World War One
The 15th of February was the 25th Anniversary of the Angel of the North. I recall going to the site a few days after it went up to make studies. Being February, there had been a lot of rain so there were puddles and mud. My initial impression was that of a World War One scene with broken fences, palettes, water and deep tracks off heavy plant machinery. My first painting was similar to the one above, a slightly side on rear view, the Angel silhouetted against an ominous sky. I’ve since painted it several times over the years in different mediums and styles.
More recently the Angel became on of the step-by-step watercolour projects I developed for the charity Junction 42. During lockdown the UK prison population were incarcerated in their cells for 23 hours a day. Junction 42 provided “In Cell” faith and creative art packs to help prisoners with their mental health. Over lockdown I created many step-by-step projects for the prisoners to follow.
However one of my favourite paintings of the Angel was a commission I received in 2017. The client wanted an oil painting a meter and a half wide. The wingspan of the Angel had to fill the width of the canvas against the backdrop of a blood red sky. Compositionally, I wasn’t sure it would work, however I followed his request. I suggested that I could add some gold leaf to the wings to create an even stronger visual impact. He liked the idea and I have to say, the overall effect was stunning. So much so that I had the painting scanned and published as a limited edition print with gold leaf applied by hand. Each hand embellished print has become an original piece of art.
This year, I’ve been assisting some of the prisoners in one of the regions prisons to paint a series of landscapes. The subjects are local scenes in two different styles. Some have been painted in an Art Deco poster style. The others have been painted after Vincent Van Gogh. The Angel is one of the subjects and it looks fantastic in both styles.
The Angel Anniversary was celebrated in style this year. There were school children singing and a huge cardboard birthday cake was laid at its feet.