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  • Chagall at Tate Liverpool

    Sept 2013

    According to the accompanying booklet, the intention of this exhibition at the Tate Gallery in Liverpool is to take a fresh look at Chagall and explore the development of his unique style. The exhibition does this very well and I came away with a good understanding of his artistic journey from his Hasidic Jewish upbringing in his native Russia, through to his later career carried out in the South of France where he finally settled.

    The exhibition focuses on the work he did in the years from 1910 through to 1922 with just six works from the later years. Much of the early work is clearly rooted in his Jewish upbringing with emphasis on family and ritual. It is interesting to see how his poetic imagination gradually develops and how he becomes inspired by his move first to St Petersburg and then to Paris, which for him came to represent ‘light, colour, freedom, the sun, the joy of living’.

    In recent times his work has been criticised for being whimsical and for it’s popularity in the greetings card market. This exhibition attempts to dispel this view by showing the darker and deeper side of his work. It demonstrates well how he drew on the political developments going on around him, especially in the early years of his career. However, I couldn’t help comparing his painting ‘War’ 1964-66 with that of Picasso’s much more powerful ‘Guernica’. It wouldn’t have stirred up any anti-war protest I think.

    I must admit that I find the sad-eyed cows hard to take, but the overall impression that I came away with was of someone who wanted to communicate the sheer joy of being alive. So, altogether an uplifting experience and for me, worth making the journey to Liverpool.

    My personal favourite painting from the show is ‘Paris Through the Window’ 1913.

    The exhibition runs until 6th October 2013.

    Paris Through the Window Chagall

  • Ham House framed

    Ham House framed

    I’ve had my Ham House painting framed now. I thought a traditional style of frame would suit the historic subject. In fact it’s the fascinating history of the house that first inspired me to paint it. According to information on the National Trust website:-

    ‘Originally built in 1610, Ham House is the creation of an enterprising courtier, William Murray, and his tenacious daughter Elizabeth. As a boy, William was educated with the young Charles I, taking the role of his whipping boy. Remaining friends as adults, they shared a taste for the latest fashions in architecture, art and interior decoration. William was given the lease of Ham House and its estate as a gift from the King in 1626.

    William’s eldest daughter Elizabeth was able to steer Ham through Cromwell’s rule by establishing good relations with the Protector. When Charles II was restored to power in 1660, Ham once again became a place for entertaining and extravagance.

    In 1672, aged 46, Elizabeth married for the second time, this time to the affluent Duke of Lauderdale. He was a key member of King Charles’ inner cabinet. Sharing a love of power and decadence, together they made a dynamic Restoration court couple. They transformed Ham House into one of the grandest Stuart houses in England.

    Changing little after Elizabeth’s death, Ham House was home to her descendants from her first marriage within the Tollemache family for nearly 300 years.

    With only a few decorative alterations made during the 1740s and 1890s, Ham House passed to the National Trust in 1948. It’s a rare survival of 17th-century luxury and taste’.


  • Ham House, the finished painting

    Here is the finished painting of Ham House. I’ve done further work to the trees in this stage and further intensified the colours in the house. I’ve also added more detail to the statue and a little to the house facade, although I’ve deliberately kept this fairly vague to help with the feeling of distance.

    Ham House stage 5

  • Ham House stage 4

    I was mainly adding detail and depth of colour to the house in this one, but have also put more variation of greens into the foliage in the foreground.

    Ham House stage 4

  • Ham House stage 3

    Third stage of ‘Ham House’. I’ve started to get the background colours in, keeping it pale at first so that I can gradually build up the hue.

    Ham House stage 3

  • Ham House painting second stage

    Here is the second stage of my Ham House painting. I wanted to get the brightest/strongest colours established, which in this case are the greens in the foreground – where the sun is directly on the foliage.Ham House second stage

  • Painting of Ham House in stages

    I’ve just started a small acrylic painting of Ham House and decided to photograph the progress. This first pic is the underpainting. I’ve chosen ‘indigo’ for this one, to help with the strong deep shadows.Ham House first stage

  • Two exhibitions – Lowry and Mexican Art

    I’ve never been a fan of Lowry, so went along to Tate Britain this month hoping to learn something and perhaps be converted.

    The exhibition is well thought out and comprehensive. It was really interesting to see his work along side that of his tutor Valette’s painting ‘Manchester Scene’. Valette’s interpretation of the industrial north romanticises the setting, which was something that Lowry was determined not to do apparently. I admire this thinking and Lowry is certainly successful in chronicling the industrial landscape around him painstakingly and grimly.

    For me however there is something lacking in his work – it doesn’t move me. I look for some form of emotional content in art. So while I came away from the exhibition with a much clearer understanding of Lowry and his work, I won’t be buying any reproductions for my walls.


    I had been looking forward to Mexico: A Revolution in Art at the Royal Academy and was disappointed to read several negative reviews before getting along to see it.

    Unfortunately the reviews were deserved I think. I realise that much of the works of Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros and Jose Clemente Orozco were murals, but it would have been nice to have seen photos of illustrations of some of it as well as the handful of paintings on display.

    On the positive side, I did learn a lot about the Mexican revolution and am pleased to have been introduced to the excellent paintings of Henrietta Shore and Roberto Montenegro.

    All in all not worth the £10 entrance price unfortunately.

  • Richmond Theatre

    Having been lucky enough to get one of my paintings accepted to be exhibited at Richmond Theatre during the run of ‘Pitmen Painters’, I was delighted to receive a complimentary ticket to the opening night.

    I wasn’t sure what to expect, so was very pleasantly surprised by a passionate and inspiring play that delivers not just an excellent debate about art, but also about socialism, capitalism, war, class, health and the importance of education. All executed with warmth and humour.

    Jude Wild - Richmond Theatre

  • Ham House garden sketch ‘The Wilderness’

    The time has come to start a blog. I’ve come to the conclusion that it can’t be avoided any longer! I’m used to expressing myself visually rather than writing, so I realise that to keep my blog interesting I will need to include images. (more…)