Thursday, 4 August 2011

"Seeing by doing"

This - Seeing by doing - was the catchphrase of Robert Lyon, in the 1930s a Master of Painting connected with Durham University. He it was who was instrumental in the formation of the Ashington Group, made up mostly of miners intent on improving their education through evening classes. One of them survives, and paints every day still: he has a current exhibition on in Newcastle.

Meeting the group's frustration at having to sit and gaze at Lyon's black and white slides of the Madonna with cherubs and its ilk, he challenged each of them at the outset to make their own attempt to create an art work. "The Pitmen Painters" tells the story in dramatic form, and a very good play it is (by Lee Hall, who also wrote the screenplay for Billy Elliot): we saw it last night at Malvern.

This photograph of the Malvern Hills was taken from Farmcote earlier in the Summer.

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