Lockdown has not stopped the creativity of The Albany Gallery's latest exhibitors
The four artists exhibiting have all sought inspiration from the natural world around them during the Covid-19 restrictions.
With works created during the last 12 months, artists Thomas Haskett, Peter Morgan, Malcolm Murphy and Eleanor Whiteman have created beautiful, atmospheric paintings of landscapes around Pembrokeshire and South Wales.
Thomas Haskett was born and raised in rural Kent. He left to study illustration at Falmouth School of Art in Cornwall where he lived and worked for some time as a freelance illustrator and he has now relocated to the western fringes of Pembrokeshire where he focuses on his painting.
Much of his work features hauntingly beautiful images of Pembrokeshire, from the sun shining on the sea at Whitesands Beach to the coastal path at Newport.
Thomas says: “The paintings for this show span the previous year, and cover all the seasons and changes we’ve experienced throughout it. Quite a few of the paintings were made just as we emerged from the first lockdown, and before the hospitality sector reopened, so everywhere was really quiet and peaceful. We had one of the busiest summers I’ve ever seen, so I was glad to have been able to catch those few halcyon days.
The vast majority of the work is of Pembrokeshire as we weren’t able to travel quite as much this year. We had a really long run of fine settled weather, that provided some beautiful warm evening light and some nice evenings for painting at the beach. We were also lucky enough to get some decent snow this winter, and coupled with some bright sunny days it made for some of my favourite paintings ever.”
Born in Pembrokeshire, Peter Morgan is most well-known for his dramatic whitewashed cottages hidden behind stone walls. Working mainly in acrylics, embracing a range of techniques including glazing, impasto and direct painting. He paints using layers of texture and colour to create an image on either card or canvas.
He says his daily lockdown walk provided the perfect inspiration for his work.
Peter says: “Lockdown has, for everyone, been a very peculiar experience. For some artists, working on your own for long hours is similar. Having the added restriction to stay local to find inspiration can limit the mind and pallet.
Luckily for me I live in a landscape full of character and charm. The ever-changing weather patterns during my daily walk have given me inspiration to look deeper at what is around me, to look at the light on the hedgerows and the cloud formation. Sometimes the sun made an appearance through the winter clouds. Even my old sketch books have been revisited for inspiration.
I believe the current body of work on display at The Albany Gallery has more depth than previous years as I have limited my pallet of colours which are pushed around to form more movement.”
Malcolm Murphy has lived in South Wales all his life. His paintings use a range of media to portray expression and motion in the human form and from a diverse range of subjects.
This year he has gathered photos while out exercising and many of the works reflect Cardiff in lockdown.
He says: “I have produced 13 oil on canvas paintings, in a variety of locations, mainly of our beautiful Cardiff and some further away with depictions of Penarth, Barry Island and the wonderful Tenby.
As ever a few of my pieces involve Cardiff’s infamous rainy settings, offering an opportunity to make full use of the glossy mirroring from the puddles left by the many downpours.”
Caerphilly-based print artist Eleanor Whiteman has a natural love for Pembrokeshire, which is a constant source of inspiration for her. She is a member of Cardiff Print Workshop, where she has access to a traditional printing press, but most of her work is done in her studio where she burnishes the majority of her prints by hand.
Eleanor says: “I have always been drawn to the coast and many of my childhood holidays were spent in Pembrokeshire. The work in this exhibition includes both paintings and lino prints and is an exploration of my continued relationship with that place. The work was made from a combination of photographs, sketches and memory as I haven’t been able to visit during lockdown. Soon, I hope!”