Of Angels and Dirt

Yesterday I was lucky enough to see the Stanley Spencer exhibition at The Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield. I studied his portraiture as part of my GCSEs and as such, has always remained special to me.

A superb exhibition covering much of his works, from landscapes and nudes to his self portraits. Little point here offering much of a run down of the exhibition, as there is a wealth of information by people far more qualified to give you the low down.

However what I got out of it, was the sheer complexity and variety of his artwork, sensational stories about his thought processes behind his work, that he wrote himself...which is to me, a far more authentic backstory than any expert can proffer.

I actually got to see for real my very favourite self portrait, his last (below). I have loved it for years and seeing it for real actually added to that love ten fold. He painted it in his last year on this planet, whilst suffering from cancer at friends house in Dewsbury, Yorkshire in 1959. In comparison to his other works the brush strokes and paint application were so fragile, and really moving in the lack of strength, and the wealth of technical application and a lifetime of really can't capture that in a book, or on a postcard, simply stunning!

I have yet to go to an exhibition where the artists life is not colourful, off the wall and just out there. Wonderful stories of his Polyamorous intentions, which both women rejected, his boom and bust financial rollercoaster, and that he even penned several versions of his autobiography...such a beautiful and wild mind, full of Angels and Dirt...allot like my own.

I bought a print, several postcards, and a lovely coaster for my studio. The Stanley Spencer print is called 'The Art Class' so I just had to have it for my studio wall, it will remind me that whilst convention and rules try to run my world, I am not those externally imposed doctrines. The exhibition has inspired me to run some paintings for myself alongside what I do, reminded me of my love for indepth thought, hidden meanings behind painting, surrealism and just letting my mind go for a stroll through my brushes, in addition to the work I do day to day. And the David Storey sketches I also got to see have fired me up to start a sketchbook of private work, his sketches are truly wonderful.

My treasures that I bought for my studio walls once all the renovations are complete.

Beside seeing all of the wonderful artwork at the gallery, I came away with a deep sense of inspiration, and that my idea of heaven when I eventually part this planet, would be residing in a labyrinth of artists minds...can you imagine the euphoria of being in the mind of Stanley Spencer or Dali? and the pain of the darkness too....their artworks are small glimpses into their worlds, and my heaven would be residing there for eternity.

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