Saving the best till last: Graham Hadlow
Art Matters Gallery first opened its doors in Tenby in South Parade in 2001 and 3 professional artists were ‘inherited’ from the previous owners. One was Graham Hadlow, formerly Head of Art at Greenhill School, potter, champion fly-tyer, football enthusiast and watercolour painter. Leaving his teaching career early, he then devoted his time to painting as well as teaching adults in local classes and art clubs.
In September Graham has yet again been invited to show his latest collection of paintings at the gallery in White Lion Street. As the owners are retiring this will be the last exhibition to be shown and it seemed only fitting that their most popular and long-standing artist colleague brings their cycle of exhibitions to a close.
In the exhibition, viewers old and new will appreciate firstly the artist’s drawing skills, precise renditions in true perspective of buildings in the country, in villages, round harbours and in towns. Sources of light, time of day and season of the year are defined and weather – misty, sunny, showery, snowy – shown with a subtle touch. With no reference in the title the viewer can tell that the grass is dew-laden or frosted by small painterly adaptions.
Those who attempt watercolours know that the medium is fraught with difficulty: too wet and colours disappear and the paper buckles, too dry and the soft edges of nebulous clouds become hard and stiff, poor choice of colours may create granulated mixes or glaring contrasts…it is a wonder that anyone persists with so many traps to avoid.
When teaching, Graham often demonstrates his techniques, painting in front of the group, sometimes with a screen providing close-ups of his every brushstroke. In seconds the first wash of a sky is swept across the paper, another colour follows soon after, mixing to produce a third hue. The light on clouds may be picked out with a dry brush or tissue to remove paint, darker colour added to indicate fulness with rain soon to come. An easy commentary by Graham explains every move and the reason for it until regular class-goers ‘get it’ by hearing his words in their heads. Generous with his time and aware of his students’ needs Graham’s classes are always the first to reach capacity.
In the September exhibition 40 paintings show Pembrokeshire, South Wales, Cardiganshire and Snowdonia: towns, castles and coastlines, rivers, estuaries and meadows, sometimes peopled by fishermen, walkers or riders. Graham has produced a superb exhibition showing the best loved places of the region in his unique style, instantly recognised by his mastery of the medium.
The gallery in White Lion Street is open from 10 am until 5pm every day except for Wednesday (and Sunday 10th September to avoid the Iron Man event) until it closes on Saturday 30th September. Phone 01834-843375 or see the website www.artmatters.org.uk for more information.