The venue for my September 2018 exhibition was an old courthouse in the centre of Bodmin, mid Cornwall. I’ve shown there several times before. This time, however, it struck me as entirely appropriate that this space was once the public gallery, in a different meaning of the word, of what was once a courthouse.
Whilst I’m not familiar with the official records it must be the case that death sentences were once passed there. Perhaps some hapless plaintiff was once granted a stay of execution and – not to further mince my words – this I feel is what has happened to me over the last two years with the ongoing success of treatments for my prostate and secondary bone cancer. It is the wonder of that experience that I wanted to convey through this exhibition as well as positive aspects of the reminder of mortality that goes along with it.
See all the paintings and installation shots here.
I have been able to make a handsome donation to the charity Reprieve from sales in connection with this exhibition.
Cumulus and rooftops ( https://www.hendersonsmith.co.uk/product/rooftops-and-cumulus/ )
I had recently been invited to give my third painting demonstration to members of Newquay Art Society, the last one having been some four years ago. I knew that I had to use a theme that would sit well within the collection I’m putting together for a forthcoming exhibition and that, having ’blocked-in’ the composition in front of these aspiring artists, I would want to develop it further back at my studio. Trawling through the archive of my own digital reference materials I came across shots I took a few years ago that seemed to provide a promising starting point. It was during a summer afternoon visit to the cliffs at Bedruthan Steps. I had been recording the forms of the spectacular coast and sea when I recall that a clap of thunder made me turn around towards the National Trust café there. I remember thinking at the time that the mass of cloud above and the rooftop forms of the buildings below provided an image of the kind of identity and difference that fascinates me. Re-discovering this recently, it seemed to me to ’fit the bill’ well. I knew I could explain about my interest in how the illuminated cloud mass was for me in some ways similar to, in others very different from, the roof structures below. I knew that ’lively greys’ suggested by billowing cloud forms could take centre-stage between these two areas of the painting so that is what I used to enliven what could otherwise have been a characterless part of the composition.
Silvery cloud above winter trees ( https://www.hendersonsmith.co.uk/product/silvery-cloud-above-winter-trees/ ) arose from my response to colour interactions on a bright wintry afternoon near my studio here in Mid Cornwall as I walked with my dear elderly collie ‘Rags‘. The joyful clarity of most of the sky above this hillside meadow, adorned with leafless trees and illuminated by the glow of the gradually sinking sun, seemed at first marred by the cloud forms moving across it. Then I realised what was going on and that it could be brought out through the process of painting. I always strive for what a college tutor of mine used to call ’lively greys’, finding ways to achieve them optically and sometimes by mixtures other than those of white and black. The cloud bank here provided an opportunity to place such greys in relation to the cool brightness of the open sky, the sombre warmth of winter trees and the earthy golden greens of a foreground field. There it could hang suspended, warmer than the azure blue, cooler than the earthy hues beneath, enigmatic and intriguing.
This post refers to plans to re-construct my ‘Of Human Kindness’ dome that dates from 1972. Click HERE to see a visualisation of the structure.
On 27th March 2018 I collected the first re-stretched triangular canvas of the 18 that will make up the reconstructed dome. This can be seen in the background of one of these shots. This is part of a ‘pilot’ study for the whole project so that I can work out all the costs prior to the start of a ‘crowdfunding’ scheme once I have clearance from the owners of the intended site (expected in June or July 2018). It’s a historic moment for me.
The approx 1/5th MDF scale model on the table in the foreground is to enable the angles of the bevelled edges of each panel to be worked out.
Darren of T.P. Timber has been explaining the need for the model to calculate all the angles for the bevels. I wanted to include him in the shot to show the scale of the approx 1/5th scale model.
Here’s a shot of the interior of the model.
Watch out for further updates!
I’m writing to tell you about three new additions to my collection for Reprieve, my September 2018 exhibition to be held at Bodmin Shire Hall.
Winter dusk at St Columb ( https://www.hendersonsmith.co.uk/product/winter-dusk-st-columb/ ) has been a response to the darkest time of the year and in particular became for me about my sense of how the warmth of community life sustains me through such times, whether they are literally wintry or just sombre and worrying like the experience of serious illness that dominated 2017 for me.
Winter light, Mawgan Porth ( https://www.hendersonsmith.co.uk/product/winter-light-mawgan-porth/ ) aims to express something of the awe and wonder that can occur for me in the presence of light, water and coastal landscape forms in a quite simple combination. Such responses can, I find, be enhanced by the realisation that I have survived until now!
Evening gardens, St Columb ( https://www.hendersonsmith.co.uk/product/evening-gardens-st-columb/ ) uses source material from the autumn to provide references to colours and shapes with which I could express the delight I feel about continuing to be involved in community life here as my recovery progresses.
Each of these paintings, like all the others currently intended for this exhibition is currently available at a 30% pre-exhibition discount that will continue just until the end of April. You can see them all so far at https://www.hendersonsmith.co.uk/product-tag/reprieve-exhibition/ . A proportion of the proceeds of these sales will be donated to a cause that I support, in most cases to Reprieve ( https://reprieve.org.uk/topic/death-penalty/ ), a charity that campaigns against the death penalty that still exists in some parts of the world. It occurred to me that there is a poignancy about showing this particular collection at Bodmin Shire Hall, a former court-house where people have been condemned to death in the past and I want to acknowledge that by this donation.