Last week I had a fascinating time visiting the Portico Library in Manchester.

Such a wonderful atmosphere, surrounded by walls of leather-bound volumes in varying states of wellbeing. Warm lighting from reading lamps, comfy armchairs, mugs of tea on the side tables with folk immersed in reading and research.
What a special place!

I’m very excited to tell you that I will be collaborating with this fabulous library on a project highlighting their beautiful and well-used collection, and promoting their Adopt a Book scheme to help resurrect their more crumbling editions….

I’ll be painting two Shelf Portrait oil paintings.
The first will picture a selection of the more delicate ‘spineless’ books, in need of some TLC, but so fascinating with their variety of under papers: scraps from old newspapers; sheets of hand-written accounts; pages from other books, some upside-down or sideways…
This painting is going to be quite a challenge, but fabulously fun!

The second painting will be representative of the breadth of the Portico’s collection (warts and all, history-wise), and will include some of the skilfully re-bound books, retaining the front and back covers and magically blending them into a new spine with beautifully rendered gold titles.

During September 2023, the Portico Library will be putting the paintings on display, and hosting an event for members and visitors where the conservation team will be giving a presentation about their Adopt a Book scheme, and I will be talking about the paintings. So put Thursday 14th September in your diaries!

The paintings will be for sale, with a percentage of the sale price going to the Portico’s Endangered Book List Fund.
I will also be producing greeting cards from the paintings, which will be for sale in the Portico Library Shop 🙂

So, it’s all very exciting! It was such fun to select the books for the painting and arrange them on the dark wooden shelves – a big thank you to Pat and the rest of the library collections team 🙂

In the meantime, I am immersing myself in a bundle of Pan Paperbacks by the prolific and popular author Agatha Christie. So many classic typefaces to render, and so many delightful scuffs and torn edges 🙂
You can view a little video of me at work here. (I invested in a new phone holder to make it easier to film myself painting, but it attaches to my drawing board and moves whenever I lean on the board, so apologies for the wobbles!!)
Best Wishes,
Roo

Architectural Heritage

I cleared the last of these architecture books, featured in my recent Shelf Portrait painting ‘Architectural Heritage’, off my father’s bookshelves while I was in London last week…

I spent the day thinking about my architectural heritage: the abundance of grand Victorian gothic revival buildings around the country, designed by my great-great-grandfather, Alfred Waterhouse.
My favourite must, of course, be the ‘cathedral to nature’ that is 
The Natural History Museum in South Kensington: I especially love all the little (and not so little) animal relief carvings all around the inside and outside of the building. 

From London I went to Oxford, where I spent a lovely sunny day wandering around with my nephew, who is studying Architecture, seeking out AW buildings. This is a view of the Brackenbury Buildings at Balliol College.
When he wasn’t busy being an eminent Victorian architect, Alfred liked to travel and paint with watercolours.
Here’s one he did in Bressago, Switzerland in 1882.
I’m feeling rather humbled as I return to my studio, but also inspired to stretch myself with creativity!

The Limited Edition print of  ‘Architectural Heritage’ can be found in my shop,

should you fancy one to adorn your walls 🙂

 

What The Dickens……!

Click on the image above to view a little film of me painting along to a Dickensian theme tune 🙂

Full steam ahead….

I’m currently nose to the grindstone getting new paintings ready for an exhibition with Nicholas Bowlby Fine Art at Green and Stone in Chelsea. The exhibition runs from 20th to the 27th June, so do pop in to see my latest work alongside some other inspiring artists’ work 🙂

It has been a revelation for me to listen to  Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities on my headphones as I paint  ‘What the Dickens!’ (pictured in progress above) – so much more interesting than one badly recited sentence at a time in school lessons!!

I am excited to have this Jane Austen mini notebook up in my website shop now, and I will soon be announcing the addition of Jane Austen Limited Edition prints – so watch this space!
Shop Austen Notebooks

Stage Two:

Here’s a view of what my paintings look like before I get to the typography stage….

Beatification: work in progress

I’m enjoying researching the best of the Beat generation for this painting. I’m currently listening to On The Road by Jack Kerouac as I paint….

And now back to the grindstone…….!!
Best Wishes,
Roo

Snowdrops, Starlings and Jane Austen…

I had my first snowdrop sighting of 2022 yesterday on a very blustery coastal walk in Silverdale, also including snow, rain, sunshine, hail and a rainbow!!

After a quick paddle in the sea (trying and failing to stay upright in gale force winds!), joy of joys, my very first experience of a murmuration of starlings, at Jenny Brown’s Point, which settled just 50 yards from my feet before swooping off again, and later coming straight over our heads – what an astounding show!

My incredibly moving starling experience has encouraged me to dig out my binoculars and seek out some more bird focused walks.
Any recommendatio
ns most welcome!
You can bring a touch of the Wonder of Birds into your own home with this ‘Bird Life’ art print from my shop 🙂
Shop Bird Life range
I am very happy to have finished my new ‘Jane Austen’ Shelf Portrait last week, so it will be framed and ready for the Battersea Spring Affordable Art Fair in March, with Limited Edition prints being available from my exhibition open days at UPCO Otley on March 5th and May 1st.

Calm and Collected

There is a definite change in the light and the colours up on the moors this week.

Things are starting to feel more autumnal as October marches on, towards…….

A solo exhibition in Hebden Bridge 🙂

Things are hotting up in my studio as I focus on getting a series of new paintings ready for my solo exhibition Calm and Collected at Northlight Artspace at the end of this month.

My Shelf Portrait paintings of collected possessions (not just books!) hold a reassuring stillness and calm. Conjuring up memories, they give us a chance to reflect upon what is important to us in our daily lives and histories.
In my bookshelf paintings I celebrate a love of books – their power, their magic, the joy and the heartbreak they can give us.

There will be plenty of new bookshelves to browse and a series of new domestic shelves (sneak peek below!).

There will be a preview evening on Thursday 28th October from 6pm to 8pm to which you are all invited.
The exhibition is then open on Friday 29th, Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st from 11am to 5pm.

I look forward to seeing you 🙂

Things Can Only Get Better

I was very busy in the run up to Christmas, completing five new bespoke Shelf-Portrait oil painting commissions.
Mission Accomplished!! So now that they have been delivered and given to their new owners, I can share them with you….
This one is called ‘Things Can Only Get Better’….

rswop18comm-sharonchapman-800
‘Things Can Only Get Better’ for Sharon C. rsw2018

NEW!- Limited Edition Giclee prints

Limited Edition full size Giclee prints of selected original ‘Shelf-Portrait’ oil paintings now available at

The Yorkshire Gallery, Halifax; at Spirals, Hebden Bridge,

or contact me below to order direct…


[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”1″ /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”1″ /][contact-field label=”Limited Edition Giclee enquiry” type=”textarea” required=”1″ /][/contact-form]