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Wednesday 27th September 2017Painting with My Father

Watch out for an article coming soon about my father, Lawrence Stangroom. I painted beside Lawrie from being small and even worked alongside him occasionally when I was older. Lawrence was a professional illustrator and college lecturer by day and a fine artist on weekends and holidays, he and my mother Joyce having a large family to support (myself, brother Ian, and sisters Kay, Lynn and Janet). We even share themes for our work, such as Northumbrian frosty mornings, and we both painted mining subjects.  
 
 
Lawrence Stangroom 'Frosty Morning'
 
My father had very little time to paint for himself. I do remember many fine paintings of boats, but barely one has survived. 
 
 
Lawrence Stangroom
 
I now realise how lucky I am to have had a grounding in traditional methods from such a talented man. In the early 50s, Lawrence went to the Royal College of Art to study etching and engraving (MA). I’ve heard that his engravings were excellent, but I’ve never seen a single one. I’m always hoping someone will come forward one day with one, just for me to take a look at.

Posted on September 27th 2017 on 02:32pm
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Friday 22nd September 2017Look North Video

I enjoyed my experience of filming for Look North. Follow this link to see the clip.
 
Fellow Prudhoe resident Paul Mooney asked me to go on the show to judge the Look North calendar page, alongside students and friends Carol and Richard. Paul made the experience quite relaxing for me - considering he was pointing a camera my way! 
 
 
 

Posted on September 22nd 2017 on 12:09pm
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Thursday 07th September 2017Paul Stangroom Gallery on Look North

Very different and pleasurable afternoon in the gallery yesterday. Paul Mooney, Look North weather presenter, spent the afternoon here filming for the show. Paul asked me to judge the August Look North Weather Calendar page. He also asked me to tell him my life story in 30 seconds - not an easy one. He filmed the gallery, and also watched me paint, and work with students. I believe it will be screened either tonight or Monday. Let me know what you think.
 
 
Paul lives in Prudhoe himself and was very interested to see inside the gallery. He made filming a much more pleasant process than I expected. Filming took around three hours, and all of this will be condensed into just a few minutes' footage on TV. 

Posted on September 07th 2017 on 12:22pm
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Wednesday 19th July 2017New Series of Small Windows Watercolours

Having just completed two very detailed watercolours, it's very refreshing to develop this new series of smaller Windows works. This small window has developed dramatically in just one week, as you can see if you look closely at the photos below. I've been planning this new series for some time and I have a real sense of enjoyment working on these colourful originals.
 
The richly textured paper feels fine to work on, and is creating exactly the layered, textual effect I am after.
 
 
The second painting in my series of small Windows watercolours is now underway also, see below. I am working on the two, turn by turn. I have many ideas of exactly how to develop the series and it's very satisfying to see the new work taking shape.
 
 
 
 

Friday 30th June 2017Ruffside Farm

 I'd like to share this painting, 'Ruffside Farm' and the first part of the poem accompanying it, written by my friend and poet, Noel Connor, for 'In the Pause of Passing.' It seems to be a poem partly about adapting to and surviving difficult times...

I Grew to Love

I grew to love that tree,
solitary, thick skinned,
clenching itself
to the stony ridge
behind the house,
muscling into the wall.

Young whippersnapper
it defied each winter,
leaned when to bend, to lean away
when the wind demanded,
to grow slow and hard-hearted,
a gnarled knowledge
shaping to survive,
knotting itself to the landscape...

http://www.paulstangroom.v1.gallereo.com/…/paul-stangroom-a…

 

Thursday 29th June 2017Teaching in France - Seventh Time

 Holiday coming up for my UK students and a real change of scenery for me - I have just been invited to teach in Correze, France, for the 7th time, staying in this beautiful chateau, 31st July to 9th August. Alison and my sister Lynn and other helpers will be holding the fort at the Prudhoe gallery for me - looking forward to the journey.
 
 

Thursday 29th June 2017Great North Art Show, Ripon Cathedral

Other good news this month - I have been accepted to show six original Windows paintings at the Great North Art Show, so they will be hanging in Ripon Cathedral in September. I'm really looking forward to that, and pleased to be chosen, though I'll have to rearrange the gallery in Prudhoe. It's always interesting to see my work in a new setting - and this one is very special.  
 
Great North Art Show have chosen six of my Windows paintings to be exhibited - 'Bedroom Window, Ruffside Farm,' 'The Blind,' 'Swallow's Nest,' 'The Blue Room,' 'Pantry Window, Ruined Cottage' and 'Garden Room'. Look forward to seeing them in such a beautiful cathedral setting in September.
 
 

Thursday 29th June 2017Three Years in Prudhoe for the Gallery

Three years ago, I picked up the keys to the gallery, then washeteria, and slept on the floor on a mattress. I celebrated with today's students and a bottle of Prosecco. Very happy with how those three years have gone - and grateful. May celebrate a little more tonight ...
 

Wednesday 31st May 2017Himalayan Blankets and Shawls from the Gaddi Tribe

I've been visiting people in this welcoming Himalayan community since living there in the 1980s and have now decided to sell blankets and shawls on their behalf from my Prudhoe gallery

 
I buy from one extended family in a small village, Noli, in the Dhualadhar region, who weave traditional designs from simple looms at home – not unlike clan tartans, I always think. Blankets and shawls are made from sheep the people have reared and wool they've spun, cleaned and woven themselves. 
  


Gaddi tribes were nomadic - now they settle in villages, but they still move with their livestock to pastures in upper hills during summer and to the foothills in chilly winters. The Gaddi use blankets for bedding, protection, and even as emergency makeshift tents when they're living in the hills with their sheep.  
  
The Noli villagers sell the woolen goods they create to live - an important supplement to their farming income. It was great to catch up with old friends I haven't seen for a number of years. Their hospitality was second to none. 

One large blanket takes two months to weave and I spent some time in their homes, seeing them work and even trying a little weaving myself (which I was absolutely useless at!). I've been visiting this region for many years and the warmth, generosity and hospitality of the local people has been very humbling. It is a tough, but beautiful region.

The blankets are large and very strong and warm - perfect for summer picnics, bedding and wrapping yourself up in when it's breezy or cold.



Gaddi people have great stamina, walking for miles in the hills with heavy loads on their backs, and visiting them involved lengthy trekking. Spending time with them again gave me an even deeper respect for these people, who survive in such tough conditions, yet are so gracious. 

Gaddi men and women use their shawls to protect their heads and bodies in cold weather. In this country, these strong shawls are also warm enough to serve as small picnic blankets, or to wrap around yourself as you sit outside on summer evenings when the sun goes down.

Thursday 23rd February 2017Painting Abandoned Dwellings - Hidden Treasures

 This blog relates to my painting 'Window' and explains some of the inspiration behind my work.
 

I'm so often inspired and amazed by what I find in long abandoned, crumbling cottages, farmhouses and barns. The photograph above features items left in an old farmhouse I explored in Huntshield Ford, between St John's Chapel and Daddry Shield in Weardale, which led to my painting 'Window', which you can see on the left. The brace of stuffed grouse surprised me most!

 

I have found whole cooker ranges, chairs and many personal objects intact in these long abandoned, derelict cottages and farmhouses. I always leave the contents exactly as I find them, and paint what I see, without any rearrangement at all.

 

It sometimes seems as if the family has just walked away...

Posted on February 23rd 2017 on 04:52pm
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