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Reverting to Nature

I’ve decided to sell this remarkable painting and offer some similar. It’s that sort of time in my now quite long career.

Hooe Lake.
Reverting [gently] to nature at Hooe Lake.
Following a fair offer from a gentleman in Florida. It won 1st prize (oils) 1995 Cornish Society of Artists.

I’ve kept it a a fine exhibition piece including showing it by invitation among the 35 at my European Parliament Expo.

The present heat wave is the opposite of the conditions when I painted “Plymouth Trawlers”, a chilly grey February in 1992.

The day I worked on what we sometimes  call “Plymouth Trawlers” was grey, near freezing, typical for February at Plymouth.

My wife [now ex] had taken our car for the worthy cause of getting herself to Plymouth Marine Laboratory where she worked as a science assistant. After all, it was February !

With a burning urge to continue colour experiments, painting from life [plien aire], which I had started guided by the immensely knowledgeable Francis Pratt, at his Painting School of Montmiral in S W France, the previous year.

My solution was to lug my travelling easel and materials [60 lb’s plus …] to Hooe Lake, a quarter mile from my studio and see how much colour I could find during the short daylight hours, using my ‘natural’ colour vision rather than my learned colour vision.

The overcast grey, lowered sky produced a poor light source, ideal for extreme, brave, experiments of this nature.

You may be aware, I have a very unusual sort of colour vision?

In those days that was both a handicap because I did not fully understand how it made me see colours so sometimes produced combinations other folk found bizarre yet pleasing.

This was and remains an advantage I share with some very famous painters.

Francis was an immense help with my understanding and exploitation of what he came to call ” my enhanced colour vision”.

When he realised and tested my colour reactions including using the Ishihara colour blindness tests, his first reaction was “you can’t possibly be an artist with colour vision like that !”

Yet I was already selling quite well…

At the end of a fortnight working intensively on exercises and exploitative studies that Francis set me, he changed his tune to “you are very lucky, you have naturally what most artists strive for years to achieve“.

Thus my dilemmas were, how to understand my reactions, how best to utilise, incorporate, them.

The solution was a lot more work and study.

Today I’m very comfortable with the issue having learnt how for practical purposes to turn it on or off.

More recently, switched on produced the Gaillac chateaux and domaine paintings following flattering comment was made “More than a match for anything in the Musee d’Orsay” by Alain Soreano, author, historian, when he introduced my exhibition at La Maison cultural, Ville de Gaillac [pronounce Guy’ack].

Thus your painting which until now I’ve been reluctant to sell, represents a fine and important example of my development as a painter.

My  photographs taken that day look grey & brown, not interesting.

Plus I knew the old boats abandoned, gently submitting to nature, around the lake were due for demolition excepting only the old Tamar River sailing barge ‘Alfred’, as ordered by the council.

Hooe Lake also known as Dolphin Lake [why Dolphin Lake is a story for another time] has for centuries been used a final place of rest for old vessels.

Many a stem and stern post, a few frames and the occasional keel can be seen to this day at low tide in the soft mud.

Can you imagine me, dressed in thermal clothing under full sea going [red] waterproofs and yellow boots, concentrating intensively, painting passionately, open ended art, not knowing if the result would be?

The following day I rapidly painted as the labourers worked, “The Boat Breakers“.

Hooe Lake, Plymouth.
The Boat Breakers of Plymouth ,

This as I write is the last unsold painting from this series, as I watched work men demolish one of the old boats.

Does anyone know the names of those vessels?

I never knew the names of the victims of the city council’s failure to recognise their historic importance.

From memory I think it was Basil Greehill who wrote a book about the abandoned vessels around Plymouth and the Tamar.

Of the 9 studies I made in that series, “The Boat Breakers” is the last one left here in stock.

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