Artist Drawn to the Ridgeway
CURRENTLY showing at West Berkshire Museum, Upper Basildon artist Nick Schlee’s Drawn to the Ridgeway takes a ‘walk’ along the stretch of Britain’s oldest road from Goring to Avebury through choice views along the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Now in his 90s, Nick is a prolific a painter as ever.
His oil pastel sketches are done at speed, on the spot, with all the energy and dynamism capturing the essential spirit of the landscape.
His big oils are worked up from those sketches in the studio.
He uses strong energetic strokes and exploits the dynamics of pure colour to convey his excitement when looking at the landscape in the heat of the moment.
When I reach the top of the Ridgeway, I am often disappointed by the views ahead of me but delighted when I look down on the landscape below. I admit I have never tried walking substantial distances along the top, but have resorted to following alongside it by the nearest road. Then at places that seem to promise the makings of a good picture, I drive as close to the top as I can before getting out. Sometimes I find a subject immediately; at other times I have to drive back to the valley and look up, hoping to find a good view from below...
“I never use photographs,” says Nick. “The trouble with a camera is that it records everything there is to be seen in the viewfinder.
“Making a painting depends on selecting and recording the bits of a view that stimulate you.”
The exhibition continues to March 31.
Entry to West Berkshire Museum is free but donations are welcomed.