Creative days full of art, food and great craic
ONE of the best things about the Laughing Badger Gallery is the people who come in, many of them on my regular workshops and feeding days.
There is always something going on, a story to tell and, as they say at home in Ireland, the ‘craic’ is mighty.
Friday mornings, for example, the place is transformed into a Parisian arts-type coffee shop where poets, painters and punters chew the fat about everything creative.
Don’t tell them but it’s not like work, and when I’m up to my gunnels in smoked salmon and the like, I can hear the laughter from inside the gallery and the world keeps turning.
I’ve threatened to charge them by the minute some of them stay that long, and believe it or not, no names no pack drill, but recently retired teachers Hil and Peter Clayton came in for breakfast and three hours later ordered lunch.
If readers have not been before, there is a free event on Friday, March 30, from 6pm when the paintings of the regulars will be on the walls, and the artists will all be there to show visitors around. The Cellar Bar will be open and there will be live music from Tom Hall of Glossop. I’ll even throw in LB scones, and if you’re really lucky my daughter Niamh will bake some of her legendary soda bread.
Niamh will also have some of her work on display, as will the quite wonderful illustrator Chellie Carroll, of Glossop, and you can even cast your eye my over latest work; a European Bison in the Bialowwieska ancient forest in the Polish far east.
There will also be some work by renowned local painter Ghislaine Howard, Roger Needham and also some rare glimpses of Harry Ousey, whose niece Sue Astles lives in Glossop.
Harry was an abstract painter and contemporary of some of the greats, such as Hepworth and Nash, and at last, next month, some of his work will be on show in St Ives.
The jay seen here is the work of John Taylor, also of Glossop; John also has lots of stories to tell, and indeed songs to sing, a poet, a climber and all round good guy.
John won’t mind me telling you that his work has developed so much in the last year of attending the Thursday sessions, especially because of the relaxed and encouraging atmosphere.
I’m not a prescriptive teacher, more of a facilitator. I’ll put the brush in your hand but won’t tell you exactly what to do with it. John, known by my musician friends as Johnny Ten Coats, (don’t ask!) was a little set in painting ways and much of his work had a dark and almost Gothic quality; a sort of cross between Bosch and Dante’s Inferno.
‘Don’t think too much about it,’ I said. ‘Be free, look at the colour, search for the light and dark, look for the beauty’. Admittedly, this was a hard road for John and it was like he was travelling slowly through the levels of the Inferno in reverse before stepping out into the light. I love this jay.
The jay is a crow, undoubtedly our most exotic corvid, and you can find jays across most of the UK, except northern Scotland. It lives in both deciduous and coniferous woodland, parks and mature gardens. It likes oak trees in autumn when there are plenty of acorns. Often seen flying across a woodland glade giving its screeching call, it becomes more obvious in autumn when it may fly some distance in the open in search of acorns.
The exhibition is on for a month until April 30, but it would be great to see you on Friday. For further information call me on 07736 175866.
This painting of a jay is by John Taylor, of Glossop
The Laughing Badger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Padfield, Glossop