Friday, 27 January 2012

exactly the right picture...

'White Nancy from Rainow Road', by Christine Anne Sheehan.

Paintings by Bollington-based arist, Christine Anne Sheehan, have always been popular at thewhitegallery: she manages to capture the essence of the village and the hills that surround it with such skill and affection. And I love the way she paints light.

Recently, a customer came in to see if we had any paintings of Bollington: she was moving to start a new life in London but was struggling to leave the village behind. She wondered if there was something she could take with her to remind her of the time she'd spent here? I showed her a small print by Christine, which happened to be her favourite view of White Nancy as you come down Moss Brow from Long Lane, somewhere she often walked her dog.

She loved the view but the print wasn't big enough, so i suggested she might like to commission a painting. Within days, the customer had met Christine and talked things through. Christine then went away to paint exactly the right view, at exactly the right time of year (that crispy, crunchy time in winter, with frost on the trees and pinkish watered-down light) and with exactly the right dimensions and frame.

You might say it was exactly the right picture. And certainly a lovely way for my customer to remember the village and its breath-taking views - she and the hound even feature in the painting!

'White Nancy from Moss Brow, Winter' by Christine Anne Sheehan

Friday, 20 January 2012

new year, new work by ian jarman...

'Snow in Manchester' by Ian Jarman

I've worked with Ian Jarman since the gallery opened in 2007. In fact, his large monoprint of Deansgate in Manchester was the first picture i ever sold. But that's not why I have a deep affection for his work: it's because of the skill he brings to every picture, recreating a scene with such sensitivity and making even the most grotty cityscape come to life with light and humanity.

Each line of parked cars, each skyscraper, each gable end is reproduced with such a clear interpretation. I love the way Ian brings such tenderness to the ugliest of scenes. I think this artist could make any gutter beautiful, any skip seem lovely. But he doesn't forget to make his pictures real. As someone who lived in Manchester for many years (my children were both born in St Mary's on Oxford Road, near the University) I have a real soft spot for the city and Ian Jarman shows me the Manchester I carry around in my head: the hidden corners and tucked-away places that reveal the city to us; the fire escapes that climb the backs of buildings behind Picadilly Station, the scrubland car parks round the back of the Arndale, the alleys around and about the Northern Quarter.

'Snow, Roman Fort, Castelfield' by Ian Jarman.

His affection for the city is there in every picture, and it's that quality that makes me smile whenever he shows me something new.