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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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Thursday 09th February 2017Original Watercolours

This is an extract from my latest newsletter. Just email me on paul@stangroom.orangehome.co.uk if you would like to receive the newsletters direct, or just browse the originals on this website.
 
To view the whole newsletter, copy and paste this link - http://us10.campaign-archive2.com/?u=6d36b88598cab0e03c2eca659&id=fef17f96ad
 
Paul Stangroom Watercolours
 
 
I have a small range of original paintings for sale in the gallery. I've been very busy working on a range of different commissions since autumn of last year and so have fewer originals for sale than I used to. Looking at the originals on the walls of the gallery, I realise that many of the subjects I choose feature the scarred or the damaged - such as the ravaged landscape of 'The End of the Line' (above, now more peaceful and healed) or the crumbling 'Wall Fell Farm.'
 


'Ruffside Farm,'is a derelict farm building (near the historic village of Blanchland and the Derwent Reservoir) that has long fascinated me.  It is currently being reroofed and renovated, I noticed the last time I was in the area. I like to see new life being breathed back into these forlorn and fragile places.
 


 
I used the painting of Grove Rake Mine for my small sign at the front of the gallery, because it reflects the history of Northumberland, as well as my own personal history, and is a painting that means a lot to me.

'Wall Fell Farm' caught my eye from the Military Road and I went to investigate it several times in different seasons before finally painting it as it looked one wet, stormy day when the light lit up the buildings in a way that seemed magical. I tried to capture that magic in this painting.

Thursday 09th February 2017An Inspiring Weardale Farmhouse

 
 
I painted both 'Window' and 'Tree House' after discovering this derelict farmhouse in Weardale, near St John's Chapel - the two windows are upstairs. 'Treehouse' is the window on the farmhouse's left and 'Window' is on the right. You can see the photos I took originally of the farmhouse below in the collage, and the actual paintings above. 
 
If you look to the top of 'Window' you will see that it has its very own natural Velux feature! It's one of the watercolours that I enjoyed painting most. And I also like the poem that Noel Connor wrote to accompany 'Tree House' in 'In the Pause of Passing'.  I have copied a short extract below. If you look closely at the painting, you will see the details he is describing:
 
'...Jam jars on a window-sill
preserved in watercolour,
no more than berry-stains on paper,
a still life ripening
on his autumn easel.'
 
 

Tuesday 10th January 2017My Palette

 

I use a very limited palette and the colours are: Winsor Blue – both red and green shade, Winsor Lemon or Cadmium Yellow (pale) and Permanent Rose. This works well for me and most colours can be mixed from them. Other colours I may use are: Winsor and Newton Neutral Tint, Vandyke Brown, Sepia and Burnt Umber. I also use Rembrandt watercolours and Maimeri – they are very vibrant and great for bright, sunlit scenes.

 

Whatever brand of paint I use, I still stick to a limited palette. One of the teaching sessions I enjoy most is exploring the range and richness of shades that combining colours makes possible.

 

Posted on January 10th 2017 on 12:37pm
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