Sunday, 18 October 2015

A Life's Journey...

In 1945 I returned to London from a carefree childhood as an evacuee in Devon. The resulting culture clash gave rise to my first serious works depicting scenes from war-torn Bermondsey. These were mainly black and white pen and ink drawings on paper and were the first works I made on entering Camberwell School of Art in 1946. These continued throughout my 14th and 15th years.

Also at that time I started to paint the River Thames in watercolours. Since most of the male members of my family worked on the river and living just 2 streets away from the busy Bermondsey Wharves, this was a natural progression. My new city life both fascinated and repelled me but art school supplied the outlet I needed to express these feelings.

'Night Watchman' 1948. 24 x 20". Oil on panel.

Warming his hands over a coke burning brazier a night watchman guards valuable building materials by the Surrey Canal. Whilst much repairing of bombed buildings continued throughout the post war period, night watchmen were a common sight. Painted at the age of 15 while still in the Junior Department of Camberwell School of Art this was my earliest attempt in oils of a riverside subject. It was stolen from a gallery and is the feature of an earlier blog post here and here.

Unloading Casks, Rotherhithe. 14x12" Indian Ink and Watercolour 1947. Private Collection.

The wharves near Cherry Garden Pier stored a great variety of cereals, nuts and Sugar Barley. As a child I would wait for the dockers to go for lunch and receive for my patience a handful of Barley. The shoreline here was my playground, but so many children were drowned the London County Council distributed a poster; 'Keep Death off the River'. The work is my earliest riverside painting in watercolour and Indian Ink. Now in a private collection.

To be continued....

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Blackheath Art Society Autumn Exhibition 2015

Yes it's nearly here our Autumn show. A fantastic opportunity to buy artworks as unique Christmas gifts or just a gift for yourself! A great variety of styles and subjects awaits you at The Paul McPherson Gallery, 77 Lassell Street, Greenwich SE10 9BJ. The exhibition starts 20th October and finishes 30th October. Monday to Friday 12 - 5pm and 10am - 2.30pm Saturdays. We hope you can make it.

The Sailing Barge 'Jock' at Ballast Quay. Oil on panel 14.75" x 14.75". £285

Ballast Quay in Greenwich was a favourite stopping point for sailing barges and small craft as The Cutty Sark public house was adjacent! 

Monday, 21 September 2015

It All Began With Drawing....

'It All Began With Drawing', 23rd Sept - 24th October 2015. A mixed show of 5 artists; Cristiana AngeliniIrene Butcher, Terry Scales, Graham Smith and Peter Tingey at West Greenwich Library, 146 Greenwich High Road SE10 8NN Tel: 020 8858 4289. Opening times vary daily (Wednesday and Sunday closed) please click here to find out more West Greenwich Library. There will be 2 'discussion days' at the library, an opportunity to meet the artists and ask questions on Friday 25th September from 2 - 3pm and Friday 9th October 2 -3pm.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
[From Sea Fever by John Macefield].
Yes it's nearly here... the return of the Greenwich Tall Ships Festival. From 27th - 31st August, 15 Tall Ships will be dropping anchor with 13 at Woolwich and 2 at Maritime Greenwich.

To get you in the mood here is a painting of The Amerigo Vespucci built as a training ship for the Italian Navy in 1930 in the style of the late 18th century 74 cannon ships. I made this painting from a sketch made in 1983 when the Amerigo Vespucci was moored off Greenwich Reach.

The Amerigo Vespucci at Greenwich Reach, oil on panel, 10" x 13". £395. 
Some notes I made around the time read;

In 1983 on a casual stroll along the Greenwich Pier, I saw a most handsome sailing ship riding high on the tide off Greenwich Reach. I discovered it was the Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian frigate used as a training vessel for officers and was staying for a few days on a courtesy visit. The following day with fine weather promising I began a watercolour with my drawing board pressed hard against the pier railings. I worked for 3 hours without interruption enjoying the contrast between the sturdy shapes of the Thames barges in the foreground emphasising the elegance of the earlier days of sail.

The watercolour painting sold but I also made this small oil painting.
Sadly this ship won't be with us this year but this one will...
Tecla in Greenwich 2014.

and Dar Mlodziezy (below) will be moored on Tall Ship Island in the river at Maritime Greenwich, and will open to visitors via MBNA Thames Clipper shuttles.

A beautiful sight; busy Thames from Tall Ships 2014...



You can find out what kind of activities are on offer at the 2015 Tall Ships Festival here;

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Brewery Wharf

Or more locally known as Prior's Wharf, is a hard working, successful survivor of a once industrious Deptford Creek. The Prior family have run this wharf since 1870 and have a fleet of barges all named after members of the Prior family. The barges are a regular sight on Deptford Creek, travelling daily to and from Fingringhoe in Essex bringing their cargo of sand and aggregates. In a recent report by the Mayor of London the wharf retained it's safeguarded status and was also thought viable for cargo handling, increasingly important as the landscape around it changes dramatically.

Below is a painting I made in 1990, it features in my book 'Visions of Greenwich Reach' and looking back now it's amazing how much the surrounding landscape has changed.

Bert and James at Deptford Creek, oil on canvas, size approx. 21" x 26".  £1500.

Here is an extract from 'Visions of Greenwich Reach';

'It is rare to see both vessels together in the Creek and I spent the whole day drawing every detail, soaking up the cadmium reds confidently emphasising the bulwarks. On the quay behind, piles of bleached sand created a pleasantly organic depth, arrested by an assortment of ancient warehouses. The sky in such a busy scene was crowded almost out of existence but the tiny strip remaining was vital for the painting to breath'.

As you may guess it's a much loved subject and the painting below was made in 1989, in my notes I wrote;

'I ran as fast as I could to Creek Bridge, just in time to see [the ship] edge alongside the quay by the cement wharf. Simultaneously and much closer to me the motor barge 'Bert Prior' swung its stern around in order to pass under the bridge in reverse. Its birth at Prior's Wharf is just beyond but at this point the canal is too narrow for a craft of this length to turn again.'

Motor Barge and Coaster, oil on canvas, size approx. 28" x 32" £2500
Priors Wharf is a much valued local industry helping keep traffic off the roads, not only that, from an artists point of view it is a much cherished local landmark that lifts the soul, long may they continue.

There are a couple of excellent sites relating to Priors Wharf. You can take a trip on Mark Prior here and follow the journey from Fingringhoe to Deptford Creek with Skipper Peter Barc, and Mate 'Fraggle' (filmed in April 2015). You can see some great photos and a full list of the family fleet past and present, including Mark, Brenda, Bert, James, Francesca and many more here.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

The Night Watchman... Crime Reference; e1577 completed!

This panel was a bit of fun for me - see earlier post on the history of this painting. Now completed I am pleased with the new spin on this lost work. I like the way the changing background light emphasises the atmosphere of the piece.


 Although I have never previously made any stained glass I really enjoyed this process and remembered as I was painting how the heavy black lines of stained glass had influenced my early work in the 50's...
Portrait of Margaret - oil on canvas 1958. 25.4 x 18.8cm.

Audrey. N.F.S.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Marking an historic occasion

On Sunday 9th February 2014 The Royal Artillery Band said farewell to Woolwich after being based there for over 250 years. The band moved on to Tidworth in Wiltshire, reuniting with their Regiment. To mark their departure former and current members marched through the Royal Borough and held a parade at General Gordon Square. It was a sad day for Woolwich but the heritage is not lost as 6 members remained to form a new string orchestra, The Countess of Wessex's String Orchestra.

These paintings were made from on the spot sketches of the farewell parade and featured in the exhibition 'London City of Music and Other Delights'. These paintings are available for sale individually or as a collection.

The 'Farewell to Woolwich' collection.
The Royal Artillery Says Farewell to Woolwich, 2014 - £450.

Cavalry Trumpeter - £350.
Bass Drummer - £350

Sunday, 21 June 2015

The Night Watchman... Crime Reference; e1577

During the 1950's I made a series of paintings on riverside characters, these were often exhibited and 'The Night Watchman' was subsequently shown in Sweetwaters Fine Art Gallery in Crawford Street, W1. One evening there was a hit and run; a van crashed into the front window and thieves grabbed all the paintings close to hand including this one.  The thieves were caught but when I enquired about the painting I was told they were caught over 'a much more important crime than art' and so I never saw the painting again! The painting was insured so it wasn't a total loss. However, over the years I have regretted not knowing what happened to it and decided that it would be interesting to recreate the painting but with a different feel in stained glass. Below are my first attempts at stained glass with the assistance of Apollo Stained Glass. More pics to follow on completion...some glasses may change!

If anyone knows the whereabouts of this painting please contact me!

Some silver stain to follow then over to Apollo Stained Glass for leading, cementing etc. 

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Pope and Bond Barge Repairs

Looking back over some papers I found this painting (featured in the Blackheath Halls Summer Exhibition under the title 'Convoys from Wood Wharf') listed by another title 'Pope and Bond Barge Repairs'.

Wood Wharf has a fascinating history which the Greenwich Industrial History Society writes about here.

Today Wood Wharf looks very different.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

To Seaton With Love

During the Second world War I was evacuated to Seaton in Devon. As a child it was a place full of wonder, so different from the industry of Bermondsey and hustle of London life. The experience changed the course of my life and I wrote this book as a tribute to Seaton and the people who made it a place of such treasured memories. 
"To Seaton With Love - Memoirs of an Evacuee 1940-1945"
£2.95 + P&P

Copies of this book are available from:
Ted Gosling, Curator, Seaton Museum, Town Hall, Fore Street, Seaton, Devon, EX12 2SX
Please contact the Museum for further details.
Farmyard in Seaton 1951 - sold.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Tea For All Tastes

Although I'm most known for my river paintings I'll also be featuring some other interests here, for example, the painting style of Trompe L'oeil as below...'Everything stops for tea'!

Tea For All Tastes version 1 (£1250 approx. 28" x 22")
Tea For All Tastes version 2 (£1250 approx. 28" x 22")

Tea For All Tastes version 3 (£1250 approx. 28" x 22")

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Blackheath Art Society Summer Exhibition - Now Showing!

As President of the Blackheath Art Society I am proud to announce that our Summer Art Exhibition is now open. The exhibition is a great way to view and buy art from a range of artists covering different styles and subjects. The exhibition is on at Blackheath Halls from 3 - 29th June 2015, Monday to Friday from 10 - 5. For more information on the exhibition and Blackheath Art Society click here.
Convoys from Wood Wharf (£1500 approx. 24" x 20")