Gibraltar’s old buildings in beautiful watercolour : James Foot exhibition April 2016

Regular visitors to this blog will know I have a bit of a fascination with Gibraltar’s old buildings, the slightly shabbier ones in particular. So imagine my delight when I took a few moments to shelter from yesterday’s thunderstorms at the Fine Arts Gallery in Casemates Square and had time for a good look at the James Foot exhibition.

James is an English fine artist who splits his time between his homes in London and Lakonia in southern Greece. He has had a long association with Gibraltar and has held several exhibitions of his work here over the years.  

  

In this exhibition he included a few paintings of Venice and Greece, however the vast majority of his work on show is of Gibraltar. I’m mesmerized by the water in these paintings of Greek fishing boats. So many different shades of blue and reflections – just gorgeous!

  

Enough of Greece though, let’s get back to Gibraltar… I promise that I had no idea about James Foot and his work before going on my strolls around Gibraltar looking at balconies,  doors and windows.

  
 

It does rather seem that we are on a similar wavelength when it comes to our appreciation of Gibraltar’s colonial architecture. 

  
 
Sadly, that is where any similarities between myself and this immensely talented artist ends…

  

Just look at the shadows cast by those shutters! Oh to be able to paint like that!!

   

I fear the photos I took on my phone don’t do these beautiful watercolours justice. (I did get permission from the artist himself to take the photos by the way)
    
I would love to have a go at painting one of Gibraltar’s ornate ironwork balconies, but I fear that after seeing this great work I could never produce anything half as good – just stunning!

  

And look, do you remember the special door at the rear of Holy Trinity Cathedral with the special ‘Books for Seamen’ letter box which features in my Stroll No 5 about doors? Well even that has been reproduced in beautiful watercolours – can you see it peaking out from behind that palm tree? 

  

If you are in Gibraltar and want to have a look at these and the many other beautiful paintings in this exhibition (there are 47 in all), you’ll need to be quick. The exhibition’s open for just two more days. 

I’m so glad I got the opportunity to see this work, thank goodness it rained yesterday and gave me the excuse to stop and take shelter at the gallery!

For more information on James Foot and his paintings, do have a look at his website.

A stroll around Gibraltar: No. 3 Windows

I’ve got a bit of a thing about windows, especially old ones which are a bit neglected and unloved. Spotting them has become a bit of an obsession for me. Gibraltar has a fair few to choose from but for those of you not familiar Rock, please do not think it’s a place full of derelict buildings – it’s not, but new shiny developments don’t really excite me the way old romantic ones do.  

 I like to take off for exploratory walks far from the madding crowd. Despite the fact we have lived here for 6 1/2 years and even though it’s a very small place in the scheme of things, Gibraltar is full of nooks and crannies waiting to be uncovered. This empty building was tucked away up an alleyway I explored for the first time when I was climbing those steps two weeks ago! 

  It was these windows (below) which sparked my interest and set me off snapping photos of sad sashes and shutters, there’s just something about them. Or is it just me? Perhaps it’s because where I come from, on the whole the beauty of crafted wooden windows has been replaced by bland white uPVC double glazing :-(.

  If these walls and windows could talk, what interesting tales would they tell? Just think of the people who have gazed out of these windows and seen the Gibraltar of years gone by. Are they even still alive? 

 This building (above) is slap bang in the centre of town just off Main Street and adjacent to a smart new urban park. How has this prime location escaped the redevelopers?  These ones are too:

  Don’t you think some of these would make a great subject for a painting?  

 Just makes you wonder what’s inside those windows too. Is there a gold mine of architectural treasures just waiting to be brought back to life and be appreciated again?  

Shutters have become a bit of an obsession for me lately. Two pairs of shutters on our home, which were in a hard to reach place (and therefore haven’t been painted for a while) were in need of a bit of tlc.

I got my sander out and had a field day getting all the loose paint off them – it was great fun. How much fun it would be if there were more than just 2 pairs, I’m not too sure. Look at them, in all their undercoated glory!  

 It took a week for me to undercoat them with multiple interruptions from younger members of the family. I can quite understand why people replace wooden shutters with the aluminum alternatives but crikey, when they have a fresh coat of gloss on them, they’re majestic! 

  
Which brings me onto my final photo, the ghosts of shutters long departed….  

 There had just been a torrential rain shower before I took this picture, so how long the marks have been on that wall I have no idea, nor how long they will remain there. Gone but not forgotten.