For a long time I have been drawn to the work of Samuel Palmer (1805-1881). It is something that he managed to capture which is between realism and some kind of romantic idyll. Definitely in the school of English symbolists including William Blake and moved on in the tradition to artists like Paul Nash (see later notes and Exhibition).
I like the use of ink and sepia washes – the diversity of mark making including the density that he managed to create in many of his drawings.
Palmer was clearly a very accomplished draughtsman as is depicted in the scene above and the detailed drawing of the oak tree trunk. Many of his drawn scenes evoke a rural landscape held in time mostly during the summer months. When things were plentiful and England was a rich reminder of a land of plenty with everything and everyone in its/their place. They show a pre-industrial time when the land and nature were much nearer to peoples’ experience and everyday activity.
Paul Nash (1889-1946) – I seem to be sticking with English painters, was also known as the painter poet. He is well known for his paintings of the First World War but both before and after that experience he too drew the countryside with a strong structural framework.
I am not writing much about Nash here as I was able to see the exhibition at the Tate Britain and there is a more detailed discussion of his work in the later post. Suffice to say I am drawn once again to his strong use of form and definition of the landscape.
Barnes-Graham (1912- 2004) if known at all has been for her abstract work. However throughout her life she drew often in barren and remote places. She was initially particularly interested in rock formations and structure which subsequently were the basis of some of her later abstract work.
As with the drawing below Porthmere Beach – 8 lines – the subsequent sparse use of line . I really admire the discipline of less rather than more in these later drawings and her paintings too.
Joan Eardley (1921-1963) a Scottish painter who I had previously known for her paintings of children in the Gorbals in Glasgow had a very strong second obsession. She painted outdoors mostly using paint in a very visceral way.
At times her work is almost abstract expressionism with strong gestures of paint and colour. I find them dynamic, exciting and evocative of the places that she chose to work.
They are, despite their loose mark making, still very strong on form, place and time.
John Virtue (1947- ) a painter who is particularly known for working outdoors and literally walking all over his paintings. His use of his limited palette of black and white and everything in between creates a very intense visual experience for me.
Also the size of the work is breathtaking. When viewed you feel drawn into the scenes and enveloped by the Phyllis dynamism of the work.