Friday, 14 May 2010

Friday 21st May to Saturday 12th June 2010
Private View : Friday 21st May 7pm to 9pm at
D'Arcy Gallery, 7 Well Walk, Cheltenham GL50 3JX
Christopher has written a few interesting lines about some of his paintings, which I hope you will enjoy reading. He is still busy writing, so log on again to view more stories. At present CJ is in Sri Lanka where it's Monsoon Season, unfotunately the monsoon's causing havoc with internet connections.... but we'll keep trying and posting!

'Beverston Harvest' Oil on canvas, 1190 x 890mm
" This was painted some time ago, and really belongs in my own collection, but I wanted to include it as it has for me something eternally optimistic and joyous about England, ahigh summer feeling.
It looks towards Tetbury spire and was painted in 1995, done duringa series of Glos landscapes that have all moved onto different homes now. My more conservative critics, amongst them a famously fierce landlady and a local shepherd, both were quite non-plussed by them. The shepherd on seeing an unfinished painting of a bluebell wood, asked what it was. A friend of mine told him. He then asked the price. The shepherd looked....took a sharp intake of breath as his eyebrows pushed back to the nape of his neck, then said "I rather have a photograph of one of my @#%* sheep than that %*&*#thing!". " by CJ

'The Road to Balquhidder, Monachyle Mor' Oil on canvas, 1000 x 1000mm
" Painted last Autumn. I have made my way to this view point every time I have come to Scotland in the last 12 years. I discovered the glen quite by chance, there was a hotel at the end of it reminiscent of a hotel in the Eastern Highlands in Zimbabwe...if that doesn't sound too far fetched. A family who farmed nearby took it on, the son taught himself to cook, and is now regarded to be one of the best cooks in Scotland. He has the laugh of a madman, a giant spirit and a perpetually inventive mind.
Painting this view has also made me....have to be inventive. Most attempts have been discarded or painted over, until eventually using quite a restrained palette, I managed to bag itat last. My againg post-office van must have sensed my glee at this, and on the way back to Aberdeenshire, kept me in check by letting the brakes fail just as I crept over the Cairngorns. This time I had something sturdier, at least to carry a good sized canvas or two. Autumn was in full pelt, and there was no way I was going to show any restraint. I love Scotland for that quality, for when it gives, it does so in full measure. " by CJ

'View to the Sea, Kings Barn Landscape' Oil on canvas, 400 x 400mm

" I discovered these vistas whilst looking for a restaurant in the area. I had driven past on several trips before, but this time it was quite different. It was June, the poppies were in full bloom, the wheat was ripening; and I couldn't believe how beautiful it was, and if one found the right spot, these 3 vistas come into play. I made my way down to see if the farmer was there, couldn't raise anything except for a guard dog. Made a few notes, and came back a few days later. I met the farmer who told me " Oh.. I was down the pub watching the rugby, you're welcome to paint".

Standing in those fields over the next couple of days, under a surprisingly warm Scottish sun was a certain kind of heaven. I have never painted poppies before, but I couldn't let this go. Everything about it was perfect and I loved it! I even forgot about the restaurant! " by CJ

'View to the Village,Kings Barn Landscape' Oil on canvas, 400 x 400mm

'View to the Hills, Kings Barn Landscape' Oil on canvas, 400 x 400mm

'It's not too late' Marondera, Zimbabwe, Oil on canvas, 890 x 790mm

" This scene takes place at an African Bus Stop in Marondera, near to where I grew up. African Bus Stops are the equivalent to French Markets in their own turbo charged, chaotic kind of way. Animals are normally put on the roof rack with bicycles, so it is not unusual at the end of a journey to see a group of surprised looking chickens with a well coiffed goat. In this instance the man on the bicycle is taking the pig to the bus. The pig is still alive, trussed up on the back of the bicycle and the bus hasn't left yet, so it's not too late.

This is a disappeared scene now. Mugabe forbids vendors to sell their wares as it constitued an illegal gathering (of tomatoes...probably). The last time I openly painted outside was in 2002, and even then they tried to arrest me for being a spy. To avoid them I hid behind a mannequin in a dress shop, much to the consternation of the owner." by CJ

'Are you deaf?' Cheltenham Series, Mixed Media on paper, 950 x 650mm

" This series of Cheltenham paintings started with this painting. It was late spring, early summer. I had been thinking about doing this series for a couple of years, had done some drawings but visits outside the country had held me up with the project. I was now set up with an easel and a table to rest palette and paints... I had also resolved that in order to make the most of time with good weather, to avoid falling into conversation with passers-by. I heard a voice from behind me say "Hello Picasso, what are you doing?" I pretended not to hear. After he repeated the question twice, I thought he might edge away, but he grew more insistent. Eventually, he put himself between the painting and myself and shouted "ARE YOU DEAF?" I made a weak smile, and could almost see the sculpture cringe when I made a spurious attempt at sign language. At last my new friend was mollified.
"Ah" he said, with relief creeping into his voice...and panic silencing mine "So you sign!" " by CJ

'Children playing' Cheltenham Series, Oil on canvas, 935 x 690mm

'Waiting for George' Cheltenham Series, Oil on canvas, 800 x 600mm

'Sunrise, Villa Ombrellino, Florence', Oil on canvas, 985 x 790mm

" One of the best benefits of painting in Florence last summer was that I had access to a villa that had recently been sold to Barack Obama's campaign manager, before he moved in. As I understood it, it gave me access to the pool, where I could cool off, and more particularly to Villa Ombrellino, where King Edward entertained his mistress with the most magnificent view of Florence before him, and his mistress beneath him. So I started two paintings at extremes of the day. No one had been allowed in the grounds of Villa Ombrellino for 6 to 7 years, and no one else had access to it.

Whilst painting there one day, I phoned my friend in France who had given me the keys, and thanked him profusely for the enjoyment I was having. "You're doing what?" he said. I explained. "Me old son" he said, "you're going to be lynched. You're not supposed to be there!"
I thought it was very comfortable. " by CJ

'Santo Spirito, facade and piazza, Florence', Oil on canvas, 785 x 985mm

" The architect who designed the Duomo cupola also designed the church of Santo Spirito. It is magnificent, and feels both ancient and modern at the same time. Partly because of it's daunting effect, I have never managed to paint it in 7 years of working in Florence... until last year. After drawing it many times over, I set up my easel only to be approached by a German offering me a beer. Tempting, but it was only 8.30 in the morning. The square fills up with mothers watching their children chase the pidgeons, grandparents taking a stroll and chatting to friends. Vegetable vendors set up their stalls, tourists strut in looking surprised and normally lost, the smell of coffee is floating right past me. But I must work... I can't let the German see me bolting for a cup of coffee over a beer.
Looking back at the facade of the church, it has all the grand majesty and surprise of the naked human form. That should keep me going. " by CJ

'The Duomo from the Boboli Gardens, Florence', Oil on canvas, 990 x 785mm

" It doesn't matter how often I see this view it takes my breath away. After doing drawings for a few days I went back to start the painting. Some young lovers had positioned themselves on the lawn near the easel. I wanted to warn them that paint does fly in all directions, but they soo rarely came up for air it was impossible. The couple eventually moved off, unwittingly sporting a dog fight of paint spots on their clothes.
After a days work I developed a ritual of visiting the same Geletaria on the corner of San Vio, and then would sit on the bridge and watch the sun disappear into the Arno. One day at the Geletaria, the girl handing me the ice-cream said "I remember you!"
"Really" I keenly said, "Where from?"
"From the Boboli" she said, pointing at a line of discernable red dots covering her t-shirt. " By CJ

Christopher is still busy writing, we will add more tales very soon.

To view more paintings or for more details about the above paintings by Christopher please contact the gallery.

No comments:

Post a Comment