Gerry Halpin: Painting Coastal Landscapes

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Gerry Halpin MBE PPMAFA NAPA is a landscape painter employing a assortment of media. His do the job is primarily interpretive, intuitive and pushes in the direction of abstraction, in particular his coastally inspired paintings. Represented by a variety of personal galleries Gerry’s get the job done is purchased greatly by clients and collectors in Britain and abroad. In this short article Gerry provides us a fascinating perception into what conjures up him, his functioning procedures and his products of decision.


Image of Gerry painting

“…an artist have to imagine, the eye is not ample, it demands to consider as well” – Paul Cezanne Aix-En-Provence,  France (1839 -1906)

My follow

Arriving at the studio every single early morning is the commencing of a marvellous and privileged prospect to paint. To make obvious individuals pictures which have been maturing in my mind from the sketches, I produced immediately after walking the moors and beaches exactly where I locate my sources of inspiration.

Operating in an interpretive, expressive design and style, I am a landscape painter who, immediately after rambling about individuals inspiring locations and earning on website ‘aide memoire’ sketches, prefers to paint in the studio alternatively than ‘plein air’.

For me, it is elementary that I have interaction totally with the landscape. Recording individuals visuals which to start with caught my eye and which fired my creativity. Then returning to the studio where the equipment I need to have to entire the painting is to hand.

Image of Gerry's sketchbook

The relevance of sketches

Preliminary sketches thus are vitally important to my practice. I cannot emphasise plenty of how much I rely on them in the studio. My sketches are not comprehensive drawings, they simply report the essence of what I noticed and remind me of that when I get started to paint. I stay clear of unwanted depth which would distract me from these feelings and sensations integral to a specific picture. They assure that my brain also will become concerned in the course of action of portray. 

I wholly agree with Cezanne, the eye is not plenty of, the mind also wants to ‘see’. This outcomes in a personal and therefore special painting. Paintings which after time and with consistency of approach, have turn out to be recognized as the perform of a specific artist.

Image of Gerry's sketchbook

Sketching in the clouds

Prior to Lockdown, when air travel was available, I was fascinated by on the lookout down on the landscape from an plane. Regardless of whether that was getaway flights or from occasional outings in a two seater piloted by a pal. I would attract quickly recording the marks unveiled from searching down on the landscape. Recording marks geographically normal and marks created by person. The effects, without the need of which includes a horizon, ended up linear and the important drawing pace additional to a sense of abstraction. I was mindful that they may possibly lean towards ‘pattern’, but the texture and mark earning inherent in my strategy prevented that kind of stylised end result.

Shoreline
Gerry Halpin – Shoreline

In her autobiography, ‘Out Of This Century’ Peggy Guggenheim manufactured an observation. When traveling residence from San Francisco “the landscape down below was wonderful, greater than any painting”.

I could possibly concur with Guggenheim, but if a single provides Cezannes’ idea to the mix, ‘seeing’ through the ‘mind’ as nicely as the eye and not becoming tied to the reality of the check out, permitting feelings, sensitivity and personal interpretation to play their part, then the subsequent painting can be similarly awesome.

The late Peter Lanyon is a marvellous illustration of an artist who painted the landscape from previously mentioned. Recording the ‘sensations’ and not the descriptions of the noticed planet, from his numerous glider flights in Cornwall.

Gerry Halpin - Shoreline: Pools & Flotsam
Gerry Halpin – Shoreline: Pools & Flotsam

A new standpoint

Given that Lockdown, I haven’t flown and relied on my before sketches for starting points. I have often been especially fascinated in the alternatives presented by the interaction of the sea on the land. A short while ago I have develop into enthusiastic by the shoreline itself. Not from a wonderful peak but rather from head height if you will. Strolling about and searching down. Focussing on the flotsam and jetsam still left behind by the tide, strands of fishing nets, buoys and seaweed. Disused jetties, rusted breakwaters and twisted groynes together with tumbles of rocks and scatterings of pebbles and shells had been all marvellous item of intrigue.

These were being the objects of my eye. The swirl of the seawater in between pools and the shift of item brought on by the ebb and flow of the tide were being supplemental criteria. Sensations of the intellect, to be provided someway in the portray.

My coastal shoreline paintings are interpretive re-displays of the two objects and sensations. They are for that reason rather uniquely abstract and gestural functions.

Remains: Tide In
Gerry Halpin – Stays: Tide In

My resources of choice

I have just lately returned to acrylics, owning utilised the superb Michael Harding oil paints on several of the earlier paintings. My most important substances are Liquitex significant overall body paint together with Liquitex versatile modelling paste for tough texture locations. I leave it to dry for a day at the very least just before starting to paint. I also use Liquitex Liquithick additive to body up the paint, it is great in not paling out the colour. These all get the job done beautifully well on possibly canvas, added primed or paper primed with a gesso primer. Arches or Saunders Waterford 300lb paper is splendid to use which I BluTack it to a board.

The rewards of painting with acrylics

Staying a restless painter, I find the rapid drying of acrylics satisfies my system of painting nicely. It lets me to scratch and scrape with all way of implements to obtain rugged textural effect. The dry area quickly accepts pastel and charcoal marks that I need to have to contain. Overpainting is reached speedily and alterations can be produced easily as a result of individuals significant times of contemplative sitting and hunting from the ‘minds eye’.


Gerry Halpin is a Member, a previous Trustee and the immediate Earlier President of Manchester Academy of High-quality Arts (MAFA) and he has exhibited broadly since his election to Membership in 2001. Appointed MBE in 2009 for his get the job done in Art and Charities. In 2022 he was invited to turn into a member of the National Acrylic Painters Association (NAPA). His paintings have been exhibited with the ROI, RSMA and RI in the Shopping mall Galleries, London. In the 2014 ROI exhibition, he was awarded the Menina Joy Schwabe prize for an superb operate.

You can see extra of Gerry’s perform on his website. A selection of his paintings can be viewed in an exhibition at the Technically Brilliant Gallery, Warrington, right up until mid June and forever at Saul Hay Gallery, Manchester.

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