Sunday, April 8, 2012
“The principle person in a picture is light.” These were the words of 19thcentury French painter Edouard Manet. It is this idea that English artist Fleur Grabow keeps uppermost in her mind when creating her quiet landscapes of rural and coastal scenes. Heralding from the small medieval village of Stoneleigh-in-Arden in Warwickshire, Fleur has studied with Hensche-trained artists Bonnie Roth-Anderson, John Ebersberger and Cedric Egeli and now combines her passion for painting and travel to produce strong compositions that are full of light and atmosphere.
The desire to convey light and colour is prompting Fleur to paint in Madrid and Granada this Spring. There she will make a pilgrimage to the studio of 19thCentury Spanish painter Joaquin Sorolla. He painted on large canvases on Valencia's beaches and excelled at capturing light. “When you look at Sorolla's paintings you can feel the Mediterranean sunshine on your face” Grabow says. She will be painting at the stunning Alhambra Palace and the beautiful Yannat Al Arif Gardens in Granada where both Sorolla and John Singer Sargent painted. “Yannat Al Arif means the garden of lofty paradise,” says Grabow. “The magical reflecting pools, fountains, myrtles and Spanish light make this heaven for painters.”
During Fleur’s visit to the Cotswolds over Christmas she set about conveying the moody light of wintry days in England. InThe Pollarded Willows the afternoon light is waning and the trees have a chilly, lonely feel to them. Fleur would like to return to the watermeadows around Chipping Campden to paint the same trees in mid-Summer.
The tree in the landscape is a recurring subject in Fleur's work. Like many artists and writers before her, she is fascinated by the tree as a measure of continuity and signifier of the spirit of a place. “I am awed by the ancient oaks in my own village. These trees are so old and majestic; they are quite humbling,” says Grabow. “Jane Austen and Queen Victoria saw these trees when they visited Stoneleigh Abbey. These oaks have been loved by generation after generation of villagers.” Fleur captured the cypresses that punctuate Umbria's rolling hills when she was the Artist-in-Residence at the International School of Painting in Montecastello last year. “The classical world believed the spirit of a place resided in its trees. The cypresses line country lanes and churchyards like sentinels,” says Fleur. “In Montecastello Cypresses I wanted to portray them in the September morning light. It was wonderful to tackle a landscape immortalised in so many Renaissance paintings.”
Fleur's Spanish paintings can be seen at her next solo show “Luminosity: Capturing the Light” at the Aurora Gallery, Annapolis from the end of July. The reception is August 16thcoinciding with the Annapolis ArtWalk. More paintings can be seen at http://fleurgrabow.com.
Spa Creek Reflections