Thursday, 11 August 2011

Kyffin Williams

I was just having a look through iPlayer and found "Rolf on Art" Kyffin Williams. I'd never come across Kyffin Williams before but I really enjoyed the program.
Kyffin Williams (1918 – 2006) was a Welsh landscape painter who lived on the Island of Anglesey apparently in that legendary place with the longest name in Europe, Llanfairpwll (full name Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch!). He was advised to take up art after failing an army medical due to epilepsy. He attanded Slade School of Fine Art from 1941 and subsequently taught art in London from 1944 to 1973. Talking of his enrolment in Slade "The old prof said I couldn't draw," Williams said. "I was told I could come for one term only. There were few men around because of the war, so he let me stay for another two terms and then a year." In fact, Williams studied at the school from 1941 to 1944.
He was know for his Lansdscapes of Welsh mountains but is also for his portraits, executed in thick paints with a palette knife. Portraits are my favorite and I love his seemingly simply application of the paint.
One portrait is particularly striking - "Evan Roberts" is of a local botanist. The paint and how it's wonderfully applied reminds me a bit of Lucian Freud but the composition and the angle at which the sitter is placed really appeals to me. Apparently this was in part due to the sitters blindness which made him move his head to the side to hear. I love the angle, slighlty looking up at the sitter.

Evan Roberts Oil
 His landscapes tend to be on the dark dreary side with grey skies. It was interesting that he was forced to paint in dull light due to his epilepsy.

Welsh-farm Oil 20x24"
Llyn-Dinas water colour 16x19"
Cnicht from Creau Oil 30 x30 inch
 I also found some sketches which are more applicable to my course. I was particularly interested in the sketches of sheepdogs given that is the section I and studying currently and my subject is a collie!

I find his sketches are quite cartoon like and seem to have been done with either ink or felt pen which is unusual.  They've all caught the typical positions of a collie, that hunkered down alert posture they assume whenever anything moves. His sketch of the farmer is less cartoon-like and looks like a pen and ink wash. Although there is little detail, he's described the stance perfectly and the shadows are really nice.

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