This is a large and varied exhibition, with 36 framed paintings, predominantly landscapes, but also with a few still lives and abstracts, The landscapes are of favourite places, especially of the Lake District, which I first visited on a school trip at the age of 16 and have been revisiting as often as possible ever since. There is also a smaller group of paintings made on Exmoor, another wild space. The landscapes around Castelnau de Montmiral, a small bastide town in Southwest France, are very different. They are important to me because of my sessions at the Painting School of Montmiral which, quite apart from the teaching, was poised above a panorama of beautiful, extremely paintable countryside extending in all directions. Closer to home, there are some very local landscapes, set within the city boundary – river, canal and park. The abstracts in the exhibition are all investigations of the interaction between colours, one with another, but then, so are all the paintings, really. And, after this very different year, the exhibition will have a new feature. I have been attending classes given by Steve Empson for many years and this year, when classes were forced to go on-line, Steve responded by issuing a series of weekly challenges to his students. The challenges were often very thought-provoking in themselves and, of course, we had to respond within a time limit. I really enjoyed this and a wall in the exhibition will display eight of the resulting ‘rapid’ paintings, mounted but not framed. I am hoping that visitors will enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed making them. They are my rapid paintings. And now, to conclude, rather than writing any further about myself, here are some comments written in my Visitors' Book over the years. Obviously, these are selected but are generally representative of the whole. To find out whether they are true, please come and have a look! . . . .-'Excellent, Jean. Your landscapes do seem to capture the moment and savour it',. . . . 'Very, very good',. . . . 'Lovely exhibition. So many we'd like to take home',. . . . 'Wonderful interplay of colours and textures', . . . . 'Beautiful, inspiring work', . . . . 'Vastly impressed by the texture and depth', . . . 'I want to write volumes about the delights', . . . .'Fantastic. Love the colours and the atmosphere'. . . . 'Lovely. My favourite exhibition', . . . 'Lovely use of vibrant colours and great depth', . . . . 'Beautiful and serene', . . . . 'Stunning', . . .. 'Loved the ones of the Lake District', . . . 'Wonderful abstractions and landscapes you could walk in to'. . . . 'Can't believe you only started to paint when you retired' . . . . 'Loved the variety and such a good setting for viewing' . . . . Officially the exhibition is only open for the middle week of the festival (8th – 16th May) but it should also be possible to arrange a visit at other times if this would be easier. Why don't you come and have a browse around? Please telephone 01865 559819 if you have any queries.
Once a chemistry teacher, now a regular exhibitor in Artweeks, all my exhibitions are called ‘Voyages of Discovery’ because every painting is a voyage of discovery for me. I love making the voyages. My interest in painting began with a ‘Drawing for Beginners’ class which I joined shortly after my (early) retirement and it was at this point that I discovered, to my total amazement, that I could draw. The expected retirement hobby rapidly developed into an all-consuming interest which was supported and deepened by my discovery of the Painting School of Montmiral, in Southwest France. Here Francis Pratt, its founder and Principal, shared his deep knowledge of the true nature of colour and also of the implications of this knowledge when making a painting. These included, among many other things, the use of colour to put both light and an illusion of depth into your work. I spent many sessions at the Painting School over the years and, during and since then, have always done my best to put his principles into practice. They have been a massive influence and, if you read the quotations from my Visitors' Book above, you will see that, quite often, his ideas seem to have worked. He himself claims that the serenity of my paintings, also sometimes commented on, is another result of applying his theories and I think he is probably right! Thankyou, Francis. And I have already mentioned Steve Empson, who has always shown great patience when dealing with this often self-opinionated student. Thankyou, Steve