil' is an original acrylic moodscape evoking a misty mountain scene inspired by my travels through the West Coast of Scotland. Often my paintings reflect something of the 'inner landscape' at the same time as the outer landscape. As I return to the world of art after a break, the way forward is not always clear and I have this sense of great opportunities, shrouded in mystery. Sometimes, as with the Harrogate art Fair, I have to take the next step in faith and trust that all will unfold in positive and exciting ways.
In life, I can't always see the way ahead and I tend to call for guidance, listen to 'the voice within' (noticing any 'pointers' that seem to appear) and then I take the next step. So having felt guided towards the Harrogate Art Fair, I have invested in a stall, selected a body of work, chosen and ordered the framing and had leaflets and business cards printed. So now I hope, pray and am even prepared to expect, that the weekend will be a success - involving rich conversations with fellow art enthusiasts, some of whom will want to take a piece of art home with them. I am really looking forward to sharing my landscapes and moodscapes and connecting with people again through my work.
Here's a link to Harrogate Art Fair.
Through the Veil (framing by Phil Darby)
Friday 16 September 2022
I went on a bit of an artistic journey this week - out of my comfort zone and into the land of portraiture. I was working from an old photograph of my wife Jo's great grandad Edward Lowndes Aldersley who died in the Somme in 1916. In studying the image, I was moved by the slightly haunted expression in the eyes which seemed to me to reflect fear, uncertainty, sadness, determination and courage, among other things. The challenge was to somehow reflect these things through accuracy and sensitivity in the handling of the pencil. As I worked, I was reminded of the privilege of being an artist, in that we have the capacity to let the Spirit flow through us, breathing life into our work. In this case, I felt Edward emerged from the paper as the drawing progressed and became somehow present. There is something about the qualities of a soft pencil and a slightly textured paper that can help to bring out the depth in a study like this and to reflect the 'otherness' of Edwards expression.
The proof of the portrait is in the reactions of those closest to Edward, of course. On receiving it as a birthday present from me and Jo, her dad (Eddie) said 'Yes, that's grandad. It sounds strange but it's like I know him through this portrait - he comes alive'. Jo was also moved by the portrait and said, 'I feel like I can reach out and touch him'. As for me, I feel like I spent a little time getting to know him this week and I felt privileged to look into the young, scared, brave eyes of a cherished family member who lost his life so that we, and those before us, might have our freedom. I only hope that my portrait does his memory justice.