All Posts By

Harry Holland

50’s

In the 1950’s, when I was young and not visually sophisticated, the majority of British art had a very particular, not to say insular, character. I’m referring to artists and illustrators (they were often both) who used a heavily designed style and referred to local and religious history in much of their work. Many had had war experience which had given them a desire to change perceptions but not values by placing old narratives in…

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Psychology

    I don’t usually have a psychological plan or reason for a painting, I just come across an image by working through ideas I’ve got from observation, developing themes in past paintings or stealing from another artist. The mood or meaning i.e. sombre, funny, ironic, light-hearted, enigmatic or mystifying is refined through a process of feeling, trial and rejection, not analysis or clear decision. That way I’m not altogether responsible for…

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Gloomy

What to do when you’re a bit gloomy? A run of bad luck, people not calling back,  can’t settle to anything – it seems a bit pointless. I expect everyone feels this way at one time or another. I can usually forget myself in work by doing something different or new  technically or by devising new images to inflict on my diminishing public. Sometimes even this doesn’t work and I sit feeling…

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My collection part 1

Apart from a ragbag of my own paintings that have remained unsold (my wife calls them “Lurkers”), like most artists I have, over the years, acquired by purchase or exchange, a number of paintings by artists I admire. They vary from drawings and prints to paintings and even a couple of sculptures. They are works by friends, and others, and I get a great deal of pleasure from them. Like all plastic…

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Humor

Serious paintings aren’t supposed to be funny. Sounds pretty obvious but the implication is that funny paintings aren’t supposed to be serious and that paintings involving humour are less worthy, less profound and less descriptive of the human condition than those which deal with the darker emotions. Light hearted is thought of as slight. The history of painting shows that artists have used humour as an end in itself and as a…

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Beach

Forced to spend part of a glorious summer day on the beach at Tenby I resorted to my usual pleasure of people watching and drawing. There is a protocol I follow on these occasions because, for one thing, my wife gets very upset with me “staring” at people, and for another, it’s not without it’s attendant dangers. One time I was accosted by an angry boyfriend who threatened to give me a…

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Royal commissions

There has recently been a portrait of the Queen commissioned by the Welsh Rugby Union painted by a man called Dan Llewellyn Hall. It’s so awful and shaming for my country and my profession that I don’t want to say any more about it. But it does bring up the question of why such portraits are made and what the expectations are. Royal portraits, as with any Head of State, obviously have…

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Private View

There is a tradition, born of commercial imperatives, for a one-man exhibition to begin with an exclusive event in which buyers, favoured friends, important people (who are invited), thirsty gatecrashers and malevolent colleagues (who are not), come to see the work before the doors are thrown open to the general public. The General Public, of course, being largely unaware of the artist, the gallery or anything to do with art at all,…

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Faces

Faces sell pictures. Obvious really considering there is a whole industry, advertising, partially dependant on that principle. Stick a pretty face in front of almost anything and you’re more likely to get it noticed. The modern obsession with celebrity has complicated things somewhat but it is still true that some faces carry qualities that draw the attention more than others. and it’s not only prettiness. It’s when the concept of beauty comes in that…

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Holidays

I hate holidays. I’d much rather be working. Hanging around in the sun, driving to different beaches to sop up the same sun and having one’s sandalled feet burned by the bloody sun is not my idea of a good time. So while my wife is dehydrating herself on a towel I do one thing I holiday that I don’t usually do and tell myself I should do more of: watch the…

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