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Marian Mahler Mid century textiles

November 7, 2022

Hi !

I thought that it’s a while since I have said hello to everyone reading my posts. Hey what a strange and varied time we are in !

I hope this finds you all well and that you are discovering some simple things to inspire and interest you. For myself I think it is all about keeping myself active, engaged and present, even when I have to spend copious amount of hours indoors or at home. Please feel free to peruse the back issues of posts on my site, they go back over the last ten years and there are over 1200 of them for you to read, look at and hopefully loose yourselves in. Do let me know if you find a connection in one or more of them and I hope you find them inspirational and engaging.

Remember with Christmas fast approaching, to shop small and support small businesses this year more than ever. We all need to put our savings into shopping small and keeping those creative tiny companies alive and well or come next year, they may no longer be around. If you like Ceramics then please take a look from my stories and feed what I have available for sale and I can ship my work to anywhere worldwide, even direct to your chosen recipient ! Follow me today on Instagram @fishinkblog.

So.. onto today’s creative artist.

Marian Mahler (1911-1983) Austrian born had trained at the Kuntgewerbeschule in Vienna  (1929-32) and at the Royal State Academy, with some of her early designs being produced by the Wiener Werkstatte.

She arrived in Britain in 1937 as Marianne Mahler and worked as a free-lance designer,  having supplied leading firms with her designs before the war.

During the early 1950’s she produced many designs for Allan Walton Textiles, Edinburgh Weavers, Donald Brothers Ltd. and Helios.

Her best client was David Whitehead in his ‘Contemporary Prints’ range. Whitehead’s were Britain’s most dynamic printed textile company, based in Rawtenstall, Lancashire. By 1948 the company was directed by architect Dr John Murray, whose ambition was to establish the Company in the forefront of contemporary design and to make good designs available on the mass market.

He wrote an article on his philosophy The cheap need not be cheap and nasty which was published in Design , Dec 1950. Twenty of their designs were chosen to be displayed at the Festival of Britain and on the SS Campania, the touring ship of the festival.

She also created a few book covers for Penguin books too.

Lovely work and a great influence on British fabrics during the 50’s and 60’s. If you liked this post you will also be interested in the one on Lucienne Day and Barbara Brown. Apologies if I may have accidently included one of Lucienne Day’s designs in with Marian’s above, they both used similar motifs at times an so it is easy to get them confused.

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Enid Marx A design pioneer

October 31, 2022

Enid Dorothy Crystal Marx was born in London on 20th October 1902. She first went to school in Hampstead, then at the age of 12 she boarded at Roedean in West Sussex where she benefited from an excellent art teacher. In 1921 she entered the Central School of Arts & Crafts to study drawing, pottery and printed textile design. After a year she went to the Royal College of Art (RCA), where she studied under Paul Nash, among others, with fellow students, and future RDIs (Royal Designer for Industry), Edward Bawden and Barnett Freedman. The assessor failed her diploma piece as being too abstract but sixty years later the RCA appointed Marx an Honorary Fellow in 1982 and Senior Fellow in 1987.

Gallimaufry, the College magazine, included Marx in its ‘Hall of Fame’ for 1925 because ‘among all the misses who flirt with Art, she alone woos it seriously’. Nash recognized her originality as a pattern maker and he encouraged her to become an early member of the Society of Wood Engravers and the Society of Artists.

Marx spent a year in the studio of Phyllis Barron and Dorothy Larcher as their apprentice. She learned how to mix dyes and the craft of hand-block printing on textiles. In 1926 she set up her own studio printing her usually abstract and geometric designs on various materials. These soon became extremely fashionable and sought-after.  A reviewer of the 1928 Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society’s exhibition, for the RSA Journal, said that ‘Enid Marx is an able designer; her printed linen…might be taken as a good example of a good collection’. Two years later a review of her first one-women show at the Little Gallery elicited an appreciation of her designs, ‘somehow she manages to combine forms that are essentially in the modern spirit with large harmonies that have the most agreeable traditional suavity’.

Just a small selection of the repeat patterns that Enid created.

Marx showed her work at many exhibitions including Zwemmer’s ‘Room and Book’ and ‘Artists of Today’ shows, as well as the 1935 Paris Expo. Christian Barman RDI of London Transport commissioned Marx to design seating fabrics for their trains and buses (1935). They formed a mutual admiration society, Barman praised her work and Marx wrote his obituary for Design magazine (1980). Other commissions included lining fabrics for luggage designed by John Waterer RDI.

Curwen Press commissioned a number of her repeat patterns on paper to bind their publications. Book covers and wood engravings were commissioned by a number of publishers, including Chatto & Windus, Hogarth Press, Faber & Faber and Penguin, as well as being featured in various publications such as Artwork, The Studio and The Woodcut Annual. She also wrote and illustrated a number of children’s books and, with her lifelong companion, the historian Margaret Lambert, she published pioneering works on folk art – a subject close to her heart. English Popular and Traditional Art, published in 1946, was Marx believed ‘the first time there had been an overall survey, and the notion that there was indeed such a thing as English popular art’. Her bequest of the Marx-Lambert collection of 19th century ephemera, to join their holdings of British folk art has ensured that Compton Verney holds the largest collection of popular art in Britain.

With Paul Nash and Eric Ravilious, Marx taught wood engraving at the Ruskin School, Oxford (1931-33) and she spent a term, as cover for an absent tutor, at Gravesend School of Art. She took her students, including the future RDI Sir Peter Blake, to see a considerable collection of ships’ figureheads. Blake hints that this might have been the start of his own enthusiasm for popular art. At the age of 63 Marx took up full-time teaching at Croydon College of Arts as Head of the Department of Dress, Textiles and Ceramics (1965-70). ‘I was rotten at admin…but the students were poppets’, she wrote. ‘I think they only wanted me for my RDI!’ She continued to help and advise students until she was well into her nineties.

During the Second World War Marx was one of the artists invited by Sir Kenneth Clark to participate in his ‘Recording Britain’ scheme to record the country’s natural beauty and architectural heritage under threat from German bombing and other destructive forces. To her surprise her children’s book, Bulgy the Barrage Balloon, was an instant success. As well as writing and illustrating several more books Marx also produced little chapbooks, printed on off-cuts to amuse the young during air raids.

After the war Marx was invited to join one of the teams sent, by the British government, to Germany to report on how the Germans set about training designers. Margaret Lambert wrote up their findings in a report for the Board of Trade and its publication subsequently helped Robin Darwin form many of his ideas for reshaping the RCA when he became Principal. Marx went on a similar fact finding visit to the Scandinavian countries and reported that, in spite of the war, they had managed to achieve work of quality and innovation. Towards the end of the war Sir Gordon Russell RDI invited Marx to join the Design Panel of the Utility Committee. Her textile designs were produced by Alastair Morton RDI at Morton Sundour and exhibited at Britain Can Make It (1946). Morton and Marx shared a close and creative relationship for the rest of their lives. These utility fabrics also featured in the RSA’s Design at Work exhibition (1948) and she wrote the section on ‘Furnishing Fabrics’ in the accompanying booklet. For the Festival of Britain (1951) Marx helped RDIs Milner Gray, Reco Capey and Keith Murray select the furniture, furnishings and equipment for the Festival’s Royal Pavilion. The invitation to design commemorative stamps for the Queen’s Coronation in 1953 provided Marx with the opportunity to work in a different medium. ‘Our stamps’, she said, ‘are, or should be regarded as, our Queen and country’s visiting card’. Marx described working on the stamps as one of her greatest pleasures. She received a further commission from the Post Office to design the Christmas stamps for 1976, her designs for these were taken from the ‘Opus Anglicanum’ embroideries.

Appointed a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) in 1944 in recognition of her excellence as a ‘pattern maker’, the only member of the Faculty to be given this attribute, Marx felt that she was now accepted as a professional, ‘before I was like most women artists, just considered an amateur’. She regularly attended Faculty meetings and took an active role as a jury member for the RSA’s Industrial Design Bursaries competitions. Marx urged the RSA to be more proactive and influential in design education, she regularly encouraged them to extend their archives and raise their profile and she used the correspondence section of the RSA Journal to express her concerns about the British manufacturing industry, design and craftmanship. In her appreciation of the life of the Finnish textile designer Dora Jung HonRDI, for the RSA Journal in 1981, Marx wrote that Jung’s ‘weaving forms a beautifully illuminated page in the record of Finnish art and design’.

A small, dark determined woman of considerable stamina Marx campaigned ceaselessly for the continuation of the direct, unaffected, but human design values that her generation had established before the war. Enid Marx died in London, at the age of 95, on 18th May 1998. Many thanks to the University of Brighton Design Archives for the information for this post. Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save Save

Walt Peregoy Mid century background artist with Disney

October 24, 2022

Walt Peregoy was born in Los Angeles in 1925. He spent his early childhood on a small island (Alameda, California) in San Francisco Bay.

He was nine years old when he began his formal art training by attending classes at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Berkeley, California.  At the age of 12, Walt’s family returned to Los Angeles, where he enrolled in Chouinard Art Institute’s life drawing classes.

At the age 17, he dropped out of high school and went to work for Walt Disney as an in-betweener.

 

In 1942, he joined the U.S. Coast Guard and served for three years in the Infirmary as a 1st Class Petty Officer. After World War II he continued his art education, studying at the University de Belles Artes, San Miguel de Allende in Guanajuato, Mexico, and with Fernand Léger in Paris.

 

In 1951, Walt returned to the United States and resumed his career with The Walt Disney Studios. Although skilled with these more conventional projects, his personal style began to surface. Walt’s unique style began to meshed well with that of his contemporary, stylist Eyvind Earle.

Walt and Eyvind’s work on Paul Bunyan (1958) was nominated for an Academy Award in the short category.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Their unique style of animation on Paul Bunyan was a departure for Disney. Walt continued to work at Disney for an additional 14 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He was lead background painter on Sleeping Beauty (1959)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before embarking on the most ambitious, intelligent, and personal effort, his work as color stylist and background artist on One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), and The Sword in the Stone (1963).

He later worked on Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969), and other series produced by Hanna-Barbera.

He returned to Disney (WED Enterprises in 1977 through 1983), contributing his unique view to the design of Epcot Center in Florida, where his influence included architectural facades, sculptures, fountains, show rides, murals and pavilions. This study drawing was done for his design work at the Epcot Center, in the Land and Imagination Building.

More backgrounds from other films.

 

 

Along with Marc Davis, Eyvind Earle and Joshua Meador, Walt was one of the featured artists in Disney’s Four Artists Paint One Tree documentary. This documentary illustrated the unique interpretation that each artist can bring to a single subject matter.

Walt’s work has been the subject of one Man Shows at: Stockton Museum, California; The University of Santa Clara, California; Galerie de Tour, San Francisco, California; Rutherford Gallery, San Francisco, California; Chouinard Art Institute, Los Angeles, California; Landau Gallery, Los Angeles, California; Dickie Hall Gallery, Laguna, California; Jack Carr Gallery, Pasadena, California. He has also participated in group shows at: National Gallery of Art, the Library of Congress and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C..

 

He taught Background Styling at Brandes Art Institute from 1984–1985 as well as Principle of Drawing.

In the last years of his life, he continued to draw and paint in the Los Angeles area.

He was well known for being an artist with a strong belief in his work and someone who wasn’t afraid to speak their mind. He had disagreements with Walt Disney himself and even aired his views about the reality of working for Disney in a speech he gave when he was nominated for a Disney Legend Award in 2008.

It’s interesting to hear this because it shows a truer side of life at the Disney studios. His great granddaughter Jennifer Guzman said about the Awards ceremony…

” The rest of the people honored that day spoke for 2 to 3 mins. I think Uncle Walter would have gone much longer than these 10 mins if they hadn’t taken him off stage. I love how the band started trying to play him off… he will only speak louder.”

A great individualist and a true artist.

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You can be sure of Shell

October 22, 2022

Fishinkblog 10127 Shell Oil 1

Good day everyone.

As a child my earliest associated memory of going for petrol, was always the free gift you would get for filling up at that service station. Different companies tried to outdo one another with the presents they would bestow on you for your custom. As an early artist, I particularly remember one company giving away felt tip pens. Each colour had a name and so you were encouraged to try and get the set. I always found it so exciting, going to choose the colour (or colours, depending how much fuel you had bought) after my dad had filled the car. It was a clever way to get loyalty and repeat custom and was possibly one of my first exposures of the power of advertising and consumerism !

Shell used postcards as an early form of advertising, beginning in the early 1900s. Postcards were a quick and easy way of sending messages before telephones became a popular commodity and postal deliveries could arrive several times a day. The popularity of postcards helped Shell increase their profile in Britain, reaching everyone including the non-motorists.

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The first Shell advertising poster was created in 1920. They were displayed on the side of lorries carrying fuel to customers all over the country. These adverts (or ‘Lorry Bills’ as they became known), were designed in reaction to the public outcry against roadside hoardings in the countryside.

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Foreign posters too and a whole range of topics and themes, not just centered around the more obvious choices of cars and transport.

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Of course there were still many classic posters produced using the more obvious themes too.

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But unusually Britain’s landmarks and a campaign showing the different types of people who use Shell, became very popular.

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I’m sure you’re relieved to know that Judges, Architects, Scientists and even Film Stars all use Shell.

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We’re told it’s even a ‘friend to the Farmer’, giving it that ‘good for the environment angle’.

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The most innovative designs were created around 1932, when Jack Beddington became responsible for the company’s advertising. Under his direction, artists were commissioned who weren’t necessarily associated with commercial art. These artists went on to become famous names in British contemporary art.  Among them were people like Paul Nash, Graham Sutherland, Vanessa Bell, Ben Nicholson and John Piper.

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There are over 7,000 posters in the Shell Art Collection, reflecting the charm and character of a nostalgic age of motoring.

Just imagine filling up here… : )

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The poster (below) depicting the family all ready for their holidays, is definitely my favourite.

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Which one is yours ? You can find out more about the Shell Posters by visiting the National Motor Museum website.

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Taisto Kaasinen

October 10, 2022

Taisto Kaasinen (1918–1980) was one of Finland’s leading ceramic artists in the 20th century.

He was the son of Viljam Kaasinen and from 1941 married to Airi Lija Valtonen. Kaasinen first studied art on his own and then privately for Erkki Koponen and Uuno Eskola . He was trained as a ceramicist at the Arabia factory 1946-1952 and was employed as a ceramic artist at Upsala-Ekeby in 1952. He returned to Arabia in 1961 where he has his own studio in the art department. He participated in the exhibition Artium Exposé in Gothenburg in 1953 and in several exhibitions in Uppsala.

He was part of the Nordic tradition aiming for warm-hearted, humorous, and sometimes subtly ironic design.

My favourite piece is this cat, such a great character.

He became a prominent designer of animal and people figurines with rounded shapes and kind expressions.

Taisto’s artistry is represented at the numerous museums in the Nordic countries.

He even depicted Knights of Old and Knights of Bold !

Also using flat ceramic-relief artforms as well as more 3D sculptures.

‘People’ (the name of the sculpture above), is located on the Hermanni Parish Hall in Helsinki and was made by Taisto in 1967. It depicts five people of different ages, holding each other by the hand to form a chain which symbolizes unity within the parish and involvement in the different stages of people’s lives.

I love his range of 2-D and 3-D friendly ceramic pieces.

Beautiful Nordic Ceramics. If you enjoyed this, check out the work of Mari Simmulson, Stig Lindberg and Lisa Larson.

More about Mary Blair

October 3, 2022

In a blog concerned with mid century art, the artist Mary Blair is bound to crop up a fair few times. I recently came across another book about her by John Canemaker. Entitled ‘Magic Color Flair. The World of Mary Blair.

It was created for the Walt Disney Family Museum 2014 Mary Blair exhibit, of the same name, and is an authoritative collection of Blair’s life and work including the precocious paintings she made as a student at the renowned Chouinard Art Institute; the enchanting concept drawings she created for numerous Disney films; her lovely illustrated Golden Books, which are still treasured today; and the rarely seen but delightful advertisements, clothing designs, and large-scale installations that she devised later in life.

Curated by Academy Award winning animator John Canemaker and annotated with fascinating information about her artistic process, ‘Magic Color Flair’ is a bold, lively look into the work of an equally bold and lively creative, whose invaluable influence and keen eye helped shape some of the world favorite Disney experiences.

As I’ve already got the ‘Art and Flair of Mary Blair’, I may have to place this one under ‘future investments’.

After a little research I stumbled across this piece below which was sold at auction originally from Mary’s estate and dated 1966. It is said to be an early study for Mary’s tiled murals called ‘Tomorrowland’.

Here’s what the murals turned out to look like.

Such a wonderful array of colour, movement, style and well plain joy to be honest !

She had a great talent for bringing design and illustration to a large marketplace, in a friendly and creative way.

A few more snippets of Mary’s work I’d not seen for a while.

Some old favourites for Alice in Wonderland,

Peter Pan and Cinderella.

The classic rags to riches story.

I love Mary’s great sense of colour, style and application of paint.

Some mid fifties advertising and an early sketch for some Indian and African inspired designs.

You can also see a short sixties film about the making of the tiled murals for Mary’s designs here. I’ve also created more posts about Mary which you can see by clicking on the links under Mid Century Artists on the right side of my blog. Thank you.

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Bob Wilvers… Up to Date

September 26, 2022

Morning Everyone and I hope this finds you well.

I’ve recently added to my old post on the artist Bob Wilvers from the 1960’s, so for those of you who didn’t follow me back in 2011, here’s a complete update. Enjoy !

Bob Wilvers was the art director for the Carl Ally agency in the early 1960’s when he developed a campaign for Salada Tea. The commercial featured little old ladies on large Harley-Davidson motorcycles and the tag line ….. ”Who says that Salada Tea is for little old ladies?”  There’s a link to a poor copy of the original ad here and another 3 amusing Salada Tea ads here.

In 1964, he became a founding partner and co-creative director at Jack Tinker & Partners, with a client roster that included Coca-Cola, Gillette and Alka-Seltzer Plus. He was an accomplished watercolor painter and illustrator whose work was featured in several galleries and museums. Apparently Milwaukee based Wilvers was just 24 when he painted these.

I received an email from Terry who had read my blog about the illustrator Bob Wilvers and for those of you who missed it (tut tut) you can catch up here. At the end of the article I asked if anyone knew of any more of Bob’s work could they let me know. Terry not only knew of his work, but had an illustration of his own and even sent a copy so that I could show you all.

Terry explains ” I found this WC in a very rural part of Indiana and it reminds me of an area in West Allis, Milwaukee which was a district of homes which were bars/pubs on the first floor, and homes/apartments above on second/third floors. The signature looks a little like “williams” but on the back printed in pencil was Bob Wilvers on an entry form to an art exhibit in Milwaukee, so I assume this was painted well before he moved to NYC. Bob thumb-tacked the paper to a board, you can see 6 white holes around the edges where the water flowed around.” Such wonderful work, again with such spirit and so well observed. I’m so grateful to Terry for sharing this beautiful piece of Wilmers’ art with us, thanks again Terry.

For those of you who are still following me, regarding  the story of Bob Wilvers, there is yet a further addition and a surprising happy ending.

After a reader of my blog sent me an image he had of Bobs’ work, I was suddenly gripped with an urge to see if there was indeed more images to be discovered. I was lucky to be able to track down Bobs’ daughters Roberta and Tracy, and they very kindly sent me some images of the pieces of their fathers’ work, that they had in their homes. Such beautiful work should be shared with many and I hope that by blogging here, we can all appreciate what an amazingly skilled artist he was.

Roberta informed me that ” The images that you have on your blog came from the Ford Times October 1956. It was an article that was written by my mom and illustrated by my dad. One of the attached images is also from that piece. The other images are from the August 1957 issue. The Ford Times had quite a few piecesof my dad’s work. They donated one of the them, ‘ Trinity Church ‘ to the Smithsonian in Washington DC. ” (Featured further down).

I love the summery feel to his watercolours above and perhaps later images below where Bobs’ style has developed and flourished into new areas.

My favourites however are still his beautiful landscapes, with their rich colours and textures.

Sincere thanks again to both Roberta and Tracy for kindly allowing us access to the images above. Amazingly, I’ve just managed to find an online copy of the Ford Times magazine October 1956 for sale, which features some of Bobs’ work. So a little piece of Mr Wilvers will live in my home too.

Also many thanks to Marilyn for sending this image of two paintings of Bob’s that she saw an antique show approx 10-12 years ago in the booth of W M Schwind Jr Antiques of Yarmouth, ME. They were marked $3500 each.

Another update (April 2017), just in from Tracy, who’s really enjoying seeing images of her dad’s work appear here. She sent me a link to the painting of Trinity Church at the Smithsonian (but not hanging at present). Another beauty, thanks Tracy.

Finally, a reader called Richard contacted me with these two wonderful pieces. Apparently, Richard’s father told him that Bob painted these in his eighth grade, they have been hanging on his living room wall since he was a child. How lucky ! Thanks Richard for getting in touch and sharing those with us, much appreciated.

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1959 Cover for Fortune Magazine

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If anyone has any links to more of Bob’s beautiful illustrations could they please let me know. There’s an interesting article about his work in advertising here and a great feature about his life history here.

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Roland Collins A forgotten Artist

September 20, 2022

A couple of years ago I discovered the work of Roland Collins, I’d like to resahre it with you today.

He was born in Kensal Rise, NW London and showed artistic aptitude from an early age, winning at the age of eight a poster-colouring competition organised by the Evening News. He attended Kilburn grammar school, helped with scenery painting for the school’s annual Shakespeare play, and was encouraged by the art teacher to go to art school. This he did with the help of a London county council grant, spending two years at St Martin’s School of Art (now Central Saint Martins), where his teachers included Leon Underwood and Vivian Pitchforth. After college he worked as a studio assistant in an advertising agency, preparing layouts and designs.

In 1937 Collins first exhibited at the Royal Academy at the age of just 18, submitting a pen-and-ink drawing entitled Riverside, Chiswick, of two houseboats on the mud at low tide on the Thames (see above). The pen-work was masterly in its taut linearity and rhythmic arrangements of shape, balancing dark and light with satisfying authority. But black and white was not enough for the full expression of his essentially Romantic vision; he needed colour, and gouache (an opaque form of watercolour) became his preferred medium. He painted on paper, usually on sheets measuring about 15in x 21in, which he attached to a drawing board and worked on in front of the chosen subject.

Ever since those pre-second -World-War days, Roland Collins became an acute observer of the London and later the Dieppe scene. The Old London as we used to know it has disappeared, and it is with more than nostalgia one is taken back thirty, forty or fifty years. Roland Collins has managed to record the landscape of the time in a way the camera never has. it is not just a case of buildings destroyed by the war and the property developer, but the disappearance of items-all clues to what was a more leisured way of life-like the hand-pushed cardboard box delivery cart-massive but presumably light in weight. the old carriages and stable in Knightsbridge Mews; the Watney’s Lion and Shot Tower that became the South Bank Site for the Festival of Britain.

When the second world war broke out Collins registered as a conscientious objector, although a lung problem meant that he could have only undertaken light agricultural work in any case. He continued painting, discovered Fitzrovia in the West End of London (where he was to live for 40 years) and undertook the first of several mural commissions for a Greek restaurant. Artistically versatile, he relished turning his hand to other projects, working as a designer, photographer and even travel writer.

In 1945 he designed the sleeve for the first British LP issued by Decca: Stravinsky’s Pétrouchka, also a self portrait below and a couple of commissions from over the years.

In 1951 he wrote the text for The Flying Poodle, a book for children with photographs by Wolfgang Suschitzky, and in 1956 illustrated another poodle book, the novel Fifi and Antoine by Charlotte Haldane. Meanwhile, in 1954, a series of lithographs, to illustrate Noel Carrington’s book Colour and Pattern in the Home, seemed to anticipate in their crisp design some of the 1960s pop-inflected interiors of the English painter and printmaker Patrick Caulfield.

Since his Royal Academy debut in 1937, Roland has continued to exhibit regularly since, though an innate modesty has kept him from the limelight. As a consequence, his delightful and unaffected paintings are less well known than they might be, and a talent which has been continuously in use for more than 70 years has gone largely uncelebrated.

“Eventually, my love of architecture led me to a studio at 29 Percy Studio where I painted for the next forty years, after work and at weekends. I freelanced for a while until I got a job at the Scientific Publicity Agency in Fleet St and that was the beginnings of my career in advertising, I obviously didn’t make much money and it was difficult work to like.”

Yet Roland never let go of his personal work and, once he retired, he devoted himself full-time to his painting, submitting regularly to group shows but reluctant to launch out into solo exhibitions – until reaching the age of ninety.

For me his work shows elements of Nash, Ravilious, Bawden and occasionally Degas and Dufy too.

Whether using gouache, watercolour, pastel or inks, Roland had a wonderful control of his media.

Hopefully the skies weren’t as grey as he depicted here as he often painted outdoors !

Beautiful observational work.

I love the simplified windows in the building below, they’re almost arrows pointing to the Lion above lol

Welcome back to part 2 of my posts about artist / painter Roland Collins. I’d like to show you Roland’s coastal work and some of his paintings created during his yearly trips to France.

Working predominately in gouache on a format of 15 x 21 inches, his work records landscapes and cityscapes that have since disappeared. In 1964, Collins, and his wife Connie, purchased Ocean Cottage in Whitstable on the Kent coast. This was to provide an endless source of inspiration for him and arguably resulted in some of his finest work.

I feel there are definite strains of Ravilious in this painting above. Roland’s work sits comfortably among his other contemporaries Paul Nash and Edward Bawden but it’s only really been truly ‘discovered’ in the last ten years.

His forty years spent living and working in Fitzrovia, five years in the Cornish fishing town of Padstow  in the 1990’s and his and Connie’s many visits to Dieppe all feature predominately throughout his body of work.

Such beautiful colours and textures here.

Some stronger colours here.

Again, his depiction of the beach here just works so well.

He spent hours and hours just painting and sketching outdoors.

Obviously (as he owned a boat himself for a while), he had a real love for the shape and line of them. For the sea and coast, where he also chose to live for a few years.

Although the coast, London and its environs were a constant inspiration (he illustrated the Picturesque Guide to the Thames, 1949) he also began making painting trips to France. “You could say I first went to Dieppe in the early-1950s in search of Sickert,” Collins said. His palette seems much fresher and lighter, not so many grey English skies perhaps !

Some links back to his life in the advertising industry here spotting these French billboards and iconic businesses.

A couple of lovely soaring bridges.

Perhaps a touch of Raoul Dufy’s colour palette here.

Sadly Roland passed away in 2015 at the grand age of 97.

Many thanks to The Guardian, Spitalfields Life, James Russell and the sites above for my introduction to another outstanding British artist, which I hope you’ve also enjoyed ?

More images looking through the catalogue over at, The Portland GalleryBrowse and Derby or the Michael Parkin Fine Art Gallery.

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Arthur & Jean Ames Mosaic Artists

September 12, 2022

Jean Goodwin Ames (November 5, 1903 – February 13, 1986) (née Jean Goodwin) was an American artist, muralist, painter, ceramicist, and sculptor. Born in Santa Ana, California, Ames studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago before earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1931.

After graduating she taught art at Citrus High School and Junior College from 1933 until 1936. She earned an MFA from the University of Southern California (USC) in 1937. During her time at USC, she became interested in murals and mural decoration.

She also met her future husband, Arthur Ames, in a night ceramics class at USC. The creation of a majolica tile mural in the lobby of the Science building at USC served as her master’s thesis. Jean and Arthur often collaborated over the course of their careers, including on several murals for the Works Progress Administration.

It was during their time working for the W.P.A. that Jean and Arthur became some of the first artists in California to use mosaics. Over the course of her career, Jean created tapestries and mosaics that decorate buildings throughout Southern California.

Jean became a faculty member at Scripps College and Claremont Graduate School in 1940 and remained there until she retired in 1969. Jean served as Chair of the Art Department at the Claremont Graduate School from 1962 until 1969, when she was made a Professor Emerita.

Arthur Ames was born in Tamaroa, Illinois in 1906, and moved during his childhood to Ontario, California where he attended both elementary and secondary school. He received his undergraduate training at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco and taught design at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles for seventeen years.

Trained in a wide variety of artistic disciplines, Ames, along with his wife Jean, produced paintings, sculpture, prints, ceramics, tapestries, murals, mosaics, and tile decorations throughout his long and richly productive career. Enameling was, however, their preferred medium.

The Ames’s fascination with enameling began in 1941 when they saw an exhibition of the work of Karl Drerup at Scripps College where Jean Ames taught. Largely self-taught – through trial and error and by reading the few technical books available at the time — they began enameling in earnest in 1948 after attending a brief workshop offered at Scripps by the ceramist Rick Petterson.

Inspired in part by the Cubist paintings of Pablo Picasso and the stained-glass-like compositions of Georges Rouault, Arthur Ames’s earliest enamels of the late 1940s and early 1950s were figurative. However, over time, he became interested in abstraction and his enamel panels became increasingly formal and geometric.

Rich, vibrant colour typifies his work of the 1950s and early 1960s. During the last seven years of his life – 1968 to 1975 – Arthur Ames created relatively large abstractions by assembling separate enamel panels and sculptural forms into large cohesive compositions. These were among the most innovative works the artist ever produced.

Arthur Ames’s enamels were featured in several important early exhibitions including the watershed Enamel: A Historic Survey to the Present Day, held in 1954 at the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration, the precursor to the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and Objects USA, which toured this country and Europe after its initial presentation at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Collection of Fine Arts in 1969. Below is work by Arthur Ames, “Three Fisherman,” Federal Art Project mosaic for Newport Harbor Union High School, 1937.

I hadn’t come across the name Millard Sheets until I delved further into the work of Arthur and Jean Ames, I hope to feature his collaborations soon on my blog, watch this space !!

James McIntosh Patrick.

September 5, 2022

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Wandering around the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool a while ago, I had forgotten this painting (below) ‘Springtime in Eskdale’ by James McIntosh Patrick, but soon got a sense of how comforting it was to come across it again. For me his work has strains of Lucian Freud, Stanley Spencer and Pieter Bruegel all rolled into one. I love the perspective, use of colour and how James paints a tapestry of walls and fields that encourages our eyes to linger, explore and visually wander down those same lanes, that he painted back in 1935.

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James is regarded as one of the greatest Scottish painters of the 20th Century. Born in Dundee in February 1907, his work has enjoyed a long and distinguished career. His father and brother were both architects and it was no real surprise when he enrolled in the Glasgow School of Art in 1924.

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By 1927 he was selling etchings in London, and he exhibited for the first time at the Royal Academy whilst still studying.  He left the Glasgow School of Art in 1928 and had won many prizes for portraiture and landscapes, and the prestigious James McBey Prize for Etching.  The success of his paintings during the 1930s established his reputation, with many acquisitions made by public galleries and institutions.  Since then his work has been displayed regularly at major exhibitions. I love his use of light here depicting Dundee High School.

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In 1940, James McIntosh Patrick was called up into service with the Camouflage Corps, and was stationed in Africa during the Second World War.  Upon his return to civilian life, he concentrated on exhibiting in Scotland, especially at the Royal Scottish Academy, and in 1957 became a full Academician. He started painting outdoors and loved it, which changed his working methods from then on. His work is full of detail and rich textures.

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He captures the landscape around his hometown of Dundee so well. The light and shape of the hills and understands the movement of the land, it’s undulations and grassy patch-work fields.

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The light and colours here are beautiful. We can sense that mid afternoon sunshine and the feeling of the summer months approaching.

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Summer at last, but soon comes more wintery climes.

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Patrick loved to paint out of doors, believing that his landscapes could encourage people to appreciate nature: “I don’t suppose there is much sentimentality about my paintings, but I have a deep feeling that Nature is immensely dignified when you are out of doors. I am struck by the dignity of everything.”

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By the 1950’s he had perfected his style and technique in outdoor landscape painting and began recording his beloved Angus countryside on canvas, working in all seasons and all weather conditions.

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In the same way that Bruegel’s ‘Hunters in the Snow’ captures my attention in its use of space and the aspect of the landscape. The same happens for me in this last piece ‘Winter In Angus’ acquired by The Tate Gallery in the same year that it was painted, 1935, when James was just 28 years old. Stunning !

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The Courier newspaper announced that some of James early drawings had been rediscovered.

Long may his work be rediscovered, I’ve certainly enjoyed doing just that.