I was brought up in an era of good quality children's television. Shows such as ZZZap! and Art Attack spring to mind. You know, if there's one Art Attack I'll never forget, it was a tree, of course made out of papier mache, which had secret storage compartments in the trunk, in a little tree house… Hidden through out! Now, I had papier mache skills. I've been an artist all my life. But could I master this particular one?! Could I heck! It always seemed to end up looking a mess… *sigh*
Anyway, I'm past those days now (I say, trying to convince myself), and when I heard that the presenter of that very programme, Neil Buchanan, was launching his own fine art exhibition in Liverpool? Well, I just had to be there.
The launch was located in Rennie's Art Gallery, a lovely gallery with a wonderful art shop attached. There were balloons outside inviting people in, and the atmosphere in there was one of the warmest I've experienced. At the entrance was a wonderful display of cakes (ok, you didn't need to know that, but I'm sugar free at the moment, and man, were they tempting!) and everyone was so welcoming and attentive.
It was, as you may expect, bustling with people, and a real variety of people at that. Neil was being interviewed, and was answering a steady flow of questions. (Apologies for the mid-shrug moment!)
Then you stand still, and look in front of you, and… just wow. This series of paintings are loosely based on him and his sister as children. The atmosphere captured in each painting is touching, and the skill is obvious.
There are a few things about the paintings which really stood out to me.
• The striking blue backgrounds, which somehow work in every single painting.
• The two children always wear the same outfits, painted with so much texture and movement.
• The older girl always looks likes she's taking care of the younger boy.
• You never see their faces.
The last point is probably what intrigues me most, and I would love to know why. I think why these paintings are so wonderful, and call out to me so much, is that everyone can identify with them. It's childhood, lovingly captured.
I can't leave without sharing a single image, I hope noone minds.
To see the images in the exhibition, and you really must, check out Neil's website.