The Molesworth Gallery
  Smith & Verling

Blaise Smith ~ On Freagh Hill ~ oil on canvas~ 8 x 12 inches

 

Blaise

Walter Verling ~ Cherry Blossom ~ oil on board ~ 20 x 15 inches

 

Blaise

Blaise Smith ~ Carcass, Derelict Meat factory ~ oil on board~ 12 x 14 inches

 

Blaise

Walter Verling ~ East Cork coast ~ oil on board

 

Blaise Smith ARHA & Walter Verling HRHA

New Landscapes

December 7th-24th, 2012

 

000"I first met Walter Verling about fifteen years ago in his house. He was a long time friend of my in-laws and his galavants around the country in search of a good view were already a sort of minor myth in my home. That first day he was kind enough to take a look at some of my early paintings. I had a few slides of them and in his cluttered studio we projected them on the wall. He had a couple of bits of cardboard and began holding them up in the light, cropping off bits of my paintings in shadow. He’d say – “ you don’t need that – or that, and you could lose all that...” Actually he was right about them. The compositions weren’t strong enough and it was a great lesson.
000Walter is a very good painter and he’s been doing it for most of his 82 years. He wouldn’t agree of course because as an art school lecturer he felt that he could only paint in the summer. But he was thinking about it all the time I’d say, and he probably made better use of those summer months than most.
000He paints everything from life, en plein air, outside, with his box easel. Years after that first meeting I was driving through Youghal at sundown and I chanced upon him painting on the big bridge there. He’s the only landscape painter I’ve ever bumped into in the field, as it were. I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often actually, but that just goes to show how rare an occupation it is.
000Walter is for me a connection into the old world of painting in Ireland. He painted for several years with Charles Lamb and met all the other painters still around in the 1950s and 60s. Those were the days when painting was Art and there wasn’t much debate about it. So Walter is one of the last of the Mohicans, a true believer, and there are only a very few of his pedigree still around.
000Yet at the same time Walter is to me a curiously modern Painter, in the way that his great hero Corot is a curiously modern Painter (when painting en plein air). Walter’s paintings steadily avoid the banal because (luckily) the kinds of colour combinations that interest him are only occasionally discovered in the picturesque. Furthermore, he has no intention of trying to make an allegory of it, there is no subtext in the sense that there are signifiers or things that supposedly “mean” things disported about the canvas. That kind of symbolist painting is from the 18th century, and is more part of a literary tradition, where x means y. Walter’s paintings are much more deadpan and this unemotive objectivity has much more in common with contemporary painting, both realist and abstract, where the paint itself is the message, and the image or subject is the vehicle for the enquiry into paint.
000In a sense Walter simply enjoys beautiful colour and the meaning that it has. You can’t describe that in the spoken word because of course it’s a language of its own and everything is lost in translation. Personally it’s always a bad sign for me when you can begin to “verbalise” a painting.
000We tried to get together a few times before this show to paint the same views. Due to the lousy summer this year it didn’t happen as often as I would have liked but you can see the widely differing results in a couple of the paintings. Actually I got some great advice from Walter again when we began. He took a look at the piece I did when we painted the River Barrow and suggested I lighten up my palette.

000He didn’t really have to say it to me. I could already see how he had seen it when we put the paintings side by side. I prefer his version myself because it’s about colour. It’s as if he’s playing the music in a bright major key and I’m down there in the bass in a dark minor mode. My painting is fine, but it lacks sparkle, vivacity, fun even. Mine was actually more accurate to the conditions on the day but Walter was kind enough to point out that I was a good enough painter to set the tone in a painting to suit my own purpose. I’ve been trying this out ever since.

000He’s very good at the colour control in his own work: setting a key and staying with it. It’s a bit like staying on message...
000Hopefully, the weather for the next couple of years will be a bit better and Walter and I can get together more often to paint the same views. Personally, I am looking forward to doing just that. This show is just an appetizer."
000Blaise Smith ARHA, November 21st, 2012

» Click here to read more about Blaise...

Blaise

Walter Verling ~ Connemara Sky ~ oil on board

 

 

Blaise

Blaise Smith ~ Red Barn, Stoneyford, winter sky ~ oil on canvas ~ 20 x 16 inches

 

 

Blaise

Blaise Smith ~ Portrait of Walter ~ oil on canvas

 

 

Blaise

Walter Verling ~ Skyscape ~ oil on board

 

 

Blaise

Blaise Smith ~ Landscape ~ oil on gesso board ~ 10 x 12 inches

 

 

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