The Polar Regions: An Artist’s Dream
The polar regions are an artist’s dream and yet provide one of the biggest challenges when translating their ephemeral beauty. Our contemporary artists carry on a tradition a hundred years and more old. Artists like Edward Wilson who died with Captain Scott and George Marston who accompanied Shackleton. True Masters of their trade.
“Numerous glaciers calved icebergs, witnessed at close proximity from the zodiacs at Monacobreen. The surface of the sea fizzed and cracked as the gases released from the floating ice litter exploded into shrapnel under the glare of the sun. The forces of nature were at work and we were witness to this extraordinary sensory spectacle.” These were the stirring words of artist Julian Grater, whose time in Spitsbergen, Arctic produced some magnificent paintings that spoke of a dark ruggedness bathed in Arctic light. Working in a small and freezing studio on the top deck of our ship did not dishearten this artist whose passion for the frozen world is so evident.
For several years we have had the pleasure of accompanying artists to polar regions, all different in their methods and mediums and all inspired to greater heights by their surroundings. Barbara Rae, Royal Acadamician, the Scottish colourist will soon be travelling with Ice Tracks for the fifth time, drawn back to the landscapes where sky dips down to frozen horizons. One of Britain’s foremost and most sought after painters, her screen prints, works on paper and mixed media paintings overwhelm in their brilliance of colour, texture and mood.
Nick Jones has recently returned from the Arctic, his paintings carry an ephemeral quality of light and shape, abstract, yet solely identified with the ice scapes that capture his soul and resulted in a stunning exhibition at the Crane Kalman Gallery, London. We are delighted to announce that Nick Jones has had two of his painting accepted at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition ! Thousands of painting are submitted with only a handful accepted. What a feather in his cap!
On board the same voyage, Simon Pierce whose glittering career included senior lecturer at the School of Art, Aberystwyth University filled his notebooks with ’notes of the Arctic’ in shimmering water colours which he expanded into masterly paintings on his return to Wales. His lightness of touch exactly caught the evanescence of icebergs.
Eleanor Goldstein of New York, undimmed by age, captured the very essence of ice bergs with charcoal on paper and brought to life the magnificent Greenland ice bergs. “It was an astonishing, breath-taking experience which I have been chasing in my studio ever since. What took me there was a profound sense that this beauty would soon be gone. That ice, icebergs, the animals that relied upon them and the people who built a rich culture within that landscape would just be history.” We will soon be taking her back to her beloved ice bergs that so captured this indomitable artist’s imagination.
Keith Grant sailed for the second time to Antarctica and produced numerous paintings for a one man show, opened by Sir David Attenborough at the Chris Beetles gallery in London. Again another octogenarian whose spirit sours way beyond most mortals. His work in oils fizz with his energy, capturing the magic of Antarctica in an extraordinary palette of blues (his favourite colour).
Nick Romeril captured light and ice of the Antarctic and transferred something truly magical in oil onto canvas. His one man exhibition again at the Chris Beetles gallery reminded the hundreds of people who visited the exhibition of his extraordinary talent that brought Antarctica to life in its magnitude and that it is a continent that must be visited.
Two sculptors, one Jane Hamilton, a portraitist, modelled a head of Sir Ernest Shackleton during the Shackleton Centenary voyage that was much approved of by his grand daughter Alexandra Shackleton and Hamish Mackie, famous for his animal portraits who worked in Plein Air, producing wildlife in clay that was transported in special boxes back to the UK for casting into bronze.