From 2 til 5pm on Saturday afternoon, visitors were invited to watch the landscape artist Lawrence Coulson paint a new piece at the Castle Gallery in the Exchange Arcade. Coulson paints mainly from his imagination, favouring deep horizons and dramatic skies that dwarf the lands and scares figures beneath them. With an easel set up in the corner, a stormy night or evening sky was taking form, applied with a small flat brush and a damp cloth. It seemed to be progressing rapidly in the first hour, though I was informed that the final, tiny details added towards the end took longer. I returned a while later to find a coastal scene with the moon appearing behind rolling clouds and little sign of civilisation, except for one tiny figure on the shore and the illuminations of a distant settlement.
Much of Coulson’s work makes the light and colours of the sky the major (often daunting) presence in each scene. His depiction of the visual effect of various combinations of light, air and water is verging on the hyperreal in some cases, but this is still impressive given that he paints without any visual reference.
It was really excellent to see the blank canvas transformed before my eyes, and to smell the freshly applied oil paint. It’s a great idea to have potential collectors (and perhaps other artists looking for advice or guidance) “meet the artist” who created the work.
There were a few new additions at the gallery since my last visit, including some bold cityscapes from Derby-born artist Paul Kenton. I was also excited to hear that an exhibition of photographer Eve Arnold’s work is coming soon – she was the first woman to be hired by Magnum Photos, and is probably most famous for her depictions of Marilyn Monroe. Arnold was also deeply interested in documenting the various lives of diverse people, and had a knack for original and thoughtful framing. I’m looking forward to this one.
Rosy has moved to Nottingham after three years away, and is really happy to be back. She’s particularly enjoying the charity shops, the new record stores and exploring the area by bike. Follow her on Twitter @HowManyRoses.