Four artists currently exhibiting in the Members and Associates Exhibition tell us about their works…
As humans we have evolved from nature and therefore have a deeply ingrained physical and spiritual connection with it. I create paintings as a response to my own experience of landscape. I constantly experiment with a range of techniques to evoke the raw experience of nature. The resultant paintings are as much about my feelings and the atmosphere of a place as they are about how it looks. As a result they are not always ‘realistic’ and can be quite abstract. This is important as it allows viewers to bring their own interpretation and experience to the work.
My two pieces in this show were created in my studio after walks and sketching in nature; in particular, the north Wales coasts and mountains. An intuitive response to my memories of the places I visited was the key factor which guided me in developing the pieces.
This exhibition portrays a superb range of styles from working artists. These artists may not have national celebrity status, but rather come to their craft through years of training, hard work and a sincere passion for art. This is art inspired not by ego, but by a desire to create, and the quality is as good as it gets.
Both my paintings in this year’s Members and Associates show were painted outside, sketching in woods overlooking the Fowey estuary in Cornwall. It was early in the year when the trees were still wintry and the mud flats and curving river were reflecting the late afternoon light. They are part of a recent series exploring coast, waterfalls and rivers in Cornwall. Much of this series is currently on exhibition at the Belgrave Gallery in St.Ives under the title “Watershed”.
Evening Birds and Mudflats
I used watercolour, charcoal and acrylics to capture the luminosity of the scene and the varying effects of tree branches, water and the swooping birds caught in the evening light.
My work is inspired by nature but is also about exploring emotions and spirituality through abstraction.
I think the great variety of work shown at the RBSA with both traditional and contemporary practice on display means there is something for everyone to enjoy and find relevant.
Having spent the last eight years working on still life on a daily basis, ‘Magnolia and Jug’ is a part of that journey. I tend to paint things in season because I love the cyclical side to nature’s harvest. I have also accumulated a vast amount of props and am drawn to items with a visible history (e.g. a bit of rust!). Having lived in many other countries, I have developed a passion for pattern and collect tile, wallpaper and fabric samples.
The work was created in the studio at a fairly slow pace. The elements were sketched out on the canvas with a weak oil paint mixture and the basic tones blocked in. The magnolia, of course, needed attention first, before it died. The wallpaper was tacked to the back of the shadow-box which is a homemade wooden box used to control the light direction on the subject matter.
‘Blue Door, Venice’ was painted en plein-air whilst on a painting trip with two other painters, one of whom is RBSA member Lesley Dabson. Everywhere you turn in Venice there is a prospective painting but we were all drawn to this blue door as the shadows crept up it.
We had to paint fast to capture the advancing shadows and the whole challenge was extremely exciting and the trip was great fun.
The painting was created in one go and took about three hours to complete, with a bit of tweaking at home later. The shadow was an important element so had to go in first. When painting en plein-air, it’s important to have a good visual memory – something that improves with practice. Light is very fast-moving and so visual notes have to be made on the painting at the outset and ‘chasing the sun’ to be avoided.
There are two pieces in the exhibition and they are very different. The first a lock gate is, in a way, quite Japanese whilst also having a very abstract colour and drawing construction. Essentially though at its heart it’s about tumbling water in a canal, an idea I have worked on many times over the years.
Eric Gaskell, Spanish Raisin Field
The other is taken directly from a drawing in indian ink and watercolour made in southern Spain. The intention here was to attempt to recreate the solid/hard quality of ink with a more fluid set of watercolour marks within the restrictions of Linocut.
They are both multi-block reduction linocuts. The lock gates used three blocks – these were used to overprint each other in various places and colours. This Linocut also used masks to avoid cutting too much of the blocks that may have been required later in the process. The Spanish Linocut, as I remember, also used three blocks, one of these was used solely for the line artwork and sky. The other two were reduced along two colour ways, from yellows through to blues and reds through to purples. Having said that both of these blocks also overprinted the others giving oranges and greens.
Our Members and Associates Exhibition is on until December 24… so there’s plenty of time to find that perfect Christmas gift.
With most works of art for sale, this annual showcase of the lifeblood of the RBSA is an ideal opportunity to find that unique Christmas gift.
You’ll find a beautiful selection of landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, portraits, sculptures, abstracts, prints and more! Read on to find out more about the artists behind some of the beautiful works in this year’s exhibition…