I was three hours early for an appointment in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire so I decided to scan the area and get to know it better seeing as it was my first time being there. I was absentmindedly walking down the streets when I noticed this sign that read ‘Castle Galleries‘ and decided I had three hours to spare so why not have a quick look through. I am glad I decided to check it out because I was speechless the moment I walked in. It is a small and cozy gallery mind you. But the art it contained could not have been produced by small minds. There was something for everyone. The quirky types, the romantics, the absurd, nature’s lovers and every genre you can possibly imagine. I found myself particularly drawn to the quirkiness of Peter Smith, the absurd yet captivating qualities of Mark Grieves’ work, the risque quality in Drew Darcy’s frames and the sheer beauty of Paul Kenton’s pieces. I most certainly do not regret showing up three hours early for an appointment. These are a few of the paintings that grasped my attention.
‘Painted in oils on canvas my little characters are presented like the typical portrait paintings of old; quite still and ordinary.Yet there is plenty about them that is peculiar. A beguiling charm made all the more apparent by their enigmatic gaze.They are vulnerable in scale, sharing neither their proportions nor their features.Their sizable heads and characteristic hair dominate the canvas,equalled only by the charming nervousness revealed within the peripheral ‘full stop’ eyes that stare blankly back at you.The absence of a mouth perhaps gives you the impression that they are essentially solitary and lonely characters, devoid of communication, but this is not true; they provide a range of sentiments from hope and joy to thoughtfulness and melancholy…’
Peter Smith is an award winning international contemporary artist, creator of one of the UK’s most collectable artwork and famous for his striped rotund characters called the ‘Impossimals.‘
Born in Derby, Paul Kenton produces energetic interpretations of the worlds most iconic city views. I especially appreciated his lucid lineal style. He cuts through the canvas with animated lines that create simple yet distinct cityscapes. Paul Kenton’s cityscapes find themselves between reality and complete abstraction. HIs choice of iconic city views combined with his expressive style create truly unique images. Kenton employs a technique known as “drip painting” whereby the paint is dripped from the end of the paintbrush onto the canvas. This allows for the lines to be free flowing and less rigid. It is a technique most famously used by Jackson Pollock. When I was finally able to catch my breath after staring at his paintings, all I could say was, “C’est magnifique!”
Mark’s absurd architectural shapes are very intriguing. “I am interested in dark shapes and shadows,” Mark says. This is very evident as he portrays shapes constructed and inhabited by little faceless anonymous people.
Joanne’s beautifully huge ladies and their gorgeous shoes will arouse the shoe (or feet for that matter) fetish in each of us.