Gary Blythe is an insanely talented local artist who is best known for illustrating picture books. Having spent a bizarre amount of time around children's books (occupational hazard of working in a library), I recognised quite a lot of his work. The printed reproductions in the books don't do justice to the incredible technique and detail of the original paintings.
|This Is The Star by Joyce Dunbar|
|Beauty and the Beast by Geraldine McCaughrean|
|Whale's Song by Dyan Sheldon|
|Blythe won the 1990 Kate Greenaway Medal for Whale's Song.|
|The Perfect Bear by Gillian Shields|
This illustration from Miss Happiness and Miss Flower by Rumer Godden (above) was probably my favourite piece in the whole exhibition. The simplicity of this little pencil drawing means that it could initially be overlooked, but there was something about the serenity emanating from the little girl in the picture which meant that I spent a very long time looking at it and I found myself wandering back to it several times throughout the evening.
Gallery 2 was something of a departure, featuring Blythe's private work rather than his illustrations. If you didn't know any better you would say that the two rooms featured totally different artists, although the more you browse and think about the work it is clear that there are some themes and motifs which work their way from his personal collection into his illustrations.
It was even hard to believe that the work on one wall of Gallery 2 was by the same artist as that on the opposite wall. The range of styles and techniques throughout the exhibition was incredibly impressive, and certainly makes for a varied experience as you stroll around the space taking it all in.
I'm definitely going to be visiting again before it closes; as I said, I experience quite a lot of exhibitions but it's rare for one to take my breath away and fascinate me quite as much as this one has!
When was the last time an art exhibition really impressed you? Let me know in the comments!