'Reputation' I was somewhat at a loss as to the title to give this section, but felt it necessary to have a place for critical reviews, commentaries, or correspondence, and 'Reputation' will do as well as anything.
At the time when I was running my own gallery of my own work a few hours a week in East Dulwich, South London, there came into the gallery one day someone by the name of Tony Wilson, a journalist I believe, who after an 'interview' of sorts, produced an *article on the gallery for a local Dulwich newspaper. I reproduce a facsimilie of the article, which included a reproduction of one of my illustrations for the Times Higher Educational Supplement.
* Article reproduced at bottom of page.
More recently, in May 2017, I came across by chance on the internet (via a Google search),
another article that someone had written on my work....and of which I was completely unaware, taking three examples of pictures and discussing them in detail. I have no idea who wrote it, but it was to be found on the Studentshare.com website, used by university students in the U.K. and elsewhere, as an example of an essay for use in study for a Masters degree....presumably in Fine Art criticism or similar. This I reproduce in full. I was impressed by the comments of the writer (anonymous), who described things in my work that I was not conscious of, and also made several observations with which I wholeheartedly agree......I was particularly impressed by the closing sentence of the 'conclusion'; 'where he had practised traditioal art methodology, even as a contemporary artist'........that is absolutely right.
'Describe the work of a contemporary artist, designer or filmmaker you think is of particular interest and importance.'
Masters Degree Essay
CONTEMPORARY ARTIST: AUSTEN PINKERTON INTRODUCTION: Contemporary art generally referred to today’s art. It included art made from the late 1960s to the present. Contemporary art was also referred to as ‘postmodern art’ because it followed after the end of modern art or the modernist period. ( It should be noted, however, that artists were in the present day, making modern art as well as art in practically all past styles or modes). The most important aspect of contemporary art was its indefinability. It could not be categorized easily into a particular medium or a specific school. With globalization, the distinctions within Art had loosened. Contemporary art practices, the vibrancy and dissonance in today’s art scene, are unique. (Kocur p1987). Another notable characteristic of contemporary art was that the theme was normally an issue that affected the present-day world: cloning, politics, economics, issues of gender, race, class, human rights, ethnicity, etc1. Contemporary art was also not limited by the materials used or the methodology. The art was vividly emotional, hence the accusation of ‘sensationalism’. By going for the jugular, these artists made main-stream British culture pay attention. Emphasis on the tangible, rather than a vague conceptualism, distinguished British art of the past fifteen years.(Guardian). Austen Pinkerton was the British contemporary artist I selected, for discussing three of his works. He had specialized in acrylic and water colours. Austen said that he took inspiration from the world around him. He used representational elements as the starting point for his compositions. With the help of his memory and imagination, he created a whole new environment, full of narrative and emotion: “Sometimes I just want to express my feelings, about something or the other in my life or in the world around me.” 1 The main reason for my selecting Austen Pinkerton was that his works were full of aesthetic appeal. I have selected three of his works which can be identified with historical art, having the qualities of aesthetics like beauty, purity and transcendence 2. The online gallery of his paintings, can be accessed for the complete range of his works from pre-1970s to his
new work: post-20053. His earlier work had several examples of modernistic, simplistic and abstract art, and several portraits and still-life.
The three art works selected from Austen Pinkerton’s works are shown below:
(Absolutearts Online Art Gallery). Painting Acrylic, 2003 Title: ‘SUNSET CITY’
Width: 350 mm. Depth: 25 mm: Height: 450 mm. Frame: Wood.
Theme: Architectural/ Cityscape.
DESCRIPTION: In this beautiful and carefully executed painting, the splendour and colour of a magnificent city sunset is presented in all its glory. Austen’s art- approach and compelling style is suitable for land, water and city scapes. Strong contrasts provide drama and excitement in the sky’s colours.
The cool evening environment at sunset- time is clearly portrayed. The blazing colours of the sunset are seen reflected from the windows and front façade of the building in the fore-ground. The fiery colours of the sunset off-set the cool atmosphere of the evening. The detailed work, showing the other high-rise buildings in the area, with their structural features clearly etched, is awe-inspiring. This dynamic and challenging work is breath-taking in its beauty. The painstaking piece of art has been executed with an eye to great detail and reproduction of the scene as naturally as possible. The view is from the street, from where it is seen that high above the city sky-line, the banded clouds glow with the blazing hues of sunset. The play of light and shadow has been done very realistically. Some of the buildings in the background are partially in the shade.
Since the essence of the spectacular cityscape has been caught faithfully on the canvas, we feel the same awe at the splendour, as the artist who had witnessed it.
Title: ‘THE RIVER’ ACRYLIC PAINTING 2005
Width: 1960 mm. Depth: 30 mm. Height: 735 mm. Frame: Wood Theme: Landscape/ River DESCRIPTION: A panoramic view of a river as it emerges in rapids between bluffs, over a waterfall with rainbow, and then flows onward towards the sea. Everywhere there are details of interest: people, buildings, ancient monuments, castles, shipping, etc, shown in minute form.
In this beautiful painting, the hand of the imaginative artist manifests in the natural and glowing colours. The painting is evocative, as it makes the viewer imagine himself directly viewing this scenery at the real location. Dream paintings in which private fantasy is illustrated, display this kind of glorious gold-tinted and billowing clouds, and a rainbow reflected in the water.
The fore-ground has been clearly etched, and the far horizon recedes into the dim distance. The sense of perspective, with the depiction of the vastness of the landscape and the great length of the river, captures the elements of the open vistas. In this magical scene, the waterfall continuing its journey forward from the lower part of the cliff, as a river has been skilfully executed.
Different shades of green and earthy colour tones have been used to add to the natural look of the rocky plains. The waterfall and the river have been painted very realistically, showing turbulence as well as tranquility in the water. Marion Boddy-Evans (About.com Painting) says that painting less detail in the background, and giving the foreground preference, leads the viewer’s eye into the main focus of the landscape painting.
Lake by Moonlight" - Painting Acrylic, 2005
Width: 180 mm. Height: 250 mm. Depth: 25 mm Frame: Wood Theme: Landscape/ lake .
DESCRIPTION: A view across a lake to steep shores covered in pine forests. It is late evening and the sun is setting, whilst to the right the moon casts its reflection in the water. A boat with a single occupant rows across the lake.
In this painting, Austen Pinkerton has caught the atmosphere of dusk-time. The rich dark colours he has used, depict the moments after the setting sun disappears over the horizon, and nightfall is near.
The inky waters reflect the pearly light of the moon, and in that light, we can see a lone boatman rowing in the lake. The lonely figure intensifies the feeling of desolation and isolation that a viewer would experience if directly present in the scene. Marion Boddy-Evans (About.com Painting) writes about the intense emotion created in the viewer which is equal to the emotion felt by the artist who witnessed the scene. The glowing pine forests, reflecting the dying light of the sun, and the darkening sky have been realistically caught in the picture. Here the deepening night sky reflects its gloomy darkness in the water, which is calm and placid. Using a variety of blue and green tones, the late hour of the evening has been depicted, to show the deepening dusk-time.
The banded clouds and the distant moon shining through, the pale glow in the western sky, as an aftermath of the setting sun, picturise a beautiful skyscape. The rays of the sunset-glow highlight the pine trees with a silvery light.
The gradations of the treetops on the hill-slopes, and the colour gradations in the western sky attract the eye and are pleasing to behold. Colours provide their own sense of atmosphere and magic. The environment, the time and the place are caught in a dramatic fashion, in the imaginatively created painting.
CONCLUSION: According to the theme, techniques and approaches used, artists and their work provide a catalyst for further research and discovery. Austen Pinkerton had covered a diverse range of subject matters in his nearly four decades of art work. Three of his recent paintings have been discussed here, where he had practised traditional art methodology, even as a contemporary artist.
Absolutearts Online Art Gallery. Website: http://www.absolutearts.com/portfolio/a/austenpinkert/
Boddy-Evans, Marion. Painting, ‘About’ Website: http://painting.about.com/mbiopage.htm Guardian, Online Arts Journal. Website: http://arts.guardian.co.uk/turnerpeoplespoll/story/0,,1073321,00.html
Kocur; 'Contemporary Art Since 1985' , Blackwell Publishing, 2004.
The following email I received in September 2015 from Madelaine Smith, who was studying 'A' level art at the Godolphin Public school for girls, Salisbury, U.K. I reproduce here her initial email, and my reply. Austen Pinkerton 14/09/2015
Shore Artwork Process.
Mr Pinkerton, My name is Madi, I am currently studying Art A-level at Godolphin school.
While researching some artists to inspire me your work caught my eye due to your unique, stand out style. I particularly like your coastal work of aniamals such as ‘Crab on a seashore’ and ‘dusky shark’ and was wondering if you could tell me a little about your process for your work; how you come up with the ideas for your pieces and then go about executing these ideas to form the images?
What scale are your images and what are they on?
Any information you could give me on your work would be much appreciated as I would love to use your work in my project as a base idea to develop my own work from throughout my work. Many thanks
I’m going to try and answer your questions as best I can, and thanks for taking an interest in my work.
Firstly, you ask: ’ what scale are my images, and what are they on?’ Well, they vary a lot....I work in many different ways, and produce work in many different sizes. Usually the nature
and type of the image I want to make dictates the size and the technique I use. For instance, if I want to do a quick, simple work, I work small...say A5 or A4 size, on paper, and draw in pencil.
For a more complicated work, I will work larger, on card, and add highlights in Gouache, or add colour, using crayon, or watercolour, and sometimes using an Ink pen to strengthen outlines and shadows.
Sometimes I work solely in pencil, ink, and gouache for the highlights. Often I try to do a painting, then a drawing, and then a sculpture in turn. I have done watercolours up to about 2ft 6 inches by 3ft 6 inches
and pastels of a similar size, as pastels are very coarse and need to be worked large...but very satisfying in that the colours in a good pastel are very intense. For these I also use gouache, black and white, to accentuate the highlights and shadows.
For an important work that will take a long time I use canvas on a stretcher and paint in acrylics, but these can take months. Of course I also make sculptures, almost always in clay and fired in a potters kiln, but the making and firing of sculptures is hazardous, and I’ve got very good at repairing them so you’d never be able to tell (!). Once, and only once, a sculpture that’d taken months of work was fired wrongly and blew up in the kiln....I’ve never forgotten that.
‘How do you come up with ideas for your pieces, and then go about executing these ideas to form the images?’
Very difficult question.
The ideas come in all sorts of ways....sometimes an idea or an image comes in a flash, sometimes it has to be worked on. Sometimes the idea changes as I get into the work. Sometimes I hardly think about what I’m doing at all, and let my ‘unconscious mind’ do all the work for me. Sometimes I use photographs, sometimes I work entirely from memory. Often when I look back at a work after a long time, I’ll see things in it that I had no idea were there, or images I had no idea I was producing.
Still, I can give you a few examples of works where I was pretty conscious and aware of my intentions. Here are a few examples, and I attach images of them with this email....
Firstly, a very major work, one of what I call my ‘Symphonies’ of which I’ve so far produced 9 or 10. ‘The River’. This is about 7ft long by about 2ft 6 inches high. Its painted in acrylic on canvas,
Well, the idea of a river is a very ancient analogy for ‘life’.The river starts its life very small, in youth it is lively and active and tumbles over rocks, in mid age it slows and bends back and forth, and in old age it is tired, and slowly goes back into the ocean...The great Cosmic ocean of the afterlife which we all return to and from which we all came. On its journey the river has many events and incidents, as I show. However, in my picture which changed and developed as I worked on it, other things crept in.....for instance climate change, and rising sea levels, where I show the people on the right climbing to higher ground to escape the flood...when I painted these I also had very much in mind Michaelangelo’s scene of Noahs flood from the Sistine Chapel ceiling (not that one would realise!). It’s all very complicated and not at all straightforward.......its like poetry, if you try to analyse a poem you are in danger of losing the essence of it....art is art, its a visual thing, not to be put into words. The best art is very close to poetry or to music.
Secondly, a lesser work, all in black and white: ‘Helen Keller’. This is about 1ft by 1ft 6 inches. It’s done in pencil, ink and gouache on card. This is one of my portraits I like to do of people who interest me...often from the past. IThis is one of my portraits I like to do of people who interest me...often from the past. It helps me to understand them, and also to share my ideas about them with others. What interests me about Helen Keller is that she was born completely blind and deaf. By rights she should have been the most miserably unhappy person, but when you see photos of her she often has an expression of comlete joy. Why? Why?t helps me to understand them, and also to share my ideas about them with others. What interests me about Helen Keller is that she was born completely blind and deaf. By rights she should have been the most miserably unhappy person, but when you see photos of her she often has an expression of comlete joy. Why? Why? I think that because she was not being constantly bombarded with sensory information as we all are, she was left somehow able to see things that we cannot...the spiritual side that is blocked to most of us...if you like she could see God. This I try to show, by showing her flooded with light, looking upward, as she was in the photo I used as a basis for the drawing. Light I use because light occurs over and over again in accounts of spiritual experiences, and I personally have experienced it myself.
Thirdly, a minor work, in colour crayon: ‘Apples on a plate’. This is about A3 size, and done in crayon pencils on card with Gouache .This started out very simply as a still life, but when I looked at it a long time after it was finished, I wondered why I’d left one apple outside the bowl, and I realised that apple was me.....as an artist left outside
and ignored by the art world, which is what I, wrongly or rightly, have felt for a long time.
Finally: ‘Crab on seashore’. This is about A4 size, and drawn in pencil on paper with gouache highlights. This was to be a quick simple work, so I did it in pencil on paper, and highlighted in white gouache. I use the images of Crabs, The Moon, and Water, a lot in my work because I am very interested in Astrology. I was born in the sign of Cancer, and Cancer is represented by the crab, which has a hard shell but is soft inside and also walks sideways. It has claws to defend itself with if threatened. Cancer is also ruled by the Moon, and is a ‘water ‘ sign. So there you are....a self portrait!
I hope all this helps. If you have any further questions about any works or anything else please don’t hesitate to ask....I’ll be happy to help.
Again, thanks for your interest, I’ve enjoyed answering your questions and its helped me to understand my work.
Equally, I found this by chance, in a blog by Richard Blackwell-Jones, who had invited me to take part in the 2017 'Art on The Faith Trail' show at St Davids Cathedral......... Art on the Faith Trail 2017 June 7th, 2017 by Richard : 'This years AotFT group exhibition will open at St David’s Cathedral on Friday 16th June at 4.00pm. At the same time there will a further 13 venues throughout North and South Pembrokeshire hosting individual members exhibitions. See art-on-the-faith-trail.co.uk for more details of where and who. I will be having a solo show at St Peter’s Church, Marloes and a joint show with my esteemed colleague and great painter Austen Pinkerton at All Saints Church, Mathry. All these shows run until the end of July.'
From around the middle of last year, as I started to produce new Life Drawings on a weekly basis, following my joining Narberth Museum Life Drawing Group in spring 2018, I began to post each new Life Drawing work on my own Facebook page. Later I added local South Wales artists Facebook pages, such as 'West Wales Artists work (membership 317)', and 'Welsh Artists and Craftspersons' (membership 5,500). As I started to get encouraging responses to my works, I found and joined new Facebook artists groups, some of an international nature, and some like the 'International Artists Group' with 92,000 members worldwide. I added new groups, and as I found favourable responses to my work, I decided to keep a record of what people said. These I list below to date (Dec. 2019), and will add to in due course as new ones occur. I list the relevant work, the group, the date of posting,the name of the group member who made the comment, with of course the comment.....as follows:
'Einstein' October 2019
Group: Get My Art Recognised:
Michelle Mchugh 'You breathed life into him !!!' Fida Hussain Bhaimia 'Great art of great personality from great artist,??? Immaculate amazing well done!!!!!! ' Yosina Margherit 'Amazing detail'
'Reclining Robot' November 2019
Group: Get My Art Recognised
Michelle Mchugh 'Very unique and creative. Go and knock on those gallery doors. Introduce yourself. They will snap you up.' James Chi 'Interesting' Colleen Milburn 'Awesome work! Like nothing I've seen before....truly WOW.' Maree Cardinale 'Yeah WOW' Group: International Artists Group: Erika Shuster 'Awesome'
'Joanna Number 1' December 2019
Group: Life Drawing Showcase:
Erica Shuster 'Fantastic Artwork' Erum Rafique 'Beautiful'
' Brave New World' (This is not from a Facebook page, but from a competition for which I entered 'Brave New World' (National Art Open). It was not accepted). The secretary replied to an inquiry as to size of entry with the following:' 'I think the picture is Stunning' 'What a fabulous piece of Work, but then I am not a judge'.
'John Number 9' December 2019
Group: International Artists Group:
Ojatunwashe Gbenga 'Great Art'. Erika Schuste 'Impressive'
'Reclining Nude' December 2019
'Creative work of the inspired artist' (the title this individual goes by)
'Definitely worth the share, you are talented, keep forging ahead and keep posting your creations'.
As of spring 2020 the Facebook comments became too numerous for me to regularly record. They generally seem to be favourable; and similar to the above.