Newcastle, West of the Tyne Bridge
(Oil on 3 MDF panels, 24 x 144 ins)
Newcastle, East of the Tyne Bridge
(Oil on 2 MDF panels, 24 x 96 ins)
Each time I go to the RVI, I experience a sense of irony as I pass the Ophthalmolgy Department's casualty waiting room, because each time I catch a glimpse of two of my paintings. They're quite big - 2 x 12 feet and 2 x 8 feet - and hang in the corner of the room.
The paintings were commissioned as part of an Arts Lottery Project in 1997/98 and as Germaine Stanger, the Arts Consultant on the Project put it in her booklet:
The paintings in casualty are very popular as you would expect, for the subject matter and style of painting makes them instantly recognised by a partisan Geordie public. But some comments are not about the subject matter but how it is painted and show a well deserved appreciation.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to take decent photographs of the works when they were originally first hung, because Health & Safety insisted on acrylic glazing being put over them which made photography impossible. Fears of painting sabotage proving unsubstantiated, the acrylic was taken off the following year and I should have photographed them when I supervised that, but I didn't. Time passed and the urge to get a proper record faded., but my enforced renewed association with the place makes me think i should go in when the waiting room is quiet (whenever that might be!) and take some decent photographs.
Meanwhile, I remembered Germaine's booklet and scanned these images from those printed (very small!) in it. There's also a photo of me (much bigger, in too many ways) in the studio:
"Harry Bell in his studio in Gateshead"
The full text of Germaine's article can now be found in the Reviews section of my website.