The release of the first ever collection of Rolf Harris Prints, well, the first Rolf Harris Limited Edition prints, was eagerly anticipated by his many many thousands of fans, even though Rolf Harris at the time wasnâ€™t particularly well known as a serious artist. Generations of people in the UK had grown up watching him paint his huge Australian paintings on TV with house paint and a big brush and bucket, but these were seen more as visual trickery and entertainment than as artâ€¦the famous line of course being â€˜can you tell what it is yet?â€™â€¦
â€¦ He was famous, and universally loved, but as an entertainer above all, his vast and many-faceted career having included the release of thirty or so albums, an appearance at Glastonbury, and a pretty constant TV presence since his arrival in the UK from Australia in the 60s.
What his public werenâ€™t really aware of was the fact that Rolf was always an artist. As a child his one ambition was to paint pictures. In fact he initially came to England, not to pursue a glittering media career, but to learn to paint.
He attended Kennington Art Schools for a time, but it was only a chance meeting with fellow Australian and impressionist painter Hayward Veal that gave him real impetus. Rolf studied with Hayward for a time, and has painted in an impressionist style ever since.
Rolf Harris has never stopped painting in all of the intervening years, and his practised ease and expertise is clear to see in his work. As that first collection of Rolf Harris Prints showed, he is a man in full control of his artistic powers.
Those first prints sold very quickly to Rolfâ€™s fans, and as he returned his focus to painting, presenting a TV program Rolf on Art, his popularity and the publicâ€™s awareness of him as a painter grew. Rolf Harrisoriginalpaintings have sky rocketed in value over the past few years and are now in high demand, this feed the market for Rolf Harris Limited Edition Prints which are now highly collectible, and vastly popular, the best thing about them being the revelation that Rolf really can paint!
Following on from her achievements as ‘Best New Artist 2008′ & â€˜Artist of the Year 2010,’ Rebecca Lardner, has achieved outstanding success for her wonderful oils on canvas. These oils are delightfully distinctive, as she tends to depict the hustle and bustle that surrounds English harbour life.
Lardner manages to create a feeling of ceaseless activity and energy in her works through the composition of the sweeping shore lines that mimic the natural curves of the English coast, her portrayal of people-filled beaches, the inclusion of the docking boats and the addition of observant seagulls perched along the shoreline.
Her coastal scenes, although not painted in a realist style, manage to conjure up nostalgic memories of family trips to the seaside, as her seascapes somehow seem all so familiar. This wonderful feeling of familiarity is actively created by Lardner through her choice of colour. The palette she uses to depict her idyllic harbours are strongly based on the colours of the sea and surrounding land. Rebecca Lardner remains completely loyal to the blues, greens, and greys and beiges that dominate the seas and skies of most English coast lines
Her characteristic works have a way of immediately transporting you to the seaside where you are breathing in the fresh sea air, rolling up your trousers to the knee and braving the chilly coastal waters for a few seconds at a time
Here’s a challenge, how many birds and how many different breeds of birds can you spot in each painting?
Explore the UK’s coastline – google maps of the English coastline
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seaside_resort – interesting section on ‘British Seaside Resorts’
www.visitblackpool.com – we couldnâ€™t leave off Britain’s most famous seaside resort now could we?
For the first time in its 113 year history, art from the Governmentâ€™s collection is currently being exhibited in the Whitechapel Gallery, East London.
I Wonder What My Heroes Think of the Space Race by Derek Boshier (painted in 1962)
The exhibition titled â€˜Government Art Collection: At Workâ€™ displays the varying traditional, historical, and contemporary artworks that hang upon the walls of numerous political buildings throughout the worlds cities, and inspire Governments at work. This collection consists of pieces chosen by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Lord Mandelson, former Business Secretary Dame Anne Pringle, Lord Boateng; former Government Minister and British High Commissioner to South Africa, and the Prime Ministerâ€™s Wife; Samantha Cameron; to name but a few.
The idea for this Government Art exhibition was the brain child of Culture Minister Ed Vaizy, who thought it an interesting idea to share the governmentâ€™s unique and extremely large collection of art with the public. Vaizy explained how covering embassies and government office walls with art was cheaper than continuously redecorating, as a lot of the art owned by the Government was either donated, or in some cases purchased before artists would gain wide recognition (and therefore a lot more money) for their work.
Margate 1 Sand (2006) by Tracey Emin
Samantha Cameron has indicated how she is a fan of contemporary art and artists such as Tracey Emin. The Government Art Collection (GAC) bought two prints by the controversial and much talked about Emin, costing them a total of Â£14000; an amount that didnâ€™t pass by without criticism. Other contemporary artworks purchased by the GAC also include David Batchelorâ€™s Walldella VI; a sculpture made up of low energy light-bulbs and old plastic bottles.
Lancashire Fair: Good Friday, Daisy Nook (1946) by L.S. Lowry
L.S. Lowry is another artist that features at the Whitehall Gallery, as his piece titled Lancashire Fair â€“ Good Friday, Daisy Nook was personally selected by Samantha Cameron to be shown as a part of the At Work collection. This quintessentially English piece usually takes pride of place at Number 10 Downing Street.
The free exhibition will tour Birmingham and Belfast and will run until the end of 2012