Phil Cooper in a universe of his own making

My friend Phil Cooper, who recently stayed with us at Ty Isaf, mentioned while walking around the Dark Movements exhibition, that he felt in a bit of a creative cul-de-sac with his painting. Here are a couple of his images that have caught my eye recently. He doesn’t look in a cul-de-sac to me.

Clearly Phil is a man who has mastery over his brushes, and he has a wonderful capacity for capturing mood. (That top image was born to be an illustration for one of the ghost stories of the great M. R. James.) And so whatever his problem, it seemed to me it would be less to do with his skills, and more with his studio practice. We talked about the fact that I often make models as the starting point of paintings, as I did with the Borderlands series. Model first, then drawing, and finally painting.


I suggested that he try it as a technique. Back home in Berlin, his fingers were busy. The following images are models he made and then imaginatively lit and photographed.




I think these are wonderful as works of art in their own rights. Now we must wait to see where they carry Phil. Watch at his blog, Hedgecrows. Next year Phil and I are going to be collaborating on making the video-trailer for my picture-book of Hansel & Gretel for Random Spectacular. He’s going to be interpreting my images of the Witch’s house, into model form for the filming.