Expansive Art

I live in a part of the country which is quite flat  and I am also a hour from the coast.  Some people consider the fen landscape boring but when one stands out in the fields and looks over the  land for many miles – one can feel the wideness of this place.

Fenscape  near Blythburgh, Suffolk by Juliet Pannett 1972

near Blythburgh, Suffolk
by Juliet Pannett 1972

#JulietPannett (1911-2005) is not known for her landscapes. She is a very respected portrait painter.  Painting came naturally to her and by the time she was 17, she knew she wanted to paint portraits for a living.  Commissions from The Illustrated London News and other papers began her professional career which led to her employment by the Illustrated London News.  From 1957 to 1964 she had her own seat in the press gallery of the House of Commons.  She portrayed over a thousand soldiers, intellectuals, politicians, musicians, fellow artists and ordinary British people.  She painted nine Prime Ministers including Wilson, Callaghan, Heath, Thatcher, and Churchill.  She has 21 portraits in the National Portrait Gallery collection in London. Her treatment of the wide open space and grandness of the sky exudes wonder and warmth.  In simple strokes of colour a land is portrayed in beauty.  One stands at the edge of this vista near #Blythburgh and is overcome by the vastness of sky as can only be felt and seen from a flat land.

Pilot Cutters A-sail unknown artist late 19th - early 20th century

Pilot Cutters A-sail
unknown artist late 19th – early 20th century

We move to an expanse which has a life of it’s own. The sea has for most of human history held a fascination for man.  It beckons serenely and yet is fraught with dangers.  For those who live upon the waters there is no other life.  I love the #PilotCutters in this image as they strive with the wind.  But for me it is actually the portrayal of the sea which is this pictures life and soul.  Hang on and feel the salt spray against your face.  Wrap yourself against the buffeting wind.   Struggle forward to the beckoning horizon.  Here is space.  A vastness, an immensity to be felt.. We are so small.

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