The Pastel Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London

One of my pastels to start off with as the post is about pastels - done plein air at local allotments (plots of land, rented to grow vegetables, home made sheds, recycled baths and barrels and all sort of 'useful' objects). The allotments were only half let - the one on the right of the grass path neatly tended and the one on the left running riot, nature reclaiming the land. I loved the tumble down sheds and junk being recycled and the contrast between the neat plots and the luxuriantly overgrown ones.
You can see a lot more of the work that I did there on my sketchbooks site in The Dying of the Day. Unison pastels are my favourite as they are lush and velvety but don't break easily - and they come in a great range of colours.

On Saturday the pastel society I belong to went to the Pastel Exhibition at the Mall Galleries. I try not to miss it as it’s usually a very good show. Glen a friend and fellow member, and I, met up with Katherine (who lives in London) again and we pulled in the Renoir landscapes at the National Gallery nearby as well – a busy and exhausting day, coaches are a very slow form of travel! It’s only 75 to 90 minutes to London by train but 180 by coach :( , still it does drop us off very close to the galleries.

(see Katherine's report on the exhibition here )

It’s always interesting to go to exhibitions with friends, drifting apart as we look at different paintings, crossing paths and comparing notes and meeting up for a very welcome coffee and cake.

I do wish they would do a full catalogue and not just a list of works with a picture on the cover.

On works that we thought were outstanding we tended to agree – sometimes one would think ‘very good’ to the other’s opinion of ‘brilliant’ and sometimes personal preferences and interests were clear in the choices – Katherine responding strongly to work involving line, Glen to strong portraits with real character and a bold handling, for me usually landscape with lost and found edges, a dramatic sense of light and place and interesting use of colour.

Victor Ambrus showed large beautifully sensitive full length portraits in line with touches of colour. He uses wonderful free flowing line, totally controlled but at the same time loose. He leaves lots of plain paper, quiet areas offsetting the active lively line work. Touches of pink blushed across cheekbones were delicately done and could so easily have become ‘twee’ but never did. They are very large drawings and seeing them in reproduction can’t do them justice sadly.

Sarah Bee showed trees and forests, light filtering through the trees, dissolving the edges and this one of standing stones

Jason Bowyer showed loosely drawn dynamic images of a blacksmith, full of movement and energy.

Cheryl Culver looked at pattern in the landscape, other works show it more strongly but this is the one online,

Susan Dakakni showed powerful charcoal drawings,

Anthony Eyeton showed a beautiful painting of a storm approaching on the beach in Rio,

Colin Slee showed lively, free charcoal drawings but I can't find any online :(.

Three Red Jackets by Felicity House was a beautifully balanced work - lots of space, some of the figures in line that tapers off, unfinished, with the 3 jackets of the title making a dancing pattern across the page, the figures relating to each other, spaced beautifully,

The outstanding image that stayed with me was by Mary Hackney – a life drawing of the back of a seated model It was painted in bold strokes of colour, the skin warm and the pose somehow slightly vulnerable. The background was a vivid fuchsia pink and lower down purple, vivid orange and ultramarine – yet with all these vivid colours it was soft and warm and vibrant, not loud. It looked much more vibrant in real life than on the website. A really beautiful image, simply and beautifully composed. I thought that it was the work of a young artist, it was contemporary, youthful, fresh and 'now' and was amazed to see that Mary was born in 1925. Artists stay young at heart :) .

I would have loved to buy this painting by Keith Roper - if I had any money! His work was full full of light and atmosphere and really gorgeous .

We discussed framing and presentation - some works were very badly framed, which let the work down. Katherine has discussed this in more detail and also subjects covered, so I won't duplicate the information.

Then we went to see the Renoir landscapes at the National Gallery - but that's for another post - I'm tired and I'm off to bed :)


thecabinet said…
Your work is excellent-you use colors and light with a very sophisticated touch.I went through your other sites-all of your work shows genuine effort and attention to detail.
As far as the comments vs. Lurkers
(people who read,bookmark and vanish with out a trace)ratio-it easier to click out and move on than to stop and let you know what a person thinks.
Did you add the analytics code to your other sites ?
Have a special w/extra brown sauce and a cheese and onion pasty for me! (I miss that stuff !!)
jafabrit said…
How I envy you being able to go into London and see such a beautiful exhibit. I really liked Sarah Bee's sanding stones. I agree about the figure with red, gorgeous. It sort of reminded me of a kitaj "Marynka Smoking ", well in that my response was similar.
Lindsay said…
As usual, I feel very well fed here from my visit! SO glad you are taking the time to introduce these artist's. I love your choices and I loved Katherine's post as well. Thanks.
vivien said…
thanks Michael, Jafabrit and Lindsay :)

No Michael I haven't worked out how to put analytics on my other sites yet - I will!! they do have statistics built in but not as sophisticated as googles - it's fascinating to see the world map and see where readers are :)

Jafa it is quite an expensive trek to London, even though it's only 100 miles, so I don't get down as often as I'd like, The train fare is very expensive and going by bus takes so loooong :( I don't like driving near London so don't go by car. (chicken!)

Kitaj - yes I can see what you mean.

I enjoyed Katherine's post as well Lindsay :)

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