Tag: En Plein Air

Hale, Mersey, Full of Grace

Hale, Mersey exhibition title, 2017

Cass Art Space, Liverpool, UK
9th – 22nd January 2017

Why do certain places appear to have a tangible, yet indefinable sense of significance?

Contemporary artist John Elcock examined this phenomenon with an exhibition of new paintings at Cass Art Space Liverpool, which responded to Hale village through its landscape and remarkable birdlife.

Hale, Mersey, Full of Grace featured a series of works that had developed from a year exploring the coastline of this isolated yet beautiful landscape situated less than ten miles from the centre of Liverpool.

Paintings and drawings revealed enigmatic landscape features such as Hale’s historic duck decoy and abandoned wartime structures on the shoreline. He also incorporated into his work species he had observed whilst walking the Mersey estuary and which characterise the area as an important SSSI.

The exhibition included a unique set of bird ikons. John commented:
‘There is something special in the nature of birds which bridges the Divine and the Temporal. The iconographic paintings are my attempt to realise this and return something of their generosity throughout my many visits to Hale’.

Cass Art Space, Liverpool

Cass Art Space, Liverpool (Jan 2017): Hale, Mersey, Full of Grace

For exhibition information visit Cass Art Space, Liverpool and ArtRabbit

An Exhibition Catalogue is also still available.

Dawn, North Sea

A companion sketch to one made of the sea at Dusk. The character of the open sea is fascinating to capture, the light endlessly changing.. ideal for watercolour. This study was probably taken some distance above the Doggerland.

The North Sea, Dawn.

The North Sea, Dawn.

Strange to imagine that in the Holocene, aurochs, woolly rhino and wild boar were passing unhindered around 25m under the keel of the ship. Now the sun plays on the purple waters.

Watercolour on paper, 59x42cm

The Red Hut

Each visit to this area of the Mersey Estuary opens up new vistas and shifting plays of light and space. There are many walks in this area of Speke which are secreted, seemingly outside of time and space, rich in birdlife. This view is not one of them however, it can be easily reached yet affords fresh inspiration on every visit, given the vagaries of the season and the day.

The Mystery at the Trinity

A long autumn sun warms the gravestones at Holy Trinity. In the mid-distance a swathe of grass known locally as The Mystery, flanked by a row of trees bent eastwards by years of westerly winds. Language and landscape merge poetically at this spot. This is an old corner of England, subsumed in the 19th century by the expanding terraces and streets; passed daily by thousands, blue blazers, buses and busy lives.

Holy Trinity churchyard, overlooking the Mystery

Holy Trinity, Wavertree

This is a small field sketch painted in around an hour capturing the last of the sun, and the last perhaps of that summer. In the distance, Gilbert Scott’s sublime tower ever so subtly narrows over its 330ft height, I often think an elegant reminder of Lutyen’s cenotaph whose inclination points ever heavenwards.

Acrylic on board
30×20 com


At Oglet Shore

This offers a counterpoint to the short winter days. Painted on a blisteringly hot summer afternoon on the banks of the Mersey, the wind and rain of a protracted winter long forgotten, sandflies buzz around the detritus on the beach and the paints harden on the palette quicker than one can mix them. This is the Oglet shore, where I have seen Reed Buntings and Dunlin skulk on winter days and Oystercatcher pipe in high summer.

Painting of Oglet Shore near Hale, Liverpool
Oglet Shore

The lighthouse sits left and in the foreground spears of red grass struggle out of the parched grass. In the distance are the familiar nested chimneys of Stanlow refinery. Having forgotten to include white in the palette it was amusing to mix afresh and reveal a fitting apocalyptic glow to the landscape.

Acrylic on canvas, 30x20cm