|Staycation on Display October Belper Library and Preview at Derwent Business Fair Strutt House 19th September 4-8pm|
When we look around our home towns do we see what outsiders see? Do we marvel at the stonework on a building or the hills that surround us? Or are we to busy getting the shopping and attending to the daily grind?
Tourists look up above the level of shop windows; they look down streets and visit local attractions.
I have turned this idea into a series of paintings called Staycation, nine paintings in and around Belper showing my impression of my town; I decided that I would look at Belper with the eyes of a tourist even while I was on the school run or parking the car in a back street.
The title is part because I couldn’t afford a vacation this year and part because it is a holiday from my usual practise of abstraction.
As any tourist would I took many photographs and spent time getting to know the area Belper is a wonderful place full of history and beautiful scenery. I particularly like the meadows area and there are two paintings looking across towards the Chevin. I hope that the plans for development enhance this view not hinder.
Any visitor to Belper can’t miss the East Mill and as a former textile worker myself, I painted the Mill but with a mindfulness of its past use and a feeling of sadness that much of it is neglected.
Long Row is an amazing street still cobbled and each house maintains its historical aspect no PVC windows but alas in our modern world we cannot do without a car and most mornings as my son waits for school there are altercations about parking rights, so I kept all the cars in my painting!
My favourite painting is December at Belper Train Station if I was a tourist I would look to the station for the possibilities of onward travel, it’s not at all picturesque so that was my challenge to myself how to make a concrete station with a supermarket for a back drop pretty! I did it by adapting the winter scene and creating a misty impression. It has been my most successful painting ever in that it has won a place in the Society of All Artists members competition for September and been featured in Artist and Illustrator magazine and had the most hits of all my paintings on my websites.
The journey these paintings have taken me on both in my practise and personal life has been very rewarding and I am about to share them with Belper residents by showing them all in an exhibition at the local Library for the whole of October. I could have placed them in a gallery but what would be the point of that? Most people don’t go out of their way to visit an art gallery unless they are collectors or artists themselves and I want the people of the town I painted to see these pictures in the location that they were painted. It will add meaning to the works and be a fun way to connect them to the town. All the works are for sale with prints available on demand and postcards and greetings cards too.
I will be previewing some of the series at The Derwent Business Fair Strutt House 19th Sept 4-8pm.