Saturday, June 25, 2011

Kendal, UK

Another post from my travels in Britain. While visiting my parents in Kendal I went with my mother to the local art museum. Considering it's location, (i.e. Kendal is a small northern town) it really gets some great exhibitions; I remember a Lucian Freud and a Walter Sickert exhibition as examples.

The museum this month hosted the work of Sheila Fell (1931-79). She spent most of her life painting the local landscapes and I imagine was aided greatly in her success by her friendship with the artist LS Lowry (famous for his little stick figure 'naive' style art). I was unfamiliar with Sheila Fells work, and it was a great discovery.
Skiddaw 1964

She painted the local 'Lake district' countryside which can be stunning with it's rolling hills and patch-work of dry stone walls, small cottages and plentiful lakes and rivers. It does rain a lot in this area, and that I felt could be witnessed in her work, since many were quite brooding and dark with an emphasis on tonal painting.  She seemed to me to have two strong techniques or styles. One with heavy impasto painting and another a lighter thinner brush with more careful considered placement.  Both styles where extremely competent and she deserved all her success.

Her work also offered me a realization that there are a wealth of post-war British painters who's styles and techniques of work I am immediately drawn too. This realization has been quite an epiphany for me, because though I would always have listed one or two artists from this period as influences, I don't think I'd ever been aware of just how many artists within this era created work that inspires me. 

Large Wave, Allonby

A final little comment - The exhibition rather ominously stated that she died from 'an accident in her home'. I confess this kind of statement really sparks my curiosity, perhaps I have a bit of Agatha Christie in me? You see I can't help but ponder a variety of ridiculous and unlikely artist accidents that could occur in the home; -  'falling of the roof while trying to paint the view' or perhaps 'tripping over with a brush and impaling a vital organ'. Agreeably these are unlikely accidents to have occurred, and I suppose a google search would sate my curiosity; but too lazy to do so, for the moment I'll be left with my ruminations.


  1. I'm nosy so I looked it up and it says she passed away of alcohol poisoning. So....if this were an Agatha C. Novel...or a Cold Case episode...there could be more to the story... Glad you had a nice trip!

  2. Not the case, as far as I'm aware. Fell by name, fell by nature - she died after a fall. Whether alcohol was a contributory factor is another matter.