Nowadays there are fewer gallery events and more brief exhibitions, so if you can, please keep an eye on the year plan as more may be added as we go along.
Late last December, John was invited to submit designs for a stained- glass window for Pershore cemetery. We were booked for our winter getaway in early January, so John studied the brief and got to work. Much research into Pershore’s war effort in both world wars was needed; also a look at modern day Pershore – its architecture, its workers, the women, the farmers and growers, the landscape and the River Avon. So working at scaled down size, he submitted black and white versions of the three panels required.
Returning in February, refreshed after an enjoyable get-together with the artists gathered in Dubai for the ‘New Orientalists’ exhibition, we were delighted to hear there was much enthusiasm for John’s window designs, and a request to have him develop the ideas and draw them up to full size in colour. At more than 6’x2’, each of the three panels, fixed on boards were a struggle to manhandle in his modest studio. So with an aching back he laboured long and hard to fit the many images appropriately until, in consultation with Noel and Ben Sinclair (the stained-glass experts), the designs were complete. Well, there may be a few amendments to come but on the whole they are accepted – phew! It will be some time – about 18 months – before the windows are built and installed but we look forward to seeing them in situ.
The backache continued with several commissioned ‘giant’ landscapes for the Majlis Gallery, but now into April, he’s on a roll again, painting to a more manageable size and happily golfing. Enjoying the light and colour that increases daily in this lovely season – Springtime!
The Gore Memorial Window in St Peter’s Church, Inkberrow. Commissioned by the Carmichael family. Designed by JH.
It’s always fun to see people’s reactions when they hear that an artist is ‘colour-blind’. It was only in his fourth year at Cardiff art college that the Japanese colour-blindness test came out. Standing in a queue of students John could see the tutor flicking through a book with pages of coloured dots, dismissing the students one by one. When his turn came, the tutor turned the pages back and forth, back and forth. Unable to see the figures hidden amongst the coloured dots, the images meant nothing to him. Thus it was revealed he has a red/green deficiency. What a shock to hear the standard policy on this would be to abandon the art course and do something that didn’t involve the use of colour!
Having successfully completed most of his course, it was decided more tests should be tried. The painting tutor had him display his four-years-worth of artwork. All had good strong use of colour and much of it, predominantly green. Deemed a successful student so far, it was decided John must take further tests. Matching the colour of dabs of paint from his tutor’s hidden palette was not a problem for John. He mixed the colours and matched the dabs perfectly. Unable to think of any other ways to test him, and taking into account the fact that his course was almost completed, John was allowed to stay on.
Subsequently, thoughts on the matter made John realise why his childhood friends feasted on wild strawberries up the mountain, whilst he searched in vain, failing to spot the little red jewels in the greenery. Later, as a teenager, he never won a game of snooker. On the green baize, he couldn’t differentiate between the red and the brown balls, nor the pink and the white. Who knows what colour he is substituting for the ones he cannot see? Some say the handicap may be an advantage for a painter!