Clyde Holmes (1940 – 2008): Finnish Connections

 

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'Don't go looking for Antarctica without this book.' - Susan Solomon

 

 

 

“My painting is concerned with expressing the mystery and power of the wilder aspects of the landscape which we're all part of - there's no difference between nature outside us and nature inside us. In my exhibitions I bring together (in a variety of ways) the two halves of my work, poetry and painting. In my painting I've been attempting to express the silent dialogue between light and dark. We all live somewhere between lightness and darkness.”

Following an Arts Council-funded research trip to Finland in 2005, Clyde Holmes produced a unique body of work that compared the lakes of Finland with the lakes of North Wales. The connecting factor is simply that the landscape of both countries are characterised by the presence of water; the qualities of space, sky, land, weather and culture are, however, quite different.

The resulting exhibition, ‘Watermarks’, examines the bond between sky and water; at times the two elements merge as one, on other occasions their colours and forms reflect and imitate. Clyde Holmes’s style of landscape paintings focuses on the qualities of light and darkness and the relationship between sky and land; the traditional landscape view is sometimes cropped and aspects zoomed in on to explore their abstract potential.

 

“The clouds in the lakes are like icebergs – they have an icebergish shape and quality as if changing from cloud to ice in the water. The other curious aspect is the cubistic shapes the cloud reflections take on.” (from C. Holmes’s Finland journal)

“Getting an understanding of the cloud formations – they come and go in a completely different way to Wales – a thin bank of cloud will build and then just melt away or break up into pieces rather like a jigsaw with the pale blue in between. This gives the unique quality of cloud formations in the water and also the distinctive style of Kallela’s late paintings. He just painted what he saw here with his heightened awareness of patterns on the surface.” (C. Holmes reflecting on the work of Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela)

 

The ‘Watermarks’ Exhibition was shown at Bodelwyddan Castle in Rhyl, the Royal International Pavilion in Llangollen, and Osterley Park House in London during 2007. A touring exhibition in Finland was planned for 2009. Sadly Clyde died in May this year but his son and two daughters are working to continue exhibiting his work in the future.

 

© Clyde Holmes 2008. Born in London, Clyde studied fine art at Hornsey College of Art and St Martin's School of Art 1965-68. In 1972 he moved to a remote farmhouse in Wales to paint and write. He has exhibited widely and his paintings can be found in both public and private collections throughout Europe. His poems have been appeared in numerous specialist magazines and anthologies, and his own books include Skywalls, Featherpaths and In Season. He has also produced a music and poetry CD called Waterfalls of Light. For further information about Clyde’s work, go to www.clydeholmes.force9.co.uk or the Red Biddy Gallery.

 

 

 

 

 

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