Firstly, many thanks for everyone’s super kind and considerate messages of support about my mum. She was taken into hospital last week where she’ll be looked after for the next few weeks at least. Depending on the progress she makes, she may return home. Alternatively, mum will need to go into a more managed and supervised care facility. The good thing is that, in her current condition, she’s in the best possible place to care for her needs. Thanks again for all of your support – it really is much appreciated at a very trying time!
The day before I made my dash north to be with my mum I was in the Towner Gallery in Eastbourne. My visit was primarily to see ‘Brink’, an exhibition of works selected by Brighton local, Green MP and all-round fabulous person, Caroline Lucas:
The exhibition is a wonderfully eclectic mix and, on a personal note, I was delighted to see so many watercolours on display. That said, the painting that I really connected with and spent the most time admiring was an oil painting:
This is a view of Ditchling Beacon by Charles Knight (1901-1990). The painting is in the gallery’s permanent collection and I have seen it many times before but I never tire of looking at it.
I can’t deny that I have it in mind to do a watercolour based on this painting. I also like the idea of trying to locate the precise spot point that this view can be seen from and to paint there.
While at the gallery I was browsing through some books in the Towner’s reference library and came across a monochrome photograph in a book about the artist John Virtue, who has a strong connection with The Towner. The context of the image in the book was to illustrate the point in Virtue’s development when he began to focus on monochromatic views. I somewhat absent-mindedly took a photo of image thinking that I might paint it one day. The sketch below is based on that photo and was done in-between hospital visits.
While I quite enjoyed the mental relief of painting rather than fretting about my mum – I didn’t feel that the sketch did either me or the subject material justice!
When I returned to Brighton, I did another version of this painting.
I was much much happier with this version which I think is much more evocative with more colour, life and movement to it. I was also especially pleased with the puddle in the foreground that I’d purposefully omitted on the first sketch because I wasn’t quite sure how to paint it!
After the trials and tribulations of last week, it felt good to lose myself in a painting, and all the moreso for it to be one that I’m happy with!
While pulling this post together, I also came across this wonderfully stimulating and insightful conversation between John Virtue and art historian and broadcaster Andrew Graham Dixon filmed at the Towner Gallery back in 2015 to accompany his major exhibition there, The Sea. It’s not what I’d call a riveting watch, but it’s a good listen!