My work is inspired by painting directly on the spot, essentially figurative landscapes and anything to do with the sea. The effects of atmosphere, light and shade, reflections of rich warm colours are my special interests. Still life and simple down to earth things are also subjects that I love to paint. Pam trained at the London School of Printing as a graphic designer. She exhibits nationally and is happy to take commissions.
Exhibited at Ace Space from 10 September – 1 December 2012
Newbury Weekly News arts review
Pam Grayburn works with traditional materials – oils on canvas ‒ in a conventional genre – the representation of landscape, seascape, flora and man-made structures in the British Isles and Europe ‒ making for a very pleasing show.
Her concerns are colour, light and atmosphere. She investigates the effect of light on natural phenomena and human structures: at different times of day, different times of year and in different climatic conditions. Almost always human beings are physically absent, their presence suggested by the structures they build and work in: fishermen’s boats and huts, homes and communal buildings. All the work shows a strong sense of composition: the harmonious and telling placing of motifs within a canvas.
High Tide, Blakeney speaks of the gentleness of English light and landscape: soft muted blues and grey-greens evoke a pale light, stillness and calm, deep shadows and translucent water. In the harbour scene Porthleven, the water is ruffled and angry: here darkly glowering blacks, greens and blues suggest an imminent storm. In Trani Harbour, southern European light glistens on turquoise water, elevating colour on fishing boats and the stone harbour to a sharp brightness. The strong diagonal composition of Kynance Beach, January shows the sea in its angry winter incarnation. In Fishing Huts, Walberswick, there is a nicely observed sky; in The Lighthouse, Dungeness, the interest lies in the contrasting colour and form of the three buildings depicted.
Structures are isolated within compositions to good effect. Burnham Overy Staithe at Low Tide shows pleasing horizontals of flat green marshland and dense mud; a mesh of wooden piles, ropes and moorings is counterpointed by a bright red and yellow boat. There are elemental colour combinations in Old Door, Corfu: peeling blue paint and an ochre wall with its cracked patina and brown-red staining.
Light is paramount. In Back Street, Pedraza, the interest is in sunlight dappling a green-shuttered wall, casting gentle shadows. In Senlis, the light is much more muted: a milky-grey day reduces contrasts of colour and form. The light is searing in the paired paintings 500 Year-Old Olive Trees (Puglia) I and II: it bleaches out the unshadowed ground and leaves, foregrounding the strong, warm red-brown of the gnarled trunks. You feel the heat, which references the heat of the countries in which the artist grew up. In Umbrella Trees Argentario I and II the concern lies in the horizontality of blue receding hills, a line of green trees and a ploughed field. The marginal difference of light and viewpoint in the two pictures lends each a subtly different atmosphere.
There is a series of enjoyable flower paintings. The vibrant orange-reds of Nasturtiums in a glass vase contrast with the grey pewter vessel of Irises standing on a white cloth against an ochre wall: as much a study in colour harmonies and contrasts as a representation. Elsewhere motifs are isolated. Blue Poppies depicts a stem of flower heads, the oils here capturing the physical delicacy of the petals and their myriad colour gradations. In Vines, black grapes ripe for harvesting sit within their canopy of red-gold autumn leaves.
This very enjoyable and accessible show can be seen by all those attending events, classes and workshops in the bar at Ace Space, and by appointment with the artist. It runs until 1 December.
Pamela Grayburn’s website is http://pamgrayburn.co.uk/