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Lining the walls

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: May 15, 2014

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CURIOUSLY enough, both artists in the exhibition now being held in Cornwall Contemporary, Penzance, have paintings in ocean-going liners.

Alasdair Lindsay, who lives and works in Hayle, has a dozen paintings and more than 300 prints of those paintings on permanent display in the luxury Cunard liner Queen Mary II, and Fiona Millais, who happens to be a great-grand-daughter of the pre-Raphaelikte painter Sir John Everett Millais, has eight of her large works on board the P&0 liner Arcadia.

Both artists have also exhibited in this gallery before. Many will recall the former's painting of his home port of Hayle, and one of Hayle Towans covered in snow, that were part of his exhibition 25 Harbours held there in 2012.

A Cheshire-born artist who, on completion of his studies at the West Cheshire College, Reading University and Falmouth College of Art, opted to stay in Cornwall and bravely gave himself some seven or eight years in which to make his mark, it says much for his ability that within his first year he enjoyed two successful shows, and not long afterwards was commissioned to produce the already mentioned works for the liner Queen Mary II.

Since then he has not looked back.

Shortly after completing that commission he won the second prize in the Hunting Art Prize, was also selected to show in the same prize competition in the years 2000, 2004 and 2005, and in 2007 was selected for exhibition in the Singer Friedlander Sunday Times Watercolour Competition at the Mall Galleries, London. He has also exhibited at various venues in the UK from Martins Gallery, Cheltenham, to Thompsons Gallery, London, and one of his aerial view paintings of London, first shown here two years ago, has been pre-selected for this year's Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy.

An artist who admits to being as concerned with the whole process of painting as much as he is with his actual subject matter, the works he is showing here, from an aerial view painting of the Jubilee Pool, Penzance to another of Penzance Harbour are not confined to Cornwall, but from Nocturne, Albert Bridge to Westminster Bridge and the Millennium Eye, also include images from elsewhere and reflect his ability to successfully handle both.

Whatever his subject matter, he regards it regularly and, although he usually paints from memory and through experimentation, sometimes sketches on site.

His studio work is down to decisions based on instinct rather than theory, and often the subject of a painting will become secondary to the emerging pattern of its abstract areas. This, as he says, must be evaluated and perhaps edited for the sake of a painting's overall composition.

An artist whose works have been gaining increasing acclaim in recent years, as appealing as they are accomplished, his latest pictures possess an even greater sense of presence than before.

While the paintings by his colleague Fiona Millais could hardly be more different, from Path To The Beach to Salt, Sand & Sea Shell, they also make their presence felt in no uncertain way. Generally gentle in approach, her paintings are based on either landscape or still life, indeed, she often combines both in a single composition, but are rarely a direct representation of her subject matter.

An approach and technique which leads to pictures that are as gratifying, golden and glowing, as they are gentle.

Well worth seeing, admission is free, and the works of both these artists are on view in Cornwall Contemporary, 1 Parade Street, Queen's Square, Penzance, 10am to 5pm, Monday to Saturday, until June 2.

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