A number of weeks we wrote a blog about newly published artist George Somerville and compared his work to that of Alexander Millarâ€™s, today the blog will focus on Alexander.
A professional artist for some 21 years, Alexander Millar was born and raised in a small mining village in 1960 near Glasgow called Springside & in his own words it felt more like growing up in the 1940s than the 1960s! He spent a lot of his youth around the older generation of Scots: men dressed in dark suits, smoking pipes, and burly women in aprons and headscarves.
His dad worked for British Rail & as a child accompanying him to work, Alexander gained more inspiration for his future paintings as he found the old Railway stations to be very Romantic. Of course the architecture of these stations would have been nostalgic & a throw back to Scotlandâ€™s industrial past – this influence is seen throughout Alexâ€™s paintings.
Moving to Newcastle-Upon-Tyne after finishing school aged 16, he tried several jobs before becoming a professional artist in 1988. He claims that it was quite a culture shock to move from the sleepy village he grew up in, to the hustle and bustle of the city, as you can imagine! But the city also had its own share of â€˜Gadgiesâ€™ – (a northern Scottish term for an older generation man) to inspire his paintings.
Fuelled by his extensive Childhood memories, he had a huge source of inspiration to work from, what is more astonishing is that Alexander is a self taught artist, which is an amazing achievement for any commercial artist.
Today I have created a Christmassy Blog to get us all in the mood for Christmas!!!
Perhaps we will have a white Christmas this year! People are supposedly spending more money compared to last Christmas, so the news reporters are saying the recession is ending! Whether this is true or not we shall have to wait and see.
So, many artists have created festive art, old and new, and here are a few of my favourites:
Christmas Contemplation by Steven Binks
Steven Binks is best known for his pictures of rusty farming machinery such as tractors. As a boy, he lived on a farm with his parents in Suffolk and this is why he likes to paint images of tractors. The above picture is much different to the majority of his art, as he rarely paints people as the focal point of his picture. This lady seems to have got her white Christmas after all!
When I Saw Through His Disguise by Alexander Millar
Alexander Millar Paints Gadgies; That is to say, old people. However, they always seem to be having fun in his pictures, on their way to or from an interesting event. The aptly named title mentioned above refers to his santa hood coming off which makes you realise its the same old gadgie that Millar always paints dressed as Santa Claus. His real hat gives his “disguise” away!
Man Of Snow by Paul Horton
Paul Hortons snowman range (he has done more than one) have proved very popular with his fans, selling out very quickly. His other snowman pictures features the snowman much smaller in the pictures, so I chose to show you this one so you can see why the fans love him so. Horton’s snowman reminds me of the innocence of youth at Christmas time:)
Dont You Just Love This Time Of Year by John Wilson
John Wison is well known by his fans for his child-like drawn characters in the foreground, yet adult backgrounds with miniature copies of famous art works by artists such as Van Gogh on the walls of his chosen background. It is a very clever style, at first glance the picture could be dismissed as childish and naiive. However, look closer and you see those characters are in our world!!
Is That It? by Peter Smith
Peter Smith paints pictures of lovable creatures which he has named “Impossimals”. This one in particular is a little disappointed in the size of his Christmas present! Smith’s art is simple yet endearing, and this one is no different. Fans of Peter Smith should be aware that he is currently making some new pieces, and has told us on his blog that one of his new Impossimals will have teeth and claws!! So this will be something new and exciting to look foward to!!
Winter In The City by Henderson Cisz
I just had to add this one as we have had the snow and ice already and so I thought this picture was apt! Cisz is well known for his cityscapes and his ability to catch the hustle and bustle of a city on his pictures. This picture looks as it is in London at the moment, icy roads and people last minute shopping for their christmas gifts.
Thank You for reading everyone
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all
She was well known for painting slightly larger ladies on a night out on the town, in short, tight dresses as well as enjoying other frivolities. Beryl Cook’s humorous take on the human race created a very big following for this talented lady. She was been lucky enough to be on TV, had films made about her, was made an OBE and all because a friend who owned an auction in Plymouth persuaded her to sell some of her art in their shop!
Clubbing In The Rain by Beryl Cook
She was born in 1926 and did not show any artisitc talent in her youth. However, in 1943 she was a showgirl in a touring production called “The Gypsy Princess” and that, coupled with work experience in the fashion industry, was her inspiration and caused her fascination with the way people look and dress. This we can clearly see in her art.
Hen Night by Beryl Cook
Later, while living in Plymouth with her husband, she used to go out to bars and clubs where they enjoyed watching the flamboyance of drag shows. This was another inspiration which has affected her style in her art work.
Panto Dame by Beryl Cook
Beryl Cook’s work was first exhibited in 1975 and was highly successful. In fact, it was so successful that an article was done in the Sunday Times about her works shortly after, followed by a call from a London Gallery who offered Beryl her first ever London Exhibition, and the rest is history!
Tarzanogram by Beryl Cook
She has said that other artists that have inspired her work include Stanley Spencer and Edward Burra.
Beryl recieved an OBE in 1995, and even contributed to the Queens Golden Jubilee exhibition in 2002 which was another great success for her.
Finally, she has been televised several times, whether they be in animation form, documentary or Chat show:
A film was made about her for The South Bank Show.
2 half hour animated films were made about her with an all star cast which was called “Bosom Pals” This also won some awards for Beryl.
Also, in 2005 Channel 4 did a short film about her work, and in 2006 BBC featured her in a show called “Art School”.
Sadly, Berly passed away in May 2008. But she lives on through her many fans and her sense of humour will forever be visible in her work.
Click here to see The Guardians obituary for this talented lady
Thanks for reading
Welsh artist Kerry Darlington makes amazing art work. If you dont believe me go and see for yourself. Her use of acrylic and oil, textures and use of gesso, as well as glazing the final product, makes for a very original looking style that is totally different from other artists.
Living Tree by Kerry Darlington
Darlington was inspired to do a degree in illustration by old picture books by authors such as Rackham, Dulac and Beardsly. Which, as well as travelling and working abroad, led her to become the artist she is today.
Tree Of Life by Kerry Darlington
Her first collection in 2006 was called the “Volcanic Collection” and was based on satellite photographs of Earth and quickly became very sought after. Her newest piece is no exception, Tree of life is an extremely popular piece due to its total uniqueness in the art world at the present.
Abstract Tree by Kerry Darlington
In 2007, Darlington was a finalist in the “Best Up and Coming Published Artist” category in the Fine Art Trade Guild Awards, and we expect to see a great deal more from this artist in the future.
Click here to read more about illustration which inspired Kerry
More about the Fine Art Trade Guild Awards here
I am sure this will be the first of many posts about this extraordinary artist. Watch this space!
Thanks for reading