Swan Upping

Gouache and Drawing Ink 335 x 425mm

This site presents a style of painting and illustration that synthesises Fernand Leger’s particular interpretation of modernism with my own style of illustration that has evolved from my salad days. The confluence came relatively late in my artistic career. I was forty-five when I decided for the second time upon a radical change of course.

Léger was perhaps less well known than his contemporaries, but his output was substantial and encompassed through his career many varied stylistic variations. Using some of his better-known works, e.g., L’Accordéon, and La Grande Parade as my starting point I have endeavoured to create, entirely through traditional means, a new visual vocabulary which relies on geometry and millimetric precision. In my quest to re-present with affection the traditions, the idiosyncrasies, and the way of life of this island nation, I have adopted a less conventional approach to composition and the seemingly immutable rules of, for example, avian and botanical illustration have been set aside. The viewer is thus presented with what I hope is a stimulating sensory challenge.

Despite its very notable antecedents, such as for example Egyptian hieroglyphics, psalters and playing cards such as the Courtly Household, it is unfortunate that the graphic arts are afforded a lesser place in the pantheon of artistic achievement than the privileged place occupied by oil or watercolour painting. And my choice of materials, gouache and drawing ink is less understood than those traditional more exalted media. Moreover, I have always painted to please myself rather than satiate the demand of the easy-on-the-eye art needs of the art market. And whilst I have often been asked to disseminate my work through prints, I have eschewed this routeway. As a consequence, my work is known to only a small circle of curators and collectors and now to you the reader of this text.

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