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Let It Snow - Buy Art | Buy Now

'Bear and Rusty Pine' acrylic painting by Darren Rees

This week’s nationwide cold snap may have halted planes and trains, caused power outages, and closed schools, but it hasn’t deterred these intrepid artists. Recent flurries have inspired a corresponding flurry of artistic responses, and here’s a selection of our favourites, produced by Darren Rees SWLA, Roy Wright PS, Julian Halsby RBA, Lucie Geffré and Michael Harrison.

Browse the whole of the Let It Snow Collection now



The collection of acrylic paintings by acclaimed wildlife artist, Darren Rees SWLA, takes us around the globe; to Scotland’s mountains, Wyoming’s famous Yellowstone National Park, and the Norwegian archipelago. In Bear and Rusty Pine, warm shades invite the viewer to engage with Rees’ intimate depiction of a lone brown bear. In Blue Ice, Bears and Driftwood, acrylics are contrastingly employed to add surreal vibrancy to the composition. The vast glacier rings with a pearlescent blue which is mirrored in the pebbles on the shore beneath, and the intimacy of the previous work is answered with the aloof movement of the polar bears out of sight.

Darren Rees SWLA, Bear and Rusty Pine

These new works by Roy Wright render a snow-carpeted Richmond Park, with all the bare majesty of its ancient woodland in winter-time. Charcoal is the ideal medium for capturing the austerity of these scenes, and for accenting the dynamism of the trees’ gnarled trunks and spindly, snow-dusted branches.

Roy Wright PS, Winter Silver Birches

Art historian, Julian Halsby, uses oils to respond creatively to the reflective qualities of snow. The blanketed patchwork of fields in Snow near Cerne Abbas pick up icy blue tints from the brilliant winter sky above. In contrast, First Snow, Sherborne imbibes warmth through the artist’s use of amber hues, vibrant greens, and pale pink accents in the snow. Ice-encased vegetation waves white against the river Yeo, and the scene conjures images of winter walks, replete with woolly-socked walking boots and cold pink noses protruding from hats and scarves.

Julian Halsby RBA, Snow near Cerne Abbas

Lucie Geffré’s Barn Owl combines painting and drawing to create a wintry dreamscape. In AD 731, St Bede compared the life of man to ‘the swift flight of a bird through the banqueting hall in winter’; the fire may blaze within but winter storms rage without. This metaphor of winter as the unknown manifests in Geffré’s work in the swirl of muted colours which makes up the background, to a formlessness which nonetheless gestures to landscape and form.

Lucie Geffré, Barn Owl

Michael Harrison employs muted shades of brown, yellow and cream to evoke a sense of the landscape in hibernation in Frozen Lake, where expressive strokes evoke a merging of sky, land and water. Village in Snow is accented with a spectrum of pastel colours, depicting, as in Julian Halsby’s works, the reflectivity of snow. A church spire stands out black in the background, and the artist employs swathes of russet, and patches of bright yellow to draw the viewer’s eye across the scene.

Michael Harrison, Vilage in snow


Browse the whole of the Let It Snow Collection now

Image credit

Julian Halsby RBA, Snow near Cerne Abbas

Sarah Spencer’s Winter Skies

After “defrosting” from a chilly afternoon spent sketching for a new commission in her local environs of Whitstable, Sarah Spencer NEAC tells Mall Galleries’ Beatrice Bowles-Bray about landscape painting for commission and pleasure, and why winter is her favourite season for painting

 

Browse all work by Sarah Spencer available on Buy Art | Buy Now


“I will often make a commission my own by focusing on the sky”, Sarah begins. “I have always been drawn to painting skies, and that’s why winter is the best time of year for me. Some painters love a summer sky, but I prefer the drama of wintry weather.” Sarah is particularly fond of the cool palette of a North Norfolk winter. “I spent lots of time there when I was younger, and you just don’t get bigger skies” she says. “Those early impressions have stayed with me.”

In rendering these landscapes, beloved since childhood, Sarah Spencer is unusual in her focus on tone over colour: “My artistic career began with drawing rather than painting, and I think this legacy endures in my tendency towards monochromism. I am definitely not a colourist; my paintings are tonal, and that feels fitting for the scenes I love to paint.”

Sarah Spencer NEAC, Distant Boys and Boats, Southwold

Although Sarah’s paintings are completed in the studio, the artist begins en plein air. “I will spend several days out in a landscape, doing a lot of drawing”, she says. “Charcoal works perfectly for this, because it moves so quickly on the paper - unless of course it’s raining, when it doesn’t work at all! The priority for me in these first sketches is getting the tonal relationships right, because that’s where the drama lies. I also do small oil sketches outside, and although these rarely end up in the finished work, something about the challenge of painting out of doors forces me to paint in a different way, which I really value.”

“To see me out there in the elements, it may look like I’m losing the battle, but these plein air sketches produce something unattainable in the comfort of a studio. The brush stroke you make when you are trying to make sense of what’s in front of you, amid wind and rain, is quite unique. Inside the studio it’s much easier to overwork things.”

Spencer gathers these preparatory sketches like fragments which, as with her favourite locations, she revisits and re-appropriates for different works at different stages of her career. “Each painting will typically involve five preparatory studies, and a sketch from years ago could easily come together with a sky I painted today to form a new work. In addition to this I do lots of glazes.” With characteristic modesty, Sarah likens this technique of accumulative splicing to a jigsaw, while devotees of her landscapes see them as palimpsests of experience and impression, consolidating different temporalities, perspectives, and even periods in the artist’s life.

Because her works unify a history of impressions rather than presenting a single moment, Sarah faces a challenge when it comes to commissioned work: “I like to return to the same locations to paint, but with commissions, I will often be painting someone else’s special place. This is not always easy, but I love it when a commission gives me the opportunity to discover something special in a location I might not otherwise have visited.”

The seascapes of Southwold which are currently available on Mall Galleries’ Buy Art | Buy Now platform are indicative of this happy discovering. “These were paintings I did for my own pleasure whilst working on a commission to paint Southwold pier. Painting in such a public location is unusual for me, so I went off piste to do these paintings, and to find that hook, that certain aspect of the place that I identified with personally, which would then give the finished commission its character.”

Sarah Spencer NEAC, Southwold Beach Sketch

If Spencer was commissioned to create a winter landscape with a subject entirely of her choosing, the artist asserts that she would paint Norfolk, “perhaps Holkham or Scolt Head Island”, she says. “The skies from there are fantastic. I would have loved to move there, but Whitstable faces the same way, the sun still sets over the sea, and it’s that much nearer to London for visiting galleries.”

Discussing the advantages and disadvantages of living in a remote area like Whitstable, Sarah Spencer, long-time member of the New English Art Club, praises the benefits of being part of a close community of artists. Laughing, the artist says that, “it’s lovely to be in a room full of people talking about things like how to stop an easel falling over in the wind. You don’t have those conversations outside of groups like the NEAC. Not living in London, it’s harder to connect with people who share your interests, so the Club has been brilliant.”

From the stimulating influence of her fellow artists to the daily inspiration of her local seas and skies, Sarah Spencer surrounds herself with the things she loves. This depth of feeling and enduring attachment to place becomes what is most captivating in her art.

Browse all work by Sarah Spencer available on Buy Art | Buy Now 



By Beatrice Bowles-Bray

Image credit

Boys and Boats Suffolk by Sarah Spencer NEAC

Curator's Choice: Beatrice Bowles-Bray

'Stoat with Rabbit in Bluebells' oil painting by David Bennett

Beatrice Bowles-Bray is the latest addition to the Mall Galleries team, who will be working on all things digital. Here Beatrice walks us through five paintings from Buy Art | Buy Now that she would have on her wall.



Bernadett Timko

Paula - £600

Bernadett Timko is undoubtedly an artist to watch, so it’s a good idea to invest in her work now. Timko’s striking use of colour, darkness, and luminescent inflections are redolent of Egon Schiele and create an incredible sense of mood, narrative and character in her portraits. Paula is a fine example of the artist’s work, where reds, greens and oranges are confidently juxtaposed, and the eye is drawn to the light dancing on a solitary hooped earring.


David Bennett SWLA

Stoat and Rabbit in Bluebells - £690

Looking at this work, I can’t help but share in the stoat’s sense of pride as it strides homeward victorious through vibrant bluebell meadows, rabbit inmouth. Head held high, gait confident and loping: the centre of a glorious whorl of colour. This painting is one of a series of new wildlife works by David Bennett which explore the stunning phosphorescence of colours in nature.


Haidee-Jo Summers ROI ARSMA

Autumn Colour - £585

By painting en plein air, Haidee-Jo Summers captures something essential about the character of Autumn. Although this beautiful new work was painted in Lincolnshire, to my eye it evokes the graceful, lilting descent of yellowing leaves as they spiral to the ground here on the Mall. The artist’s light touch and empathic treatment render this rural scene with all the colour and glancing light of the season.


Tony Allain PS

Sparks Lake, Oregon - £2,900

Tony Allain’s depiction of Sparks Lake uses expressive pastel strokes to show light playing upon treetops and the surface of the water, and the rapid movement of the artist’s eye as it flits from impression to impression. The result is vivid and vital, with rich hues and great depth created by contrasting brightness and darkness. This larger work is the ideal statement piece for a communal space.


Moira Huntly PPPS RI RSMA

With Homage to the TM 620 Marine Diesel Engine - £1,500

Where arts and sciences intersect, the results can be compelling, and this engaging mixed media piece by Moira Huntly is a prime example. Honouring her Scottish roots by employing colour in the tradition of the Scottish Colourists, this work based on technical drawings attains a degree of abstraction through its palette of teals and ochres. Blending pleasing simplicity with technical accuracy, this is a piece which offers the onlooker more with each viewing.


Browse Beatrice's choices now

 


Image credit

David Bennett Stoat with Rabbit in Bluebells

Christmas Curator's Choice: John Deston

Chocolates by Robbie Wraith RP

Mall Galleries Gallery Manager, John Deston walks us through five paintings from Buy Art | Buy Now that he would have on his wall.

 

 

Browse John's Christmas choices now

 

Ridgeway by Jeanette Hayes PPS

We are delighted that Jeanette Hayes is our new President of the Pastel Society. Her work perfectly blends the boundary between figurative art and abstraction, none more so than Ridgeway. For me, this piece is almost panoramic. It calls to mind a country walk in autumn, full of earthy colours and leafless trees swaying in the fresh wind. Jeanette can imply these details with a rough line, using the powdery nature of pastels to capture the quintessential landscape.

Chocolates by Robbie Wraith RP

I have included this Robbie Wraith painting in my selection because we are entering the festive season. The contrast of the plain bowl and background with the brightly wrapped sweets fills me with excitement for all the treats and sweetmeats of the Christmas period. Robbie’s technique never ceases to impress me. He has an alchemical ability to add glimmers of light with a simple dashes pure white paint on the surface of the artwork.

A Couple of Rows of Leeks by June Berry NEAC

June Berry’s piece, … , is a delight to behold because of her use of colour. What I find so appealing about this rural autumnal scene, is the way the painting starts as a deep earthen purple at soil level, then lightens as your eyes read the work skyward. I enjoy the activity of the farmer planting his crops, balanced with the static scarecrow to the left of the work. The pink and orange trails leading up the hill hint at thousands of happy hikes in this familiar shrubby setting.

The Strand, Autumn by Benjamin Hope

I am drawn to this Ben Hope painting primarily because it is of the Strand - an area of London that I have walked down almost every day for years, throughout my time at Mall Galleries. It therefore holds a special place in my heart. Ben is well-known for painting en plein air. I admire his remarkable ability to capture his surroundings as they are, whatever the weather. I also find this work striking because slap bang in the centre of the canvas is a red traffic light, which distracts you from the hustle and bustle of the busy street. It is an unusual place to focus a painting, and really makes you stop and think.

Lion at Masai Mara by Simon Turvey SWLA

Simon Turvey is one of our most recognised stalwart members of the Society of Wildlife Artists. He is a master of realism, and his images of animals are almost portraits. His work treats wild beasts with such tenderness that they don human qualities and are really rather mesmerising. This lion is a perfect example of Simon’s skill at capturing the nature of an animal in paint. It is calm, noble and meticulously observed.  

Image credit

Chocolates by Robbie Wraith RP

Artist Spotlight : Alexander Goudie

Alexander Goudie (1933-2004) holds a place in Art History as ‘one of Scotland’s finest figurative painters.’ A member of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and Royal Glasgow Institute of the Fine Arts, Goudie’s diverse oeuvre shows that throughout his artistic career he mastered many subjects and media in his signature loose and colourful style.

 

View Alexander Goudie's work on Buy Art | Buy Now here


 

In April 2016 Mall Galleries held a retrospective exhibition of Goudie’s work, including numerous portraits, still life pieces, landscapes and narrative works in paint, sketch and sculpture. Arguably the most intriguing images in the exhibition, which hinted at Goudie’s lifelong preoccupation with witches, were illustrations of ‘Tam o’Shanter’. A true Scot, Goudie was enchanted by Robert Burns’ 1790 poem, and produced this narrative cycle of paintings in 2000 to bring the macabre tale to life. It was surprising and fascinating to see these darker and more personal works from his late career hanging alongside more light-hearted earlier pictures. Through this body of work, both the man and his art were remembered with great affection and fondness, each piece gaining a new element of poignancy.

We are lucky to have five of Goudie’s original mixed media paintings available on our online platform, Buy Art | Buy Now. Dating from between 1980-1995, each individual work is infused with Goudie’s joy and enthusiasm for paint, and together the pieces crystallise his later career to its most inspired moments.

Three of the works are charming still life flower scenes, Wild Flowers in Vase 1985, Poppies 1995, and (perhaps a nod towards the influence of Vincent Van Gogh), Sunflowers 1980. Each is distinct from the next, interpreting the subject with such brightness that the finished image is stunning in its simplicity and vitality. Villa Kerjane, Sunset, painted in 1985, is comparatively a more muted and tonal piece, portraying a Brittany landscape. Goudie married a native of Brittany, and the peace he felt in this rural and dusky environment is communicated through the purples and blues of sky and water, dashed with orange highlights, creating a quiet and moving scene.

Finally, Peacock is a more enigmatic image. Goudie was famously inspired by Oscar Wilde’s tragic one-act masterpiece ‘Salome’ and Richard Strauss’ operatic adaptation of the story. In 1990, the Scottish Opera commissioned Goudie to design lavish sets and costumes for the production, yet the project never came to fruition due to a lack of funding. However, Goudie’s preparatory designs remained, filled with whimsy and magic. Peacock is in fact his curtain design for the opera. Although certainly drawing from Aubrey Beardsley’s seminal 1894 illustration for Oscar Wilde’s ‘Salome’, in which the eponymous villain-heroine blinds a character with her beauty while wearing a decadent peacock skirt, Goudie reworked the motif with the arcing gestures and vibrant colours so fundamental to his work. Imagine how sumptuous this design would have looked as a heavy velvet curtain if the production had gone ahead...



By Anna Preston

View Alexander Goudie's work on Buy Art | Buy Now here

Image credit

Peacock by Alexander Goudie

The Reception Selection: Sharing the Street with Peter Brown

To roam the city, waiting for inspiration to strike, has been a tactic of artists for centuries. From Vermeer to Lowry, the stimulation of the street has led to the creation of astounding works of art.


Long-time favourite of Mall Galleries, Pete ‘the Street’ Brown, is no exception. This all-weather painter of street scenes and city landscapes is rarely to be found in his studio; he prefers the bustling pavements of Britain’s cities, particularly those of his hometown, Bath. 

Brown’s post-impressionist works capture the mood of both observer and observed, with compositions like The Old Bailey, which treat quotidian scenes and reveal a keen eye for architecture.  This architectural awareness led Brown to appear in various programmes for the BBC, including ‘A Sense of Place’, ‘A Picture of Bath’, and ‘Inside Out’.

Although Brown’s paintings evoke a confident quietude, their production is often anything but. The artist is famous for setting up his easel in extreme weather conditions, and the substitution of studio for street has led to his being the victim of crime on more than one occasion.

Viewed in this context, each work not only represents a unique moment, but has actively participated in it; snow has dappled canvases; the breeze that caused painted flags to flutter stirred the paint brushes in their pot. This unusual degree of interaction between artist, art, and environment lends a further uniqueness to Brown’s paintings.

A selection of the artist’s work is currently on exhibition in Mall Galleries’ reception space, with Russell Square, From Above Smallcome, Dublin Keg Deliveries, and The Double Bass all on display for public view. These are works in oil, but Brown also uses pastels and charcoal.

It is a captivating selection, supplying a small snapshot of Peter Brown’s comprehensive skills in presenting and sharing the enduring stimulation of the street.



View the whole Selection of Pete Brown's work here

Image credit

Peter Brown, Russell Square Tube Station

Curator's Choice : Sally Hales, Artists & Illustrators

Bathroom Nude by Daniel Shadbolt NEAC

Sally Hales, Editor of Artists & Illustrators, tells us about the five works she chose for her Curator's Choice on Buy Art | Buy Now


 

 

Two Pumpkins by Eve Pettitt

I love the use of colour here. The blue-orange complement is one of my favourites. The green tones and flashes of red add real dynamism, too, while the exploration of space, tension and the relationship between the two sitters is compulsive. I can’t stop looking at it.


Tulip Garden by Anne Marie Butlin

We’re big fans of Anne Marie here at A&I, her work is full of ideas while always retaining real beauty and elegance. A regular contributor to the magazine, she’s wonderful at communicating with words as well as paint. Tulip Garden’s rich and dynamic balance of colours and texture pulls you into the depth of the painting. There is so much energy: it makes you want to get out among the flowers.


Hillside Trees by Claire Edge

As someone who grew up near the Brecon Beacons, I’m aware that beautiful landscapes can have a dangerous underbelly. One minute you’re enjoy the rolling green hills, the next you’re being engulfed by looming grey. This monoprint conveys that sense of sudden danger with its depth of tone, urgent strokes and use of negative space.


Golden Oriole, Beatrice Forshall

There’s a clean and graphic feel to this delicate print that reminds me of traditional Japanese woodblocks. But Beatrice has found a contemporary edge with charming use of colour and narrative.


Bathroom Nude, Daniel Shadbolt NEAC

The nude is such a staple that I am always marvelling at how artists manage to constantly reinvent and reimagine the genre. The loose brushwork describes the figure with a minimal amount of marks, while colour and tone structure the scene. Daniel creates a relaxed, domestic atmosphere: it feels like we’re glimpsing a private moment. Arresting.


Sally Hales is the editor of Artists & Illustrators, the number one magazine for artists and art lovers providing expert advice and inspiration in every issue.

Follow Artists & Illustrators on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Image credit

Claire Edge Above the Trees

Curator's Choice: Peter Clossick NEAC

Nashunmenghe

Peter Clossick NEAC, painter, member of the New English Art Club and shortlisted artist for the Threadneedle Prize 2016, shares his pick of Buy Art | Buy Now with us.

 

Above the Trees by Claire Edge

There is overall directness with Claire’s callographs in their painterly qualities and modest size, incorporating both chance and accident. Created from memory they contain movement and an indication of monumental drama.

Portrait of Paul the Swimmer by Jessica Miller

We have an expressive honesty in Jessica Miller’s sculpture which affirms and implies the existence of a body. A modest realism and sensibility rooted in drawing; with fluidity, energy and feeling of mark. Her figure sculpture brings to mind some portrait works by Jacob Epstein where the human subject is central.

The Loom at Knockando Woolmill by Kate Steenhauer

Kate Steenhauer’s etching works with unusual viewpoints, in this case brought together with a spiral, zooming out onto the picture plane, depicting a workplace from the industrial past in the Spey valley. The drawing appears as if in collaboration with the workers at the loom, the clickety-clack of machinery and the busy noisy activity of a factory.

Before the rain by Nashunmenghe

Watercolour can be a difficult medium, as the concept has to go in a straight route like direct carving. Before the rain is modelled with a beautifully controlled tonal quality and pleasing composition. It has an almost Zen like application in its feeling of wetness.

Swimmer by Sopio Chkhikvadze

The connection with an existential feel of isolation is very active in Sopio’s painting. The figure stands in an interesting visual context on the edge of a swimming pool casting a reflection in the water, set against a dark mysterious surround; the metaphysic association of the pale subject overwhelmed by darkness. Coming from Georgia, Sopio has exhibited in the BP Portrait Award and received the Michael Harding Award in the RSBA exhibition.

Image credit

Paul the Swimmer by Jessica Miller

Curator's Choice: Susan Mumford

Susan Mumford, art world entrepreneur, speaker, author and mentor, highlights three prints and two paintings from Buy Art | Buy Now

A game-changer in the 21st Century art world, Susan’s an entrepreneur, mentor, speaker, moderator and author. Her first foray into supporting industry professionals was in the form of the Association of Women Art Dealers (AWAD), which she established while running a gallery in Soho, London. This was followed by the launch of Be Smart About Art, an online-accessible professional development platform that helps creative professionals thrive in a changing world. In late 2015, her first book was published in the name of BSAA’s motto: Art is your life. Make it your living. While based in London, Susan spends notable periods around the UK, USA and Continental Europe, delivering workshops and keynotes, mentoring creative professionals, facilitating panel discussions, judging art prizes and more.

Follow Susan on Instagram and Twitter. See her blog posts and videos on how to make a living in the art world via the Be Smart About Art Blog.

Browse Susan's choices now


 


Claire Gill

Seascape 47 – The Sound of Rust, £345

One’s eyes are quickly drawn towards the centre of the composition and move around time and time again, following the curved outlines of the boats. Intrigue develops upon discovery of the title, for it provokes curiosity as to what is meant, and what might result in, the sound of rust. This print is set to continually fascinate.


Louise McClary

The Crackle of Dawn, £2,400

What at first appears to be an imagined abstraction turns out to be a changing landscape as the waking day begins in ‘The Crackle of Dawn.’ This understanding brings meaning to the movement, colour and intensity on display. Such lively representation of a scene that is well-known to all presents endless opportunities for interpretation, with individual meaning for each observer.


Jack Paffett

Bloom, £280

Struck by the combination of a bold composition and subtle tones, ‘Bloom’ is simple in form yet complex in potential reading. After a moment’s observation, conclusions are drawn as to the differing meanings of the filled and unfilled ovals. The work is beautiful and meaningful alike.


Claire Edge

Above the Trees, £315

The line of pine trees is almost immediately apparent, yet the title suggests the artist is drawing attention to the other half of the composition. Comprised of maker’s marks of gestural white strokes that imitate the abstracted tree forms, the colour implies a cold winter’s day and the three directions of marks around the composition keep the eye circling around the collagraph.


Roxana Halls

A Little Light Reading, £4,680

With the title ‘A Little Light Reading,’ this image at first appears to be whimsical, presenting a floating form. A secondary understanding reveals commentary on the state of women in modern society, impossibly balancing multiple responsibilities with the risk of toppling over everything. Such effective presentation of primary and secondary meanings that suit the interests of differing viewers and settings recalls the philosophy of Pierre Bourdieu, who wrote extensively on works of art in which the creator knowingly presents multiple layers for interpretation.



Browse Susan's Choices Now

Image credit

Claire Edge Above the Trees

Curator's Choice: Nicholas Usherwood

Joan Yardley Mills by Peter Clossick

Nicholas Usherwood, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Federation of British Artists / Mall Galleries and Chairman of its Exhibitions Committee, tells us of four works from Buy Art | Buy Now which stood out for him.


After a variety of careers as a lecturer in art-schools, administration (at the Royal Academy) and exhibition organisation, Nicholas has spent the last 40 years as a freelance writer and consultant, nearly twenty of those as Features Editor of Galleries Magazine, a position he still holds. A particular passion has been 20th Century British Art, in particular, the resurrection, through exhibitions and catalogues, of the reputation of many of its unjustly neglected heroes – Algernon Newton, Tristram Hillier, Richard Eurich, Evelyn Williams and Sir Alfred Munnings among them. That said, supporting the work of still practising artists is still no less important to him, again through writing and exhibitions.

 

Browse Nicholas' Choices Now


Louise McClary

Luminous Wind, £2,330

Contemporary art from Cornwall is going through a remarkable revival currently as a whole new generation of younger artists creates an incredibly vibrant and hugely varied body of work, far removed from the pale imitations of Ben Nicholson, Peter Lanyon and Patrick Heron that have characterised it for so long now. Penzance-born Louise McClary is very much at the forefront of this development, her intensely mysterious and richly coloured semi-abstract canvases filled with references to the paradisical and strange landscape of the Helford River on her studio doorstep. 'Luminous Wind' is a fine example, a visual poem in which elements of the landscape – reed and tree-forms and areas of gleaming water - are brought together in a resonant harmony of pinky-grey-greens, lemony yellows and rusty reds. A felt landscape as well as a closely observed one.


Peter Clossick NEAC

Joan Yardley Mills, £7,600

At first sight Peter Clossick's portraits and single figures, empirically observed and set down in thick impasto paint, would seem to belong firmly in that Bomberg and Euston Road tradition that runs through Auerbach, Kossoff and Lucien Freud even, their almost sculptural use of paint an equivalence of matter set against the physical realities of the people and rooms depicted - “the spirit in the mass” that Bomberg so urgently sought. Clossick then takes the whole thing a stage further, as in this powerful, reflective portrait of Joan Yardley Mills, where he succeeds in giving to her image a powerful sense of the inward as well, so that they come to possess what, as the critic Corinna Lotz has acutely observed, feels like “an otherworldly awareness of the transience of things.”


June Berry NEAC

Tea in the Garden, £3,100

I first came across June Berry's work 10 years or so ago when she wrote to me out of the blue asking me to write a text to accompany a CD of her work that she about to have issued. I went to her Beckenham studio and was immediately entranced by the complete pictorial world that she conjured out of a life lived between South-East London and deep rural France and the real feeling that she was able to convey of people's lives in the landscapes she portrayed. Now in her 90s driving to France is no longer feasible but she still works with an altogether undiminished vigour and feeling, her dense, almost Bonnard-like textures and subtle tonalities, as in 'Tea in the Garden', deployed on an albeit rather smaller scale, convey an evocative sense of the passing seasons. In the process time and place, along with memory, all play crucial roles in June Berry's subtle art.

Osprey

Beatrice Forshall, £980

Natural history illustration has been in my blood since childhood when I first came across books with images by Audubon, Edward Lear and Charles Tunnicliffe in them. Later, in the 1970s I had the privilege to organise an exhibition of Tunnicliffe's measured drawings and notebooks at the Royal Academy and met the artist. So when I saw Beatrice Forshall's beautiful and distinctive work on the BABN site it was, as they say a 'no brainer'. I was particularly struck by her stunning black and white image of 'Osprey', a drawing of wonderful clarity and power, combining a quite remarkable technical skill with  a quiet intensity of feeling. Forshall, who trained in illustration at Falmouth College of Art, combines her activities as artist and book illustrator with her work as a committed environmentalist, particularly for the charity Survival International. She is too one of a talented younger generation of wild-life artists that are, in a sense, re-inventing the genre all over again for 21st Century



Browse Nicholas' Choices Now

Image credit

Peter Clossick NEAC, Joan Yardley Mills