An Exhibition of paintings by
JULIAN SMITH & THELMA SPEIRS
16th to 19th September 2021
16th – 19th September 2021
PV – Thursday 16th 6 – 10pm
Friday – Sunday 12 – 6pm
BIRDS – Thelma Speirs
In the spring and summer of 2020, between the chimney pots of the house opposite my studio in East Margate, some seagulls were nesting and I watched them through binoculars. When the chicks hatched I started sketching them and so began my fascination and enjoyment of observing and drawing birds.
I also drew and painted crows mooching around in Hartsdown Park, the cormorants sitting on groyne markers, the seagulls on lampposts, and I made little animations of the fledgling seagulls as they staggered about the roof and attempted to fly.
I then discovered, through an article in The New York Review of Books, that birds can see in the ultra-violet range, and that “some birds that look plain to us probably shine and sparkle to other birds”. Amazing! Fantasising further, I painted birds assumed to be plain, such as gulls and crows, and adorned them with patterns of spots and stripes, as they might appear to each other, uplifting the status of creatures that are considered ‘common’ or even a nuisance to many humans.
BAGS – Julian Smith
The watercolours started in May 2020. I moved to Margate a year earlier but was often dashing back to London for work. Then in March 2020 with the arrival of the pandemic I settled in my new home. With this came worry and anxiety about work, money, health but also an inner calm and a survivalist instinct. ‘How will I go forward?’
I’m a designer, craftsperson and maker preferring to crack on with something, but when there’s not a great deal to do I was looking for something to turn to, or rediscover.
So, in going for solitary strolls on the coast I began to sit and paint, which I found really pleasurable and cathartic. Landscapes initially, some flowers too but then I noticed the bins around Cliftonville (and the seagulls picking at them). Among the detritus were these pops of shiny colour, tied up bin bags. I found beauty in their vibrancy. They felt like flowers among the concrete. Some kind of hope in the rubbish, destined for incineration or landfill. An odd mix of bleakness and joyfulness.
Uplifting the status of common creatures and finding beauty in the vibrancy of bin bags.
A collection of work by Julian Smith and Thelma Speirs.