Roses and Ghosts Every spring I'm seduced by the beauty of flowers - plucking them furtively from hedges and paths on my way to the island and this appears to be a very good year for an abundance of roses. For many years I have produced an approximation (essence if you will) of roses - suggesting their form swirling and merging into a distant central space allowing the viewer to imagine unlimited numbers.
This year I've felt the need to return to a realistic rendering of their form and colour - to revisit the work I did as a student at dear old Heatherleys in Chelsea in the 1980's. Bringing the experience of 25 years to an apparently simple subject can produce pleasant surprises. Having been teaching art for nearly as long it was also good to practice what I've been preaching. It was pure therapy after the imagined perspectives of the very complex painting I have just completed of The Savoy for the Byrne Group.
This project began with a visit to photograph the refitting but much of the completed work was under dustsheets however I did manage to find some exciting nooks and crannies and was told some fascinating stories about the complexities of the project including the sightings of a ghost which had disturbed some of the workmen. Back in the studio I collated all the images and made a series of oil on paper sketches followed by a large charcoal drawing to arrange the composition.
Finally, after a viewing by my patrons to discuss any changes, I began the ambitious 4' x 4' painting (below) combining many rooms and details taking 14 stages and many months to complete. The cat is Kaspar a large ceramic beast who is seated at the 13th place at banquets and the observant may spot the ghost.
On the subject of ghosts, I have also completed a painting begun in the wake of the Japanese earthquakes - as a tribute to all the lost souls who will not see the cherry blossoms.
Notable visitors to the studio recently have been Sally Nealon -www.missmoneypig.com, Amanda Harris director of the Physio Company and James Airey from Kerry London one of the insurance companies also working for the Byrne Group. Visitors are especially welcome this weekend for my studio sale in aid of the Christchurch earthquake. See www.leecampbell.co.uk - News