from the archive…

… and to mirror the present weather conditions here at Ty Isaf, here from the outset of my painting career, a snowy landscape newly resurrected in a digital image. It was made in acrylic inks and oil pastel and dates from 1996.

Below, a tiny, turbulent rendering of Tretower made a year later, acrylic inks used to conjure an Easter storm over the castle.

We’ve traced this little work and the library will contact the owner in the hope that permission may be granted for it to be in next year’s exhibition. I’d love to see it again.

Before I started painting Tretower, my landscapes held no buildings as I didn’t really know how to do them with any conviction. Most of my work up to then had been along the lines of the snowy landscape, rather bare of mans’ hand save for field boundaries and the odd fence. It was Peter who suggested that I try to use buildings as punctuation marks in the paintings, and the tower served me well because it was there and it was relatively simple to do. No perspective or complicated architectural detail to worry about. Hence the obsessive re-working of Tretower in painting after painting. What I didn’t show until much later, is that there’s a ruined curtain-wall around the tower that was quite beyond my capacity to represent at the time that I made Easter Road, though later I painted the building in a way that looks much more like what you’d find if you visited it today.

6 thoughts on “from the archive…

  1. wonderful! you always had such a distinctive style, even “in the beginning,” when you say certain things were beyond your capacity. these are real treasures, the show is going to be amazing!

  2. Snowy landscape full of nature, climate and feeling. It looks to me, and also this is subjective, like the calm after the storm, and a promise of light in the sky. I find this a very positive landscape piece and agree with Anita that overly worked presentations (control, control) seem to get in the way of nature moving and breathing which of course it does all the time. More please?!

  3. I have always been partial to landscapes without buildings, until I was introduced to your later work, Clive. Then, I was drawn to the skewed perspectives and the disequalibrium you give to them. Here again is an example of the fact that one who has learned and practiced the rules (as you had with the Tretower ink paintings) eventually know best how to break them. My interest in building-less paintings, I think, must have its origins with the painters of the Hudson River School: Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Church. Some of the work of the HRS painters leave me cold because of their overly-romantic presentations, but many are masterful. Of course, they took their original inspiration from the likes of Constable and Turner. Turner’s work was what first inspired me to have a go at painting!

    • Anita, I’ve always worked hard to learn the rules of painting, though once learned (and wherever possible, mastered) I invariably find the desire to smash them absolutely irresistible. I was frequently called a neo-romantic when I started exhibiting, a description that had some truth in it though I was always uneasy about the idea. I felt that was something I had to get beyond.

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