The Secrets of a Tree
Because they are primeval, because they outlive us, because they are fixed, trees seem to emanate a sense of permanence. And though rooted in earth, they seem to touch the sky. For these reasons it is natural to feel we might learn wisdom from them, to haunt about them with the idea that if we could only read their silent riddle rightly we should learn some secret vital to our own lives; or even, more specifically, some secret vital to our real, our lasting and spiritual existence. (Kim Taplin)
At the end of last week I posted an introduction about the artist LS Lowry, he is one of my favorite artists and from my home town of Manchester in the UK. I have started a full study of his work and intend to post a few times relating to his artistic development as well as the different styles he worked in and area he selected for his art works.
It think its important to match Lowry with his night school teach Pierre Adolphe Valette, who was a French Impressionist painter. His most acclaimed paintings are urban landscapes of Manchester, now in the collection of Manchester Art Gallery. Today, he is chiefly remembered as L. S. Lowry’s tutor. I post here some of his painting as they cover a lot of the inner Manchester city areas that Lowry also later work in.
L S Lowry is known mostly for paintings,however the artist valued his drawings just as much.
Lowry was concerned with the qualities of line and tone. He continued to draw compulsively until the last years of his life, producing a huge range of works. His work does not just consist of his industrial scenes, but also includes highly finished drawings of the life model, careful portrait studies, rapid sketches made on location and harming sketches of children and dogs.
Lowry did not merely see drawing as a means to an end in producing his paintings, but as a significant and worthwhile medium in its own right. He would often makPierre Adolphe Valettee sketches, in situ or from memory, and later produce a much more detailed, fine piece of art from this sketch. In his early work, Lowry drew in a very strict and linear style, with little or no shading. Over time, however, he came to prefer a technique of rubbing out and over-drawing. Lowry would rub heavily worked areas of tone with his finger to achieve a dense velvety smoothness.
This technique of layering often gave his work a sense of ghostliness especially where traces of an earlier drawing can be seen underneath. Lowry did use mediums other than pencil for his drawings and his collection of work includes pastel, chalk, pen and ink, felt-tip and biro drawings.
Lowrys Night school teach was Pierre Adolphe Valette, when Lowry became a pupil of Valette he expressed great admiration for his tutor, who taught him new techniques and showed him the potential of the urban landscape as a subject. He called him “a real teacher … a dedicated teacher” and added: “I cannot over-estimate the effect on me of the coming into this drab city of Adolphe Valette, full of French impressionists, aware of everything that was going on in Paris
Valette’s paintings are Impressionist, a style that suited the damp fogginess of Manchester. Manchester Art Gallery has a room devoted to him, where the viewer may compare some of his paintings with some of Lowry’s, and judge to what extent Lowry’s own style was influenced by him and by French Impressionism generally.
The Lowry hosted an exhibition of about 100 works by Valette, alongside works by Lowry, between October 2011 and January 2012. It included paintings of Manchester from Manchester Art Gallery and loans from private owners.
I feel that you can see just how well these two artists click in the night school classes, as the influence that Valette had over Lowry clearly stayed with him all his artistic life ….
The Painting of Pierre Adolphe Valette
More painting by Pierre Adolphe Valette here
Selection of drawing by LS Lowery
Landscape painting and photography
Painting as an art form for myself feels very much like a natural progression from the art of landscape photography which is the act of recording a representation of the view you find yourself located in.
I often find myself asking what it was about an image I capture with my camera or in a sketch / painting that I liked so much that I went to the effort of working with that location in different forms and media.
This is a quote from one of my favourite landscape painters Fred Cuming, Talking about his paintings Cuming says: ‘I am not interested in pure representation. My work is about responses to the moods and atmospheres generated by landscape’
Although there are many forms of landscape art all as valid as each other, Contemporary landscape painting tends to fall into the areas of semi abstracted to completely abstract, in that each work is making an effort to extract from the selected landscape location a sense of atmosphere or a mood. This mood and atmosphere can involve colour or light or texture, or all of these things and more.
This artistic process, from pure representation or abstraction can in a completely valid way start with photography and in fact many current artists have replaced the sketch book with the film/digital camera. The question as to if this is the best thing or not will continue for a long time, some feeling that a photo simply cannot capture a good enough sense of the location or at least not in the same way as spending time in that location with a sketch book can.
Personally I feel photographs are a very important tool and can in a very valid way capture the mood and sense of a place. However I feel that you need to spend a good amount of time with your camera exploring as much as you can while your on site, walking around and finding all the different views and angles along with all the small details you can find. The aim is to return home with as complete a memory of your landscape as you can.
Here are some details of Fred Cuming as an artist along with some more of his painting…..
Artist: Fred Cuming
Fred Cuming is a painter of International standing. Born in 1930 he studied Art at Sidcup School of Art from 1945 to 1949. After completing his National Service he studied at the Royal College of Art from 1951 to 1955 where he gained a Rome Scholarship and an Abbey Minor Scholarship.
Fred was elected a Royal Academician in 1974. He has also been a member of the New English Art Club since 1960 and is the recipient of many art awards including: the Grand Prix Fine Art (1977); the Royal Academy’s House & Garden Award and the Sir Brinsley Ford Prize (New English Art Club, 1986).
Fred Cuming has exhibited his contemporary paintings world wide. His paintings feature in many private and public modern art collections. These include: Montecarlo Museum; Royal Academy of Arts; and the Guinness Collection.
Fred Cuming paintings offer a moment for reflection. Cuming creates a relationship with nature and light – inducing observers to appreciate the calming atmosphere and realisation of the beauty around us. Many of his paintings feature the counties of Kent and Sussex where the Fred Cuming artist studio is located.
Talking about his paintings Cuming says: ‘I am not interested in pure representation. My work is about responses to the moods and atmospheres generated by landscape, still life or interior. My philosophy is that the more I work the more I discover. Drawing is essential as a tool of discovery; skill and mastery of technique are also essential, but only as a vocabulary and a means towards an idea. I struggle to keep an open mind.’
Fred Cuming has exhibited at other leading British Art Galleries. In 2001 Cuming was the featured artist at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition with an entire gallery dedicated to his art work.In 2004 he was awarded an honourary doctorate from the University of Kent.Like all Red Rag British art and Contemporary art Fred Cuming purchases can be shipped worldwide.
By Ted Kooser
He was a big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by the house;
a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
says the Bible with a broken back
on the floor below the window, dusty with sun;
but not a man for farming, say the fields
cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.
A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall
papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves
covered with oilcloth, and they had a child,
says the sandbox made from a tractor tire.
Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves
and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole.
And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames.
It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.
Something went wrong, says the empty house
in the weed-choked yard. Stones in the fields
say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars
in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste.
And the child? Its toys are strewn in the yard
like branches after a storm—a rubber cow,
a rusty tractor with a broken plow,
a doll in overalls. Something went wrong, they say.
Today I want to share the art work of TREVOR GEOGHEGAN he uses a ready made subject near at hand the scenic mountainous area around the upper reaches of the Liffey in county Wicklow. He paints it again and again but not exclusively his present exhibition also includes landscapes from the west Connemara, Doolin etc. However, it all ends up pretty much his own style, with plenty of heather, foaming streams, moorland and woodland.
The vision is conventional, knowing how to relate foreground to middle ground in his work. It is “picturesque” nature, but not picture postcard nature, with a real sense of emotional engagement. The angles of composition are varied The Yellow Field, one of the best pictures in the show, is seen from above and the skies are generally alive, not merely filled in.
I like and has seen lots of Trevor’s paintings overtime and love very much the closeness to the landscape that he paints, it feels very much like he walks deep into the woodlands and forest river banks in order to find his subjects and this shows in his work, I also like very much the closeness to nature that he reflects on, these are real places painted and real moments !!!
A little about : Trevor Geoghegan
Born in London 1946, Trevor studied at Worthing College of Art, Sussex before graduating from Chelsea School of Art, London in 1968. In 1971 he settled in Ireland, moving to Blessington, Co. Wicklow. He lectured at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin from 1978 to 2004 and teaches annually at the Burren School of Art, Co. Clare and also holds annual drawing workshops privately and at the National Gallery of Ireland.
Trevor has had numerous successful solo shows since 1978, has exhibited at the RHA and his work can be found in many collections worldwide including Aras an Uachtarain, the Arts Council of Ireland, Bank of Ireland, Dail Eireann and the National Self Portrait Collection. His work is also represented in numerous private collections in Ireland, USA, Germany, Japan, Canada and UK.
Joseph McWilliams PPRUA
I am taking time this week to do a study of some landscape artists/photographers who’s work I very much like very much.
I feel the need to take a look at the work of the artists I know of again, who use the landscape of Ireland both North and South along with the British Isles, in there drawings and painting and Photographs.
I first came across the art work of Joseph McWilliams when I visited an exhibition called “Landscapes north and south”, the the exhibition was held at the Glebe House Gallery, County Donegal.
A little about : Joseph McWilliams PPRUA
Joe McWilliams was born in Belfast in 1938. He studied at the Belfast College of Art and at the Open University. Later he lectured in Art Education at the Ulster Polytechnic in Belfast and was Senior Lecturer and Senior Course Tutor at the University of Ulster. Since 1986 he and his wife, artist Catherine McWilliams have managed the Cave Hill Gallery, Belfast. He has had numerous solo exhibitions and has been represented in major Irish group shows both in Ireland and abroad; Recently his work was seen in an exhibition entitled ‘Dreams and Traditions: 300 Years of British and Irish Painting’ from the Ulster Museum Collection which toured the USA in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institute, Washington. His work is held in numerous collections including: NI Arts Council, Queen’s University, Coras Iompair Éireann, the Department of the Environment (NI), AIB, the National Self Portrait Collection of Ireland.
McWilliams is a regular lecturer and broadcaster on the Visual Arts in Northern Ireland and has been invited to speak on the Arts a number of times in Boston, USA. He has also published articles and reviews on the subject. He has written many scripts for BBC radio and has presented, his own script “The Way that I Went” which was seen on BBC world services as well as locally and in Britain. His own work has been exhibited at a variety of venues in Ireland, Britain, Europe and the USA. He is perhaps best known for his paintings of ‘The Troubles’ evidenced in exhibitions such as ‘Art for Society’ Whitechapel Gallery, London; ‘Documenta 6’ Kassel, W.Germany; ‘A Troubled Journey 1966-1989’ and ‘Colour on the March’ both at the Cavehill Gallery, Belfast.
I liked Joseph’s paintings very much for both their painting style and the fact that he used the world around himself for subjects to paint, even using his own back Garden for much of his work.
Here I link to his web page http://www.josephmcwilliams.com/, for some of the painting I like the most.
First paintings for over a year :
Its over a year since I did any painting, I have been working with my photography so much, but as its the start of a new year , I felt a real need to paint again.
This painting is the start of a project I will work on , based on the upland bogs of Kilkenny and Tipperary.
It based on a series of photographic images from these great places.