The La Thangue Angle

‘An Autumn Morning’ [1897] by Henry Herbert La Thangue, Oil on canvas, 47.5 inches x 37.5 inches.

‘An Autumn Morning’ by Henry Herbert La Thangue features the prettiest young lady exerting herself in forestry work whilst an older male colleague is cryptically obscured in the background vista.

During the late 19th century photography had grown into a fashionable medium for societal sublimation and the cataloguing of everyday events.  Creative painting had already scribed itself into this cultural mechanism for millennia.  For instance, ancient Egyptians crafted pictorial ‘movie’ reliefs to affirm various belief systems to their populace.

The Mummy and her Children.

In ‘An Autumn Morning’ La Thangue’s attractive lady displays a determined working ethic.  We could take the painting at face value as merely a woman bending a stick.  Considering the political mindsets of her generation there is a plethora of social commentary going on within his innovative composition.  Along with an impressionistic focal merging to highlight the foreground.

Both subjects, man and woman, have their heads momentarily cast downwards in an equality of effort.

Let’s call this young lady Kirsty for the purpose of explaining my reasoning.  Kirsty is very strong.  Look at her hands bending the wood.  Her measured grip.  Kirsty is not shy of putting her knee into the work to muscle a stubborn obstacle in her path.

Would you agree that this painting represents an intellectualised struggle?

Dignified.  Independent.  Womanly strength with purpose and vigour.

Henry Herbert La Thangue absorbed modern cultural ideas and inventions to bring forward his unique perspective of art.

‘The Connoisseur’ [1887] by Henry Herbert La Thangue, Oil on canvas, 44.88 inches x 63 inches.

Abraham Mitchell can be seen, shown above, contrary to his family whilst socialising in this masterful composition entitled ‘The Connoisseur’.  Mitchell is seriously pondering a recently purchased painting, magnifying glass in hand.

‘Dear Mr Holmes, did you notice.. the year is 1887..

‘..and there is a simile of “Boat in an Estuary”‘ on the wall?!’

Here Mitchell’s art collection surrounds everyone present in his gallery area.  Abraham Mitchell is clearly engaged in his endeavours with absolute exclusivity.

La Thangue’s painting suddenly reminded me of the Hen and Chickens in Ludlow.  My dear paternal Gran with all her quality coffee consumptions had numerous footrests available throughout the guest rooms of the Hen & Chickens in Ludlow.  Now three decades past during my early teens.

Freshly caught rainbow trout from the river makes for a marvellous dinner.  Ludlow Castle.  Chocolate truffles.  True stories of her life in Saudi Arabia and Africa.  Visiting the cellar, beer barrels on tap.  Ice cold glass bottled Cola.  Darts.  The Garden.  Postcards.  Nostalgia.  Ye Olde English culture and architecture.

I’d like to mention that Mr R. H. La Thangue, father of the artist, is an extraordinary likeness of my Gran’s second husband.

Great art stirs emotion.

During research about La Thangue I found highly insightful information online about ‘The Connoisseur’ in a direct quotation, shown immediately below in bold.

With the kind courtesy of Dr Grosvenor’s enjoyable art blog:

“The Connoisseur” by Henry Herbert  La Thangue is actually of Mr Abraham Mitchell, aged 53 at the time, a Bradford textile tycoon and a Methodist of “reserved and retiring nature”.

He and his brother Joseph built neighbouring mansions (called “The Parks”), his with a picture gallery, which is the setting for this work. He was one of La Thangue’s principal patrons.

In the background are his wife and their two sons Tom (standing) and Herbert, and one of his daughters either Edith or Annie. Mitchell had been a local councillor, alderman, JP and refused the mayoralty of the town (see “A Painters Harvest”. Oldham Art Gallery catalogue 4 November -12 December 1978 Page 22 & 23).”

Many thanks also to a contributory reader of the ArtHistoryNews blog.

Artistic Analysis:

Like most exceptional artists La Thangue enjoyed particular focal references and the crafting of new compositional versions within a given theme.  Examples of this can be found in:

‘A Sussex Farm’ and ‘The Watersplash’ – a gathering of birds in a forced perspective, facing the camera.

‘Boy Filling Water Jars at Well’, ‘Ligurian Roses’ and ‘Winter in Liguria’ – a water well positioned right, standing or stooped singular character interacting with the well.

‘Gathering Bracken’ and ‘An Autumn Morning’ – two field forestry workers, one male, one female in complimentary working actions.  Intelligently contrived.

Studying La Thangue paintings further, as if with magnifying glass in hand, I noticed he uses favoured compositional arrangements to great effect.  Two distinct distances in contrast or harmony with each other to draw the eyes naturally to his intended descriptive. 

In ‘From a Ligurian Spring’ La Thangue repeats this structural arrangement of subjects/objects three or four times.  Tree branches, two carefully placed wooden posts, two adjacent stone walls and contrary ’emotional reflections’ of the painted characters foreground to background.

This structural observation can also be seen between the wheels of a cart; the outstretched shoulder-length arms of one person (there are exciting examples amongst his paintings of this inventive idea); two toy boats set to sail by a boy; general foreground to background character placements; person to working animal/s positionings and even two trees carefully framed to unify our attention.

My latter observation is clear to see in his painting ‘A Sussex Hayfield at Graffham’ [1912] shown immediately below:

‘A Sussex Hayfield at Graffham’ [1912] by H. H. La Thangue’, Oil on canvas, 25 ¢ inches x 29 1/4 inches.

From an online reference..:

..pages 20 to 27 is a treasure trove of art history about La Thangue.  Superlative publications like these are wondrously revealing to read.

La Thangue had residency in Chelsea – London, South Walsham – Norwich, Rye – East Sussex, Horsey Mere – Norfolk Broads and Bosham – West Sussex.  All prior to settling with his actress wife Kate Rietiker in Graffham – West Sussex whom he married in 1885.

Living in Graffham from 1898 to 1926, La Thangue clearly established his artistic influence following his early art apprenticeship with Jean-Leon Gérôme in Paris, France.  As previously stated regarding his admiration of Bastien-Lepage and Léon-Augustin Lhermitte, La Thangue’s connection to French art heavily influenced his work.

The sophisticated art sales platforms of Paris invigorated him into fine tuning British Art institutions and art communities in the UK.  Working on these worthwhile professional endeavours with much assistance from his highly accomplished artist colleagues.

The Graffham Parish News, hyperlink immediately above, specifically mentions The New English Art Club.  La Thangue also became an Associate Member of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1912.

Without question La Thangue is a very important British artist.

Visits to Provence, France follow during the early 1900’s along with Liguria, Italy (paintings aforementioned) and the Balearic Islands.  Reference Wikipedia –

Let’s take a look at another Henry Herbert La Thangue masterpiece:

‘A Farmyard Scene’ [1905] shown immediately below – oh me, oh my – quite super.  Truly a charming painting par excellence.  La Thangue incorporates an honest application of sunlight in a natural residential setting.

‘Farm Yard Scene’ [1905] by Henry Herbert La Thangue, Oil on canvas, 73cm x 81cm.

Viewing this ‘Farm Yard Scene’ of Italy I’m picturing a past visit to Rhodes, recalling the Old Town chickens roaming freely between garden pathways – wild with their interactive noisy squawking.

With thanks to dear Henry Herbert La Thangue for his time honoured contribution to international art.

Next artist writeup is.. well you shall need to read my blog to find out.

Thank you dear Readers.


John Singer Sargent – Portrait Art’s Everything

‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose’ [1885] by John Singer Sargent, Oil on canvas, 68.5 in × 60.5 in

The title for the above painting by John Singer Sargent ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose’ is from the song called ‘The Wreath‘ by eighteenth-century operatic composer Joseph Mazzinghi.

The two girls are the daughters of Frederick Barnard an illustrator by profession.

Dolly aged eleven is to our left and Polly aged seven is standing in front of her to our right.  Sargent found inspiration to include Chinese lanterns whilst sighting them during an earlier boating expedition on the Thames with American artist Edwin Austin Abbey.

This en plein air technique literally influenced by Monet to John Singer Sargent was completed over countless sessions whilst visiting Broadway, Worcestershire, England – The Cotswolds.

I promise you would find a visit to the Cotswolds oh so very pretty just like these two adorable girls painted herewith.  Therewith or herewith – its almost like going back in time.

The house of these very gardens was then owned by yet another friend of Sargent’s – American painter, writer and sculptor Frank Millet.  Sadly he died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912.

A 2016 auction of the beautiful “Poppies – A Study Of Poppies for ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose'” sold for £6,858,000 USD at Sotheby’s.

The history, its painted subjects, the luminous mastery and intricate technical derivation would make the original ‘Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose’ a grand prize for any serious Art Collector.

What do you like most yourself about this painting?

The trodden grasses?  The girls’ concentrated facial expressions?

Warm Chinese lanterns incandescently glowing amidst arty white lillies?

I particularly love that Barnard’s daughters are thoroughly engaged, individually, in an unspeaking togetherness.  A shared purpose to delight each other and themselves equally.

John Singer Sargent gifts us with this painting for the ages.

‘Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife’ [August 1885] by John Singer Sargent, Oil on canvas, 20 1/2 x 24 1/2 in

Rock and roll baby!

I thought of The Beatles when I first saw the painting ‘Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife’.  Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and more specifically George Harrison.

Stylistic lyrical geniuses.

Robert Louis Stevenson is super cool.  Sargent captures Robert’s inherent quirkiness, his restlessness of thought.  Creatives can, at times, exhibit this characterisation without being aware of their indifferent juxtaposition.

Art takes over the mind.  It becomes the working of the hands.  The pacing of the feet by sheer conscious will.

Interestingly his wife appears almost ghostly and distant in this full-bodied reddened portrait.  Stevenson looks as if he wants to ‘get away’ to his writing even as Sargent’s brush strokes are being formed.

The opened door and positioning of our protaganist might seem incidental.  However, would you have chosen this composition over all other possible scenic angulations?

We have to say ‘Eureka!’

John Singer Sargent is a true portrait artisan.  The Rubens of his generation.  Sargent is as accomplished at Impressionist works as he is portrait Realism.

‘The talk of the town’..  Sargent probably knew someone’s ‘ears were burning’.

‘Miss Elsie Palmer’ [1889-90] by John Singer Sargent, Oil on canvas, 75 1/8 x 45 1/8 in

I found the pose of ‘Miss Elsie Palmer’ quaint and disciplined.  A pragmatic solution to posing for great lengths of time.  Her hair natural and the clothing fabrics a multitude of folding criss-crossing layers.

Miss Elsie Palmer’s eyes look rather mournful here.  This is a professional portrait revealing a practically perfect young lady in every way.  Modest and likeable.  Sargent’s use of light and dark is exemplary as expected.  Mood is, as Warhol commented in his own way, where Sargent’s genius shines.

Looking through his vast body of work is hugely pleasurable for any art lover.  Blending of interactive foreground and background details.  His unique artistic quality incorporated from canvas to canvas.

Quite remarkable.

‘Lawrence Alexander “Peter” Harrison’ [c1905] by John Singer Sargent, Watercolor on paper, 50.16 x 33.02 cm

Immediately above is a relaxed Impressionist portrait of the artist ‘Lawrence Alexander “Peter” Harrison’ by his close friend John Singer Sargent.

Immediately pictured below please take a look at Sargent’s fellow artist Giovanni Boldini‘s (1845 -1931) likewise expert rendition ‘Portrait of the Artist Lawrence Alexander “Peter” Harrison’:

‘Portrait of Lawrence Alexander “Peter” Harrison’ [1902] by Giovanni Boldini,
Oil on canvas, 49 5/8 by 39 3/4 in

Boldini’s portrait is regal and dignifying in its own exquisite artistic right.

Whilst Sargent’s portrait clearly demonstrates his extreme skill at Impressionism.  The sense of body and movement in both artworks is outstanding.  Please remember that Sargent is strongly regarded as the epitome of classical high society portraiture.  True it is too.

Yet he is also very brave artistically with his career.

Impressionist works.  Perfected landscapes.  Architectural masterclasses.  Ordinary peoples, time-indefinitely painted during his various travels.

John Singer Sargent – Art at Everything.


Aelita Andre – Abstract Expressionist Genius

‘Sun Flares and Pegasus’ [2008] by Aelita Andre, acrylic on canvas, 36 ins x 24 ins. Photography by Nikka Kalashnikova.

Let’s begin with the second most surprising aspect of Aelita Andre’s artwork as you read my blog herewith..

.. Aelita is just 10 years of age at the time of my writing this article.  And yes, when you look at all her most up-to-date work displayed on her website: you might become perplexed at how Aelita has work going back to 2008!

Highly respected gallery curator Peter Gagliardi describes Aelita Andre as a genius.

The above artwork ‘Sun Flares and Pegasus’ is undoubtedly the work of a naturally gifted artist regardless of her tender age.  It’s reasonable to say that even the most knowledgeable art professionals cannot possibly know every single artwork by every renowned artist of the past 500 years.

There’s always a new masterpiece yet to be discovered..

Her arrangement of colour, use of space and positioning of paints in an orderly chaotic art production is confoundingly beautiful to explore throughout this piece.  It’s clear to see that Aelita enters another world whilst she paints.

The Artists Dimension.

Abstract work as a style soars with the sense and feeling of an eagle when it comes to subconscious ideas represented within artforms.

If Expressionism is the perceivable representation of any given physical subject how do we artistically explain expressionist works regarding invisible matter?  I do believe this is possible since we can genuinely interpret shared emotions from Abstract-Expressionist works.

The art world makes readily classifiable distinctions between art styles.  Reinforcing the art classification table from classical fruit bowls to abstraction.

That the art business is founded on creativity, originality and quality is the reason why Aelita Andre’s work will continue to be sought after.

I chose to write about ‘The Time Before Time’ pictured below courtesy of Nikka Kalashnikova as I’m enthralled by its unusally clever expressionistic quality.

Honestly, as always, this is one of the best artworks for mentally picturing how one might physically imagine TIME itself.  Especially as I’m an admirer of the visionary H.G. Wells.  It seemed perfectly conceivable to me almost to the point of laughing until solemnly returning to my instantaneously intuitive conclusion..

.. that Aelita has envisaged a believable metaphysical painting of ‘Time’ just as one might artistically reveal atmospheric Earth air, universal space or the various forces of energy.

We have to be entirely serious about being fun.  Aelita Andre is commensurate in both.

‘The Time Before Time’ [2015] by Aelita Andre, acrylic and silver leaf on canvas, 30 ins x 24 ins. Photography by Nikka Kalashnikova.

‘Swirling Starlight #3’ shown below has a magical quality, depth of structure with considerable intricacy and a notably romantic flavour.  The textural layers correspond neatly.  An entire orchestration of colour.  Our ‘mind-hands’ call upon our eyes to ‘touch feel’ thus causing our complimentary senses to wander all around the canvas excitedly.

Only learned painters can produce work with such skillful art direction as this.  All her own.

Nurture accompanied by natural genetic advantages.

Gwyneth Paltrow has numerous artistic talents that had the freedom to grow in a creative environment.  Again though, we’re all unique persons.

We have to learn these things for ourselves.

Aelita’s perceptive awareness made sense of the art around her breathtakingly quickly.  All art beyond purely spiritual actuation requires some process of originating physical ingenuity.

Aelita attained personal-artistic-physical control over what she was painting from a very early age.

Born with a natural gift made in about nine months.

Interestingly there are some child geniuses of mathematics whose parents haven’t the slightest idea where their child’s abilities were derived.  Even so, parents whose child had reasonable early nurture in any given field at first struggle with the reality that their child is accomplishing feats beyond any ordinary explanation.

‘Swirling Starlight #3’ [2014] by Aelita Andre, acrylic on canvas, 24 ins x 30 ins. Photography by Nikka Kalashnikova.

Continuing our discussion about early artistic ability ‘Blue Butterfly’ shown here..

‘Blue Butterfly’ [2011] by Aelita Andre, acrylic on canvas, 40 ins x 40 ins. Photography by Nikka Kalashnikova.

.. is particularly impressive as we all enjoy seasonal butterflies performing their instinctive dreamy dances as winged fairies across our sunny blue skies.

Deoxyribonucleic acid = DNA.

Strands and fronds float about going to goodness knows wherever they please.

Professional artists inspire and become inspired.  Whilst viewing ‘Blue Butterfly’ I began thinking about artworks at the atomic and molecular level as explanations across art genres.  The interactive experience roving gleefully over this most artful achromatic-chromatic painting is intensely inspirational.

The capacity for Aelita’s personality and her artworks to inspire people of all ages will firmly establish Aelita Andre as an eminently recognisable international artist.  I love her engaging art performances, the irrepressible elegance and attractiveness of her wildly free-spirited pieces.

Aelita Andre is the living definition of an Abstract-Expressionist genius with true star quality.


Kieron After Claude

“Cattle Walking At St Benet’s” [2015] by Kieron Williamson, Oil on canvas, 16ins x 22ins.

Having viewed John David Ratajkowski’s beautifully charming ‘Cow Tuesday’ art pieces online I thought it would be interesting for me to include “Cattle Walking At St Benet’s” by prodigious child artist Kieron Williamson.

Artists incorporate a unique personality and stylistic signature to their artworks.  Art experts know a John Ratajkowski artwork from a Kieron Williamson, a Basquiat from an Andy Warhol.

All masterful artists in their own right.

Where do I begin writing about an artist whom at six years of age was already exciting prospective buyers into making sealed bids for his artwork?

His lifetime earnings have exceeded £2.5 million.. and Kieron is still only 14 years old!

‘I guess’, said the movie veteran, that when you make a child genius we should always appreciate that their early talents have also likely been nurtured from a very young age.  Even so, they are undoubtedly born this way.

Like Justin Bieber musically.. and beyond.

“Cattle Walking At St Benet’s” is glorious.  Cows have that remarkable quality of looking at us pensively.  They’re immensely trusting.  Chewing the cud they couldn’t care less what was going on in another field, sheep grazing by their side.

Kieron’s artwork above captures the layperson’s idea of cows.  Aloof, awkwardly thoughtful and at great efforts in movement at everything until perhaps the Farmer calls.  That’s how I see it.

Then again, I breathe art every single day of my life.  Kieron and John too.

“Dramatic Sunset” [2009] by Kieron Williamson, Pastel from his 2nd Exhibition, 14 ins x 10 ins.

Immediately above is an astoundingly mature artwork by Kieron Williamson when he was just seven years old.  I encourage you to look online to see his people-in-rural-landscapes work.

This sunset pastel is one of my favourite sky scene artworks, ever.  I’m trying to bring forward words to describe here what I’m seeing.  Artists study artists and none more so than lifelong famed British artist David Hockney.

Therefore I can say that this sunset pastel has become ‘pools and portraits’ to the art world in my opinion.  KRW Esq, if you will.

“Distant Cattle” [2014] by Kieron Williamson, Oil on board, 10 ins x 14 ins.

The above artwork “Distant Cattle” contains intense drama.  The wind could be roaring any moment soon.  Those approaching clouds might loom as a thunderous downpour.  This painting is about our relationship with the environment.  How it makes us feel.

‘Urgency mixed with the oils of imperturbability’. 

Thanks Kieron, I’ve hyphenated this new saying as it sounded, dare I say of classic landscape art, inspirationally cool.

JMW Turner’s are cool.  And Hockney too.

Imperturbability, he said.  Oh how this most unusual word somehow reminds me of Roald Dahl and all his wonderful children’s books.

“London Monotone Figure” [2013] by Kieron Williamson, Oil on board, 10 ins x 14 ins.

I continued to sit back in my chair whilst I first viewed “London Monotone Figure” on Kieron’s website:

Anyone familiar with my photography will probably understand why for interconnective reasons:

“The Snow Walker” by Matt The Unfathomable Artist, photographed January 2010 of an unknown man near my local lake hometown.

Interconnective reasons of Imagination and Reality.

You see, at around 9 years of age I was by my own personal request gifted with a children’s book about spycraft.  It was for Christmas that year I think.

Can I please imagine that the solitary figure in Kieron’s painting is a spy vanishing into London’s misty void? Okay, he might be an old man.. in disguise?  Or a blind man tapping his way along the murky pathway?  Kieron’s painting allows artistic licence for our imagination.

Which brings me to my next interconnective thought..

..The 1927 film ‘Metropolis’ by Fritz Lang was my Dad’s favourite movie.  He owned the complete film on video.

The full movie is itself a work of art, inspirational even to this day.  I’ve no doubt my Dad saw a simile of his own mother and father in the film.  Yes a good likeness of character, a simile of my Gran and Grandad.  I’m absolutely certain of this.

M and the spy movie genre began to find its place in film art history.

“London Monotone Figure” is also a superior artwork.  Its simplicity and complexity.  A bluish-grey gun metal palette.  Mysterious, Spooky, Ghostly.  Absolutely charming, characterful and inventive of Kieron’s design.

Kieron Williamson is producing masterpieces in a consistent manner with the dexterity of past greats such as Carlos de Haes.

Here’s to a superb “Family Gathering” as we check the “View From A Window” at “Day’s End, Norfolk” just wishing for the “Blakeney Sunrise” to arrive.


‘The Foundlings’ – A Poem by Matt

'The Starry Night' [1889] by Vincent Van Gogh, Oil on canvas, 29 in ×  36 1⁄4 in.

‘The Starry Night’ [1889] by Vincent Van Gogh, Oil on canvas, 29 in ×  36 1⁄4 in.

Today I am inspired by three Friends, a Singer, a Painter, the Sons and Daughters of Humankind.

“The Three Desolates in Sight,

A multitude of dwellings readied for sand and clay,

The Foundlings.

A block made by Humankind, its breathing within.

First it’s blow an astonishment,

The building Hammer swift and unyielding for the Second strike.

Those that move around with camels make ancient cakes,

Feet sprout downwards strong as fig roots into the ground.

Palatial Grasses overgrow Dusts by the Water from its Rivers old.

Smiles are The Starry Night,

Peoples of the Vineyards and their Storehouses gather,

Trees spring forth for The Yellow Moon.

Their long necks are made happy,

As Thorns are gathered up for dung.

Even The Horned One recovers and the Grey Tail finds peace.”

– ‘The Foundlings‘ poem by Matt The Unfathomable Artist, Copyright © 9th February 2017.


Pip McGarry – International Wildlife Artist Extraordinaire

"White Rhino, Lake Nakuru" by Pip McGarry, Oil on canvas, 20in x 18in, Sold at Sotheby's February 1999.

“White Rhino, Lake Nakuru” by Pip McGarry, Oil on canvas, 20in x 18in, Sold at Sotheby’s February 1999.

Choosing Pip McGarry for the express purpose of bringing art and wildlife conservation commentary into my blog took me about 30 seconds.

If it takes former Navy SEALs, ex Marines and Army veteran’s to protect the world’s endangered wildlife heritage then so be it.  Recently I’ve been extremely heartened by international Governmental policies regarding the humane treatment of animals.

Such changes take courage, strong effort and time.

Educating people about the importance of wildlife conservation, ecological recycling and food sustainability is one of the greatest challenges for the human race.

Pip’s work has the capacity to move us into seeing the astounding beauty of our natural world.  Booking your wildlife adventure will help countries unlock the full potential of their ecological economy.  Not just Africa and India, everywhere.

Zoom in at the macro level.  Take in the wider picture.

For younger readers especially I’d like to mention that I loved reading Willard Price adventure books whilst I was at mid-schooling age.  Ferocious and informative, exciting and action packed.  Writing and reading is for everyone to enjoy.

“White Rhino, Lake Nakuru” is a masterful painting of a solitary white rhino seemingly asking us about its future.  Certainly for the Northern White Rhino this could not be more pertinent.  Can we allow poaching to ravage our natural wildlife indefinitely?

The stylish colour paintwork, expression and personality of these graceful creatures make this artwork a forever classic like “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” (1971).

Hopefully you will find your Isle of Naboombu and I’m quite sure your local travel agent would find your itinerary an interesting challenge.

"Winner Takes All" by Pip McGarry, Oil on canvas, 60in x 20in, Sold to Private Collector.

“Winner Takes All” by Pip McGarry, Oil on canvas, 60in x 20in, Sold to Private Collector.

In the artwork above, “Winner Takes All” we see a hefty tug of war for any leopard to take on!

The hyper-realist detailing of this magnificent reptile’s scales and the width ways composition give this piece dramatic flair.  The sunlight reflecting from its mighty tail adds to the display of artistry.

"Chilling Out" by Pip McGarry, Oil on canvas, 30in x 20in.

“Chilling Out” by Pip McGarry, Oil on canvas, 30in x 20in.

Snow leopards have always been one of my wildlife favourites.  Their elusive, specialist quality and patient nonchalence is breathtaking to watch.  The speed and fearless nature of their hunger-driven rocky descents into chasing mountain goats is a sheer cliff hanging sight to behold.

A Snow Leopard at relaxed ease like this in “Chilling Out” is a perfectly adorable painting.  Immediately this painting won me over.  Snuggling up to a snow leopard would be a dream come true.

Although definitely not for the faint-hearted.

Painting the intricacy of fur requires a lightness of strokes and wispy handling.  Selecting the best brush for the work is essential. Particularly noticeable to me is his usage and treatment of light throughout his work.  Strong noon sunlight contrasted with evening hues synonymous with the African plains and tropical landscapes.

Pip McGarry is expertly accustomed to using techniques to fine tune adjustments in texture, tone and density for his paintings.  Pip is also a highly accomplished art teacher with on-safari and studio workshop teaching experience encompassing two decades.

The snow leopard’s eyes in “Chilling Out” are completely alive, three dimensional and ponderous.

"Zebras Drinking, Namibia" by Pip McGarry, Oil on canvas, 30in x 20in, Sold at Summer Exhibition 2003.

“Zebras Drinking, Namibia” by Pip McGarry, Oil on canvas, 30in x 20in, Sold at Summer Exhibition 2003.

“Zebras Drinking, Namibia” is compositional brilliance almost entirely in black and white.  This painting demands that our brains make sense of each individual zebra.  Where one starts and where the other outline ends.  Very clever and uniquely distinct.

If property value is based on ‘Location, Location, Location’ then realist art value is based upon ‘Composition, Composition, Composition’.

You cannot better perfection.

Only then can we begin to compute the hyper-realist quality, their water drenched muzzles and trusting comradery.  Thirstiness as a splashing of the liquid surface.  Absolute markings around the head and necks ‘like fingerprints and stars’.

Pip McGarry has extensive wildlife television experience including judging “Wildlife Artist of the Year” for the British Broadcasting Corporation.  He has also been the Artist-in-Residence at Marwell Zoological Park in Hampshire, England for fifteen years.

You can see more about Pip and his artwork at his website here


The Edgar Degas Art Ballet

'The Ballet Class' [c1871-1874) by Edgar Degas (b1834-d1917), Oil on canvas, (H) 85 cm; (W) 75 cm

‘The Ballet Class’ [c1871-1874) by Edgar Degas (b1834-d1917), Oil on canvas, (H) 85 cm; (W) 75 cm

Edgar Degas born Hilaire-Germain-Edgar De Gas, 19 July 1834 – 27 September 1917 was a French artist famous for his paintings, sculptures, prints, and drawings. He is especially identified with the subject of dance; more than half of his works depict dancers.”

Opening quotation courtesy of Wikipedia.

Ballet dancers feature extensively by Degas.  Having seen Degas’ work for myself I can irrefutably attest to his awe-inspiring magnificence.  Please let me be clear, I’m talking about breathtaking quality.

The kind of art works that cause me to wonder-at.. much like a child seeing their first puppy.

‘Rover’ a Manchester Terrier popped his adorable puppy head out from our Dad’s coat jacket.  I was about nine years old.  If you had known our first family dog you would have to say his name was perfectly accurate.  Pretty much everyone within our neighbourhood knew him.  Even the butcher ten minutes walk away at the local shops!  Rover had been known to sit outside looking through the window, waiting.

A nearby family watched him enter their open-gated garden, take their large sheepdogs juicy bone from under its nose and leave like the SAS as if nothing had ever happened.  We only knew because they told us – astounded at his sheer audacity!  Rover once got locked in a neighbours garage, barking for a couple of hours to be let out.  They thought it was a neighbours dog, well it was, ours one road and cul-de-sac away.

As children we’d play with our friends and so the opportunity eventually arose for him to craftily sneak off to do ‘Rover’ business.  One of the funniest things was seeing him regularly ‘jogging’ in front of us, tongue-out looking back at us.  Wouldn’t mind except that we were at full speed on our pedal bikes!

Rover – “an animal which ranges over a wide area.”

Degas had a keen interest in gracefulness and the beauty of depicting honesty in his paintings.

‘The Ballet Class’ shown above has an excellent sense of perspective, order and formal instruction as its theme.  The dancers waist bows are multi-coloured with intentional shine or matte finish.  Floorboards and walls would be painted first ready for his complex ensemble of dancers in their individual postures.

Foreground-left, a girl is uncomfortable and fidgety.  Adding to the sense of flexibility and concentration required for intricate ballet moves.  Degas paints intellectual ideas.  Is this the young girl that attends classes for a few weeks then decides it’s not for her?

Her mother might say –  ‘You loved ballet and we brought you all these lovely clothes boutique et al.’

Their ballet teacher is rigid and strictly characterised in polar contrast to the dancers.  We need to ask – was this momentarily observed by Degas or a structured composition by design?

Likely both.

In 2004 I saw an impossible sight of human perception.  I spoke of this phenomenon to a rare few and made especially careful note.  In 2004 I stood by a paint artist working ‘plein air’ in Rhodes not far from the port itself.  Hidden deep was he, peaceful amongst an ‘orchard’ of trees and deep red flowers.  Likely the red hibiscus.

Speaking with the artist whilst he contrived artily of that gorgeous flower, painting also precisely of certain delicate observations.  His brush movements definitive and skilled.

Whosoever can paint as definitely as Edgar Degas deserves to be earnestly proud.  A Realist of his period and highly capable of masterful Impressionist work.

'Achille De Gas' in the Uniform of a Cadet (1856/1857) by Edgar Degas, Oil on canvas, 64.5 cm x 46.2 cm (25 3/8 in x 18 3/16 in)

‘Achille De Gas’ in the Uniform of a Cadet (1856/1857) by Edgar Degas, Oil on canvas, 64.5 cm x 46.2 cm (25 3/8 in x 18 3/16 in)

Achille Degas is his brother.  Posing here relaxed, casual and at ease in his Cadet uniform.

Photographs of paintings allow us glimpses.  Please trust me when I say that having seen ‘The Beggar Woman’ by Edgar Degas for myself that his work defies belief.  Paint has its own texture within oils.  The substance real and magical of properties through the cunning art of visual illusion.

'Before The Race' by Edgar Degas, Oil on panel, (H) 26.4 cm (10.4 in). (W) 34.9 cm (13.7 in)

‘Before The Race’ (1882-1884) by Edgar Degas, Oil on panel, (H) 26.4 cm (10.4 in). (W) 34.9 cm (13.7 in)

Degas produced numerous compositions of horses and their riders.  I chose to include an Impressionist oil painting for this article.  The bowing horse is particularly alive to me.  Living.  Breathing.

That the painting is some 132 years old does not prevent me from wanting to know what on earth he is thinking bucking like this with his rider.  The far-left horse could be viewing the finish line already!  Or perhaps waiting for a gentle squeeze of knees and heels for the cantering.

The chromatic symmetry is a work of art all of its own.  Burnt umbers, oranges and yellows.  It allows for variety as an artist.  Sometimes its good to exclaim ‘What does my sky matter when the foreground subjects become our EVERYTHING.’

Diversity is depth of feelings.

'After The Bath, Woman Drying Her Neck' (1898) by Edgar Degas, (W) 25.59 in x (H) 24.41 in

‘After The Bath, Woman Drying Her Neck’ (1898) by Edgar Degas,
(W) 25.59 in x (H) 24.41 in

The most exciting thing about nude painting?

Naked trust.  Every single time.