Jackdaws At Dusk

Jackdaws At Dusk

Monday, 25 October 2010

Peter Prendergast

Peter Prendergast, "Autumn Evening Towards Penrhyn Castle" 1994. Acrylic on Canvas. 106.7 by 61 (website didn't say inches or centimeters but I'm assuming it's cm) Copyright the Bridgeman Education Site.

New project time; "Landscape."

This little beauty of a painting is by Welsh artist Peter Prendergast. He grew up in South Wales and then spent the majority of his career up in North Wales. The two landscapes of North and South being very different is interesting to note, South being more rolling valleys and North being more rugged mountains. This painting, even though painted "Up North" has all the rolling hills of the South (where I live) so I wonder if he was never quite able to shake off his roots.

I had a little chuckle to myself when I felt saw this image on the Bridgeman site yesterday because they'd displayed it the wrong way up. It was lying on it's side and needed to be rotated anti-clockwise. I contacted them and told them and within 24 they'd sorted the problem, very efficient. It just makes me wonder that with the expressive style on this painting that maybe at first glance it looked like it should have been displayed that way! (Try looking at it with you head bent to the left, it still looks like a good painting. Even Kandinsky didn't recognize one of his own paintings when he saw it displayed upside down.) However I knew it should be landscape format because of the hint of horizon, and the contrast of bluish colour for the sky and greenish colours for the ground.

I did an A3 version of one of his paintings very similar to this in my paper logbook. It was very satisfying to paint. Thick, gloppy acrylic paint and intense unreal colours with such strongly contrasting tonal areas. It only took my five minutes to paint it because I wanted to keep the expressive style. He always painted outside too, so the weather affected his paintings very strongly as can be seen from the stormy skies in the painting above. There are seven paintings of his owned by the National Museum of Wales in Cardiff so I'll be making an appointment to see them in the vaults, unfortunately they aren't on display in the galleries. Seeing his paintings in the flesh will be very interesting.

It's worth pointing out that he was taught by Frank Auerbach in the Slade in London, and has been accused of copying his tutors style with his use of thick black outlines, but seeing paintings that Prendergast created when he was a teenager (which I saw reproduced in the book on Prendergast's work "The Painters Quarry") shows very clearly that he had this thick and heavily outlined style before he'd even stepped foot in the city.

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