Last week when I was out and about in Belfast city centre during my lunch hour, I popped into Bradbury Graphics to buy some cellophane pockets for blank greeting cards (for my as yet uncompleted card range!). As well as stocking a great range of art and craft materials they have a gallery showing a selection of artists' works. So I had a wander round for a looksee.
There is some fabulous work being exhibited there right now, but one artist in particular totally blew me away. There are several pieces by Neil Dawson in Bradbury Art Gallery at the moment and his style of painting is just stunning. He uses oils and the way he applies the paint reminds me of pointillism - it isn't strictly the same as George Seurat but he does use dots of colour which look amazing especially as the paintings are cityscapes and street scenes which are filled with light and colour.
I was even more impressed when I read the bio on Neil's website as he said that his foundation year at art college actually put him off pursuing art as a career initially in part because he didn't like to talk about his work as he wanted people to make up their own minds about what they were seeing rather than him telling them what they should be seeing.
This, to me, makes such a refreshing change from what I call the 'emperor's new clothes syndrome' in the art world where, in my personal opinion, there can be a lot of pretension with artists spouting a large amount of bunkum as to the deep meaning behind their work and the critics or the public buying into it and hailing them as the next big creative thing. When, quite often, you simply see something that inspires you and you want to recreate it on canvas or paper.
This is what Neil Dawson has done. He is inspired by the noise, bustle and vibrancy of city life and many of his painting are night time views of London or New York. He actually manages to make the street scenes look alive with the movement of the people or vehicles and the way the light reflects. I am just in awe and it again makes me want to experiment with oil paint on a large canvas (ah someday!)
I've attached a few of his paintings here so you can see what I mean. Believe me when I say that, while they still look fantastic here, viewing them on a computer screen absolutely does not do them justice as it is difficult to see the individual dots of colour that are clear when you view them in the flesh.
I sent Neil an email to ask him if I could mention him in my blog and was totally delighted when he replied saying that he would be honoured!
If you get a chance to have a look at any of Neil's art work in the flesh, as it were, I would totally recommend that you do. Keep an eye on his website for any upcoming exhibitions.
Thank you Neil for allowing me to blog about you and for inspiring me to keep on painting!