Poole artist Ian Hargreaves and his Mediterranean art
PUBLISHED: 10:00 02 February 2016 | UPDATED: 10:00 02 February 2016
Carol Burns talks to Poole-based artist Ian Hargreaves, who has spent more than three decades capturing the Mediterranean light
This month, landscape artist Ian Hargreaves will be taking part in a three-man exhibition in Cardiff – presenting works from his 30-year Grand Tour that has taken in some of the Mediterranean’s most painted cities.
Now calling Poole his home, Hargreaves lived in Germany for more than 24 years – the last ten years in Munich where he would hop on a train to Italy’s most romantic city on a regular basis.
“Venice has been painted to death over the last hundred years,” he admits. But his work manages to show a side of the city that is far away from the Grand Canal and St Mark’s Square that we are so familiar with. “I have painted the Grand Canal,” he says. “But it is the quiet back waters of Venice that interest me, where you might find a woman leaning from her window hanging her washing out.” It doesn’t matter whether he is in Morocco, Greece or Portugal – it is scenes away from the tourist areas that captivate him. “In Lisbon there was this old guy tending to his sunflowers on his balcony. In these back alleyways it’s all about light and shade and how the shadows fall on the buildings – that really interests me.”
Facades are another area of interest for Hargreaves, who’s work Naples High Rise will feature at an exhibition at Mall Galleries London from 22-27 February.
Hargreaves studied at Bournemouth College of Art, before going to Europe at the tender age of 21 for a ten-month artistic tour. He then settled in London, earning his keep as a portraitist – where he admits going almost daily to the National Gallery. “I had my heroes – Turner and Rembrandt, and I knew where every painting was,” he admits. Today he names contemporary artists such as Peter Brown as a source of inspiration. “He’s known as Pete the Street because he paints in the street – something I could never do.”
Closer to home, Hargreaves has painted the well-known scenes of Purbeck. “It’s hard not to look kitschy,” he admits of the well-loved Dorset peninsula. But he can also be found at Studland’s Middle Beach. “That view looking out towards Old Harry Rock, has a tinge of the Mediterranean about it,” he says. “It’s always at its most interesting when the tide is out: you get all the rocks and boulders, the seaweed and all the different colours and reflections.”
His work often begins with exploring areas away from the tourists, where he will take hundreds of photographs, to inform his work back in his studio. “I don’t copy them slavishly,” he says of the photos he uses as source material. “I take aspects from each scene and may use several photographs to inform a single painting.
“It doesn’t matter where I am, I will walk around with my camera and always look forward and to the sides and - now and again - look back at where I’ve just come from – because you can discover amazing views from where you’ve just been.”
For more information visit ianhargreaves.net