Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Pension Kastelli

Pension Kastelli (Oil on canvas, 12 x 12 in) Private Collection

I painted this after our last trip to Crete and gave it to Pat as a Xmas present. It's a picture of Pension Kastelli, the place we stayed in in Chania and I'm posting it now because we're going back again!

Last year I was so dogged with poor health that there never seemed a time when a holiday would have been enjoyable. Things in the eye department have settled down now and we think a trip abroad to see the Spring flowers on Crete in May is just what the doctor ordered.

We decided on this almost immediately after seeing the John Craxton Retrospective at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge. Although he always rejected the label of Neo-Romantic, John Craxton was certainly influenced by the 19th century sources of that movement, William Blake and Samuel Palmer, as well as Picasso's Cubism and spent some time with Graham Sutherland in Pembrokeshire.

However, it was his discovery of the idyllic landscapes of Poros, Hydra and Crete that opened the way to paintings of breathtaking shimmering light with a fascinating technique using coloured lines "to explain the play of light on contours."

John Craxton: Landscape, Hydra (Tempera on canvas)

Of all the paintings in the show, I think it was the one showing asphodels that decided it for us - asphodels are always dead and shrivelled in September when we normally go on holiday: 

John Craxton: Reclining figure with asphodels.


Anonymous said...

Glad the eyes have improved and I hope it means we see more new work. Craxton seems a good source of inspiration - whether for painting or a holiday - and I hope we can make it to the Fitzwilliam as well as to your show at the Gateshead Library.


harry bell said...

You'll enjoy the show at the Fitzwilliam, I'm sure. Just as I hope you'll enjoy the Gateshead show; I know I'd enjoy you seeing it.

As for my eyes, I just have to get over the feeling that I can't do it anymore so that I can get on with some real work.