Saturday, 30 October 2010

Visiting Miles Heseltine's Studio

In the middle of Penzance, tucked in among the old pubs, houses and shops, is the building that once was the  telephone exchange.  We go in through the front doors, up echoing stairways, through empty hall ways and down a maze of corridors until we reach an unassuming door.  Miles finds the keys and opens up a studio that is truly a reflection of the passion and conviction that goes into his paintings. 
It is a tall light filled room with paintings in various stages up on the walls.  Drawings abound, all over the room, high up near the ceilings,  the gestural and passionate mark making is everywhere.  Dark charcoal lines, dashes and dots, black shapes describe a landscape, roof tops or a church spire, all of them half seen, as if the artist is aware of them but is looking beyond, or looking further.
There is a pallet on the floor with the blood of many paintings, reminiscent of a crime scene, evidence of a strongly emotional style of making work. 
There is also a camping stove and a kettle, matches spent and littering the floor.  Shelves of books about other artists are near a paint splattered sink.  In the other corner several battered boxes hold very old taxidermy subjects, a moth eaten otter and a strange water bird. 
There is nothing neat or pretty about this studio, it is about the work and about the strong ambition that Miles has for himself as an artist, a personal inner drive. He wants to destroy the wall between drawing and painting, they are to be the same.
He doesn't have a fixed routine, arriving to paint sometimes before dawn, working nonstop for several hours before allowing himself space from the work.  He has a process that he calls pruning where older canvasses are culled, scraped off and reused or destroyed. 
When working  in the landscape he uses large sheets of paper with charcoal, making the occasional little film, which he will later use as part of the process for a painting.  He can't work from photographs as he says they take over too much. 
Paintings start life on the floor, he walks around them, "Pollack style" and later they go up onto the walls for further work.  His response to the landscape is personal and meditational, something may have caught his eye, through a clouded window, against a hazy sun, shapes in a velvet night, branches in the snow, all are re written in the hieroglyphics of a secret language.
It is a deeply personal space, somewhere that it was a privilege to be allowed to see because Miles Heseltine is a private kind of man, quiet, almost shy, but one who obviously strips his soul bare to transcribe his response to the landscape around him in deep paint and raw canvas, torn through with the powerful, and all important, marks of drawing.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Maritime Museum

Thomson "Celebration" in No.2 Docks
660mm x 1020mm, oil on canvas

"Thompson "Celebration" in No 2 Docks" by John Raynes
will be included in the exhibition. 150 Years of Falmouth Docks at the Maritime Museum, Falmouth from 2 Dec – 30 March
The Maritime Museum  will be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of Falmouth Docks with this special exhibition.  Falmouth has been used as a harbour for over 2,000 years and the docks have been an industrial hub since their creation in the mid-19th Century.  Through models, film, objects, paintings and stunning photography the exhibition explores this fascinating history, with a special focus on the Dock’s heyday in the 1950s.

Falmouth Docks courtesy of the David Barnicoat collection
 For our exhibition last year, "Industrial Cornwall" Raynes has made several stunning works about Falmouth docks.  The tangle of metal, buildings and boats providing a wonderful foil for his skills as artist and draftsman.

Dry Dock, Falmouth
350mm x 470mm, pencil on paper

Under Crane
350mm x 300mm, oil on canvas

Friday, 22 October 2010

A Picture of Cornwall

Five Beside The Wave artists have been showcased in a new book, and our next show has been designed to coincide with its publication. "A Picture of Cornwall: Contemporary Artists and the Inspirational Landscape" by Ray Balkwill features the work of Beside The Wave Artists Paul Lewin, Amanda Hoskin, Neil Pinkett, John Raynes and Richard Tuff. In recognition of this, we are holding an exhibition of  their work.
The show opens tomorrow (Saturday 23rd) and here is a taste of what is to come...

Paul Lewin's stunning paintings of Cornwall with their powerful sense of place...
Amanda Hoskin's masterful impressionist work brings a feminine softness to the misty Cornish coastline...
Neil Pinkett throws us in at the deep end with his masterful use of paint and light...
John Raynes gives us a visual treat with every painting of Cornwall that he produces, each line considered and every colour chosen carefully with a result that looks almost effortless...
and last, but not least, Richard Tuff presents chalky pastel cottages wedged between Cornwall's tropical vegetation with skies as blue as a Mediterranean summers day.
All of them images of Cornwall to be celebrated and enjoyed. We look forward to welcoming you to the show over the next two weeks.

Monday, 18 October 2010

Oyster Festivities

Falmouth has been on a major high for the past few days. Not only have we been enjoying a high pressure the like of which only Mediterranean climes would expect at this time of year (azure skies, sparkling water amidst deep autumnal shadows), but we have also had the annual Falmouth Oyster Festival playing out around us. Thousands of visitors have been enjoying the grace and flavour of oysters, chilled white wine and chilled out sounds - and its been a great to welcome so many festival goers into the Gallery on their way to and from the festivities. And it goes without saying that joining in after hours was great fun also!

Monday, 11 October 2010

Private View Andrew Giddens

We had a brilliant evening at the private view of "Cornish Coast" by Andrew Giddens. As well as collectors, artists and friends, we were joined by Andrew's family, and were delighted to be introduced to his grandfather who is justifiably proud of his grandson and to whom we raised a glass! The work looked wonderful and over a dozen works have already sold.

After the Private View we went to the Made For Life Charity Ball where two prints donated by Beside The Wave to the Charity Auction attracted intensely competitive bids and rasied over £300 for the Charity. These were "Falmouth Sails" by Andrew Tozer and "Summer Flowers" by Amanda Hoskin. 
Made For Life supports people with cancer by providing opportunities for health, healing and laughter and, in short, a holistic approach to life and wellbeing. Amanda Barlow, founder of Made for Life was 'made up' (excuse the pun) as the night raised £8,000 for the charity, and we were delighted to raise a glass to her too!

Falmouth Sails, Andrew Tozer
Summer Flowers, Amanda Hoskin

To see all the paintings in the show, as well as other prints and paintings, please visit Beside The Wave web site  don't forget that you can see a bigger image of each painting by clicking on it.  Better still, visit the gallery and see them in person.  This exhibition continues until October 21st.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Visiting Andrew Giddens Studio

Arriving at Andrew Giddens studio is like walking through one of his paintings.  Across the beach with the headland bleached out by surf spray.  Up the winding cliff path, salt in the air and the sound of crashing waves. Through a gap in the hedge and into a modest shed perched high on the cliffs.
There is nothing fanciful about this studio, this is an honest and straightforward working space.  It is very peaceful and calm.  The windows are open allowing the sound of the surf far below to mingle with the sound of wild birds attracted by the abundant blackberries that graze the walls of the building.
There is a large easel  with a painting of Porthleven in progress.  Paint, in the soft greys and subtle yellows of his paintings,  covers everything,  
the old office chair could have been upholstered by Jackson Pollock.
There is a table laden with tubes of oil paint in various stages of use, some are split open to use the last scrapings, a pallet, which appears to be an old bread board has transformed into a grey, three dimensional landscape.  He uses Old Holland oil paint because the high pigment content makes them useful for glazing, Daler Rowney because of the buttery texture.  There are very few brushes as he says he forgets to clean them and so he prefers to paint with a knife and his fingers.

Sketchbooks lie open on the floor beside a comfortable arm chair with glimpses of vigorous drawings and new blank canvasses are stacked by the walls ready to be transformed into Andrews atmospheric paintings.
Andrew has worked here for four years, his working day starts at 8.30 and he paints until about 1pm.  Although he sometimes breaks this habit to give his three boys their maths or science lessons.  In the afternoon he has time with the boys, walking on the beach and exploring the stretch of coastline that is home to them. 
This family time seems to be one of the fundamental elements of Andrew as an artist as he explains more about his painting methods. 
The relationship that he has with a place is intimately bound together with memories and experiences.  Time spent with the important people in his life is wound, with paint, into the beauty of the scenes that he depicts.  He finds it almost impossible to paint somewhere until his children have run across the sand, or he has walked along the cliff paths and they have spent many happy hours exploring together.  He can paint places that he knew well in his childhood and places that he is discovering with his own children now.   
I suspect that if you wanted Andrew to paint your favourite beach you would have to take him on holiday with you for quite a few years!

There is nothing fanciful about Andrew as an artist, like his studio, he is honest and straightforward.  He paints what he sees and it seems as if he sees with his heart wide open.