Artist..Kevin M Paulsen

I’m very lucky to be Facebook friends with Clive Hicks-Jenkins an artist whose work I admire hugely. He generously shares his work on Facebook, his thought processes and sketches, models and maquettes. I can’t claim to understand or recognize all his references, the symbols, the folklore……but then I don’t think that matters, what matters is that his work stimulates, excites, resonates and makes my life richer.

Last week on his blog (Clive Hicks-Jenkins Artlog) he introduced an American artist Kevin M Paulsen. I realized that through my work (at one time) as an interior designer I had come across this chap through his mural work.

He is perhaps best known for his murals and decorations for early American houses…..but there is so very much more to this man.

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His work conjures up the past with his use of traditional colours, earth tones of red, ochre and green and his love of patina, his use of classical architecture, pavilions, spewing volcanoes and ships at full mast.

His drawings and paintings are often presented as if seen on a stage through a proscenium of swags and elaborate drapes or between classical columns and ruins that might suggest a ‘grand tour’. His fantastical buildings are draped with lights and flags. In fact flags and banners, sails, tented pavilions and fabric screens are prevalent in his work.

What are the flags and pennants celebrating and what’s going on inside those pavilions and behind those screens? Where are his vast sailing ships with hundreds of sails and flags going to or coming from and who inhabits his buildings?

Looking at his work I’m invited into a world that is dreamlike, part recognized, part fantastical and a little scary (but in a good way!) with swirling mists and shimmering water, neo-classical architecture and weeping willows, the occasional figure (lovers or murderers)…….I love it.

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I’m now a Facebook friend of Kevin Paulsen….I think it’s going to be interesting.

 

 

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Book Bingo and my first completed squares!

My partner Phil and I volunteer at our local community library which stopped being funded by the IOW council and has been taken over by Shanklin Town Council. If the town council hadn’t taken it over we’d have lost the library for good……incredible isn’t it!

We have one paid member of staff and a team of volunteers. Fundraising in circumstances like this is very important. Phil over at reviewsrevues.com (read the whole story there!) had the idea to produce bingo cards set with reading challenges instead of numbers. Sold at £3 per card they aim to generate some much needed money and get library users talking and excited about books.

If you complete a line you get a small prize and at the end of six months the first full house card pulled out of the hat will receive a Grand Prize!

The scheme was introduced at a library coffee morning last week with the Mayor, High Sheriff, local press and radio in attendance. We were interviewed and it was on the local radio hourly news bulletins throughout the day.

Already the response has been incredibly enthusiastic with people coming in for their first stickers and wanting to talk about their books.

So here are my first two stickers and the books I read!

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“The Sketchbook War, Saving the nation’s artist’s in world war two”, by Richard Knott and “Eric Ravillious, masterpieces of art”, by Susie Hodge.

The 1930s and 40s seemed to produce a rich seam of British artists and illustrators and some of my favourites are Edward Ardizzone, Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious, Evelyn Dunbar and Lara Knight, all of whom produced large bodies of work during the war.

(I think we we are lucky enough to have found another rich seam  with likes of Clive Hicks-Jenkins, Paul Bommer, Ed Kluz, Mark Hearld, Angie Lewin, Kit Boyd and Emily Sutton, amongst others).

The Sketchbook War tells the story of some of the artists who went to the front to capture something of the life and death, horror and destruction caused by war (I’m not sure they were supposed to show so much of the horror and destruction after all ‘ the powers that be’ don’t like to highlight that inevitable aspect of war).

It’s a fascinating read with information gathered from the artists’ letters and from recorded interviews (from those who survived!). I don’t always want to know too much about the private lives of the actors, musicians and artists whose work I admire in case I’m disappointed but in this instance I find myself even more impressed and inspired by their work.

My only criticism of the book is that there are not enough examples of the work talked about……however of course that’s set me the task of searching out more books about these artists. The first one I’ve discovered is from the Masterpieces of Art series and deals with Eric Ravilious.

Eric Ravilious was responsible for a magnificent range of different works, workbook illustrations to ceramic designs for Wedgwood, from travel posters to murals and watercolours. The first part of the book deals simply and straightforwardly with a biography of his life interspersed with examples of his work while the rest of the book allows the reader to enjoy his extraordinary work, his landscapes and interiors, wood engravings, High Street illustrations and War art.

On 28 August 1942 Eric Ravilious flew to Reykjavik and then travelled on to RAF Kaldadarnes on the coast. On his arrival, on 1 September, an aircraft failed to return to base from an operational flight and the next morning three planes were despatched at dawn to search for it. Ravilious chose to join one of the search missions. But his aircraft failed to return and after four days of searching the RAF declared Ravilious and the rest of the four-man crew lost in action. His body has never been recovered.

As a fan of his work I can see this being a book that I’ll treasure.