Gone Boy

Johann Rohl has returned to his home in Yorkshire, and the studio has reverted to being my solitary realm. For a month we’ve been working here together, conjuring images we were commissioned to make collaboratively. There’s been a lot of hard work going on, but it’s also been loads of fun.

Detail of a collaborative painting of an enclosed garden. Both artists’ hands at work in this image.

He also made progress with some of his own work, including his projects Hercules and Pomona.

I’ve greatly enjoyed Johann’s company, and the space now feels quite empty without him. I’ll take some adjustment getting used to being here by myself again. I could have quite happily continued sharing, but he needs to re-establish himself back in Leeds, having had two month-long placements through the summer, first in Scotland and then in Wales. He’s been living out of a suitcase for rather too long.

Peter, Johann and Jack on a chill Mwnt overlooking Cardigan Bay during a weekend in Aberporth.

River stones (for frottage drawing) and pebbles collected and left on his bedroom windowsill.

Love affair!

Vacated work-table in the studio.


Gone Boy

17 thoughts on “Gone Boy

  1. Johann looks really happy and contented lying on the sofa with Jack. It has been lovely to see the work progress over the weeks, and the similarities and differences in the way you both work, and of course Phil’s wonderful 3D work fits in beautifully. I particularly am drawn to the collage on the hat of the father, like a reflective glass ball, which gives a magical slant to it all. And the garden picture you both did together has a new energy about it. I echo everyone’s sentiments here, except nobody has asked about the stuffed owl. There it sits presiding over everything, and I am curious about it.

    • Thank you for your observations, Janet. It has indeed been a fruitful time here at Ty Isaf, and in Berlin, where Phil is working and producing magnificently evocative 3D models for the Hansel & Gretel book-trailer.

      I’m glad you like the ‘weak’ father with his unlikely hat. I was pleased with that.

      The owl is a taxidermy specimen I acquired some years ago, when I was working on the painting The Congregation of Birds. While we have many owls living around Ty Isaf, they only come out at night, and are far too clever to get close enough for me to see and draw them properly. So a ‘studio’ owl was the solution, acquired from a taxidermist who only works with animals that have died of natural causes, or have been road casualties.

      • I like drawing from stuffed animals, I did some drawing behind the scenes at Manchester Museum for a while, some insects and a squirrel. I remember that painting The Congregation of Birds, I like it very much.

        Incidentally, knowing how you love to draw horses, and seeing the horse maquette in the studio, I was reminded that I wanted to tell you about this year’s House of Illustration Folio Society competition. It is Michael Morpurgo’s novel War Horse. Just thought you might be interested.

  2. What a lovely post. It sounds like you’ve both got such a lot out of this experience, Clive. I love the photographs you’ve posted, especially the pics of the studio. My eyes rove around the room poring over the work in progress, the toy theatre, the garden, the maquettes; it looks like you’ve both been very busy and Johann’s Hercules drawings are so fab. I understand it’s a rather wistful time now, like the end of summer feeling I’m also having at the moment, but I guess your work together is far from over, and I look forward to seeing how your project evolves. The tantalising glimpses so far have really whet my appetite!

    By the way, what is that painting underway on the easel? Being nosey ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. It sounds as though it was a very inspiring time for both of you ๐Ÿ™‚ I love the detail of the garden painting, really lovely.

    It’s great to see more photographs of your studio space too, I always find artists’ studios fascinating ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. It looks like you had a wonderful time and fruitful collaboration! I can will imagine how things might seem a little too quiet and empty now. That’s how I feel when someone comes to visit and then leaves. I end up knocking about for a couple or so days, but gradually get back into the swing of being alone once more! Take care.

    • Bev, I’ve never shared a studio before, but this worked extremely well. It was mutually stimulating in just about every creative way imaginable, and I would have dearly liked it to continue. We inspired each other. He hopes to come back. I wouldn’t turn him away.

      I recall reading at your blog about when occasional incursions into your space had changed the character of life for a while, and how stimulating that had been for you. I get that.

      I do miss him.

  5. How beautiful and how sad !
    Great periods of work and happiness leave unforgettable memories, but such longing when they are over and one has to go back to life as usual !!!
    Only after a while, the pain of the longing goes aways, and one can really enjoy the memories .

    ยก รnimo y un Abrazo !
    Love from Madrid

    • Yes, Maria, I am sad. It’ll pass, but this week it’s very lonely in the studio. I’m accustomed to that of course, but it feels damned bleak right now, in the wake of all that energy, inquisitiveness and discourse having departed.

  6. What wonderful experience for Johann. How I would love to do the same! It sounds as though the experience was mutually gratifying and positive.

    Time moves on too quickly sometimes, unless you happen to be in the dentist’s chair.

    Much love Liz

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