8 March 2013

Art for Art's Sake (Apologies to 10cc)

The first painting I really  remember as a child,  was a large reproduction of Maurice Utrillo's 'The Dead End'.  This was positioned over the fireplace and I remember spending quite a bit of time looking at it.  Perhaps this is where my interest in art began. 

The Dead End - Maurice Utrillo

Along the corridors at Granada Television in Manchester were some amazing works of art that Sidney Bernstein, the founder of Granada Television in Manchester, collected.  After his death I believe a lot of his collection went to the Manchester Art Gallery. Years later, wandering around the fascinating Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon (www.museu.gulbenkian.pt), I saw something that rang a bell.  It looked like a Bridget Riley that had been at Granada, but this was a different colour. I went closer - it was a Bridget Riley.  I realised that unwittingly, the paintings I saw every day for 13 years, had left a lasting impression.
In Edinburgh I fell in love with the work of Ken Lochhead, a local artist. I managed to buy five of his originals, featuring various views of Cramond and Leith which look really good here in Portugal but my favourites are two fabulous, commissioned ones featuring the River Almond.  I never get tired of looking at his work on my walls.  His website is run by his wife Sheila (Ken sadly died in 2006) www.kenlochhead.co.uk.  These are my two commissioned favourites.

 Cottages in Dowie's Mill Lane, Cramond, Edinburgh 1986

A view to the Cramond Brig Bridge 1986

There was a period when I abandoned blogging to help a friend of very long standing, to write his autobiography. I have known Joe, (strictly speaking Christopher Joe Beard) since I was a teenager and he was part of The Purple Gang.  The band possibly more famous for having their first single banned by the BBC. The problem was, as perceived by the ancient panel who passed records for radio play in those long off days, was the line: "...so once year Granny takes a trip".  Had the idiots listened to all the lyrics properly and not focused on the word 'trip', the lives of the band members would have been very different.  The late John Peel was a big fan of the band and was the first DJ to play their second single, 'Kiss me Goodnight Sally Green'. For those of you who have never heard the classic, check out 'Granny Takes a Trip' and other gems by the band on www.youtube.com.

However I digress.  Joe, apart from still being a musician and writing a fascinating autobiography 'Taking the Purple', which hopefully will be published some time this year, is also an artist.  His story of keeping the legacy of The Purple Gang alive and combining it with being an accomplished artist, is fascinating but as all authors/artists need sales, you will have to wait for the book. I will say that his adventures in music and art are hilarious at times, moving at others.  I am very fortunate to have one of his works on my wall which reminds me of happy times in Cheshire.

Coppice Road Allotments, Cheshire

Private Fitton Kings Royal Rifle Corps 1914
Collection of Mr. G.Fitton of Hampshire

I love this one - what a character

Councillor Thelma Jackson, the last ever Mayor of Macclesfield

A very handsome horse 

Joe does commissions and is building a website and blog at present but if anyone fancies a portrait, please contact me and I will put you in touch with him.

Another artist I met here in Portugal, and am lucky enough to have one of her works on my walls, is the daughter of a respected Portuguese artist, Rui de Azevedo. Vanessa's works adorn the walls of various branches of Barclays Bank in Portugal and she has exhibited all around Europe.  I think her work is really interesting. Her website is http://vanessaazevedo.com.  Here are three of my favourites but please check out her site for other beautiful examples of her work.

Igreja de Carcavelos (Carcavelos Church)

Casa da Sarola, Norte

Obviously I have to add this one as a reminder of the beautiful Cotswolds.

  Cotswold Cottage

Another couple of talented artists I have had the pleasure of knowing are Nadja Kirschgarten and Nicholas Ferguson.  Nadja lived next door to me in Malmesbury for a time and now is an accomplished artist who studied Visual Arts at the University of Arts, Bern.  To see more of her work go to www.najakirschgarden.com.

Trees by Nadja Kirschgarten

Nicholas I met when he was a Director at Granada Television.  He has a distinguished background in television and now in art and sculpture.  More examples of his work can be seen at www.nicholasfergusonpaintings.com.

Grandmother's Chair by Nicholas Ferguson

I hope you enjoy my selection and if you have an interest in any of the artists and their works, do please contact them.

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