Friday 7 October 2022

Through the Veil

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

The Presence of a Portrait

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.

Edward Lowndes Aldersley 1883 - 1916

Tuesday 23 August 2022

The Art of Life

Well, what a couple of years that has been! The pandemic forced a retreat from the studio and from exhibitions for a while and so, apart from one online workshop each week, my creative focus and energies shifted to visualising and creating the home life that we wanted.  We (Jo and I) began by getting married in Scottish woodland (near our regular haunt -Watercolour Cottage, near Ardgour) - a beautiful, small and sacred ceremony in perfect surroundings. 

Shortly after, we began the process of moving house and building the dream - creating a wonderful new environment which would inspire all that we do in the future. This has involved (aside from a lot of prayer and soul searching) moving to a cottage on the edge of Roughlee, creating 'chicken world' in the garden,  knocking down and replacing a workshop (which now has views over the countryside) and replacing the existing summerhouse with a hardier log cabin style - one which has an open view of Pendle Hill and is a very peaceful and inspiring space. 

So now we have a place that we love - a 'house of belonging' (to borrow a title from a David Whyte poem), from which we can dream, envision and then plan and work towards bringing things into being. We are feeling very blessed and grateful and are still pinching ourselves to make sure that it's not just a dream! Here are some photo's of our 'new' place at Ousel Rock, Roughlee.

The 'house of belonging'

The workshop (pre-furniture!)

Alice guarding the summerhouse

Inside the summerhouse (1)

Inside the summerhouse (2)

A room with a view

Mist over pendle from the summerhouse

Contemplative corner

Lola May's memorial garden (our king charles spaniel) and Maude

Tuppence and Alice at Sunset

Chicken World

Jo with Anne and Phil - great friends, great evening

Here's to dreaming, cheers!

So having concentrated on the Art of life for this 'season', it is time to bring the inspiration back into the practise of art and teaching! Watch this space for exciting updates over the next few days and weeks.