Pick of the Pads: The Egg Man

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'I am the Egg Man' article title page from the April 2014 Homes & Antiques magazine

We’ve got a slight twist for this month’s Pick of the Pads. It’s more a work space than a living space, but with Easter round the corner, the egg theme swayed it.

Homes & Antiques April 2014 magazine cover

It’s the studio workspace of Tony Ladd – the ‘Egg Man’ that was in the April 2014 issue of the Homes & Antiques Magazine magazine.

Tony Ladd's studio workspace featured in the April 2014 Homes & Antiques magazine

He’s a wildlife artist specialising in British birds. He creates stunningly realistic, hand-cast, hand-painted egg specimens.

Tony Ladd's hand painted egg collection featured in the April 2014 Homes & Antiques magazine

His workspace is a self-built, oak-framed wooden studio situated in his garden on the Sussex coast.

corner of Tony Ladd's studio workspace featured in the April 2014 Homes & Antiques magazine

We love all the wooden banks of drawers & shelving…

corner of Tony Ladd's studio workspace featured in the April 2014 Homes & Antiques magazine

…filled with jars, brushes, books, artefacts and references to nature.

four details from Tony Ladd's studio workspace featured in the April 2014 Homes & Antiques magazine

It’s both homely & fascinating – such an inspiring space!

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Vacances Français

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selection of vintage travel maps of areas of France

We bought some vintage metal filing drawers at auction last month – these lovely vintage travel maps were stored inside.

vintage travel map of the Basque area of France vintage travel map of the Jura area of France
vintage travel map of the Est area of France vintage travel map of the Languedoc area of France

The covers immediately caught our eye, with illustrations by French artist Jean Colin. Born in 1912, he’s best known for his  advertising posters from the mid 20th century. In addition to Shell, he did artwork for many prominent companies such as Cinzano, Air France, Kiwi Shoe Polish, Marchal and Perrier  – and won many awards for his designs.

detail of a vintage travel map of an area of France illustrated with a stork

These Shell guides for various regions of France date from the 1950s/60s.

detail of a vintage travel map showing the area of Montpellier

The maps inside are very attractive too – colourful & detailed, but clear to read.

detail of a vintage travel map of an area of France illustrated with figures of a man and woman

We’d spied them inside the drawers, but a nice little bonus all the same!

Colin Ruffell

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pair of vintage Colin Ruffell oil paintings

We bought these two fabulous paintings at auction recently.

vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing grandfather clock, wooden table with glass decanter & wine glass, red armchair and chest of drawers with gramophone on top

They’re interior scenes with a very distinctive style. Our attention was grabbed from across the large saleroom.

detail from a vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing grandfather clock, wooden table with glass decanter & wine glass, red armchair and chest of drawers with gramophone on top

The items in these room settings don’t scream 1960s/70s, but the style of painting somehow does.

detail from a vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing a wooden table with glass decanter & wine glass and red armchair

The artist is Colin Ruffell.  Born in 1939, he has been a professional artist for nearly 50 years and has exhibited all over the world.

vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing dressing Welsh dresser, Windsor chair and wine bottle & glass and oil lamp on a table

We love the composition, colour & tones of these works…

detail of a vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing dressing Welsh dresser, Windsor chair and wine bottle & glass and oil lamp on a table

…also the textural quality with the bold application of paint.

detail of a vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing Windsor chair and wine bottle & glass and oil lamp on a table

Don’t you just love the bottle & glass – or the plates on the dresser?

detail of a vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing plates on a Welsh dresser

The artist is still working today and we’ve been perusing his website recently. There are originals, printsbooks too.

detail of a vintage Colin Ruffell oil painting showing the artist's signature

We’re still drawn to his still lives with their naive style, but also love his impressionist depictions of London & Brighton.

Tuesday Huesday: C R W Nevinson

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C R W Nevinson's "Marching Men" painting

This striking painting from 1914, entitled ‘Returning to the Trenches‘ is by C R W Nevinson, considered one of Britain’s greatest war artists. The image conveys the movement and sound of the marching troops so vividly. I prefer his earlier style of work of which this is my favourite example – much influenced by the Futurist and Vorticist Movements.

You can see a larger selection of his work on the Bridgeman Art, Culture, History website. There’s a very rare book entitled, ‘C.R.W.Nevinson: The Twentieth Century‘ by Richard Ingleby. There are currently only two copies available on Amazon – the cheaper being a mere £260.64!

Friday Folks: Olivia Pilling

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Olivia Pilling in her studio

This Friday, we’re really pleased to be featuring local artist, Olivia Pilling. We first saw her gorgeous, colourful paintings in Todmorden Fine Art. Owner, Dave Gunning was excitedly enthusing about this new and extremely talented young artist that he had just started representing. About a year later, we went for dinner at the Todmorden Vintner and saw two large paintings on their walls… unmistakeably Olivia’s work. When we said to the owners how lovely they were and if they were in fact done by Olivia, they said yes, she’s their niece! Since then we’ve been to the restaurant to attend an exhibition opening of her work – and she’s invited us to another one happening next week – we’re really looking forward to it!

green dotted horizontal line

painting of a viaduct by Olivia Pilling

Who are you & what do you do?
My name is Olivia Pilling. I’m am artist, more specifically a painter. I work in acrylics. I’m 26 years old, and have recently moved to Manchester from Todmorden.

painting of canal barges by Olivia Pilling

How did you get into the business?
It was by accident to some extent. I was doing my Fine Art degree at the time in Nottingham but over the long summer holidays I’d have small exhibitions at the Todmorden Vintner restaurant back home. I needed to get two paintings framed, so went down into Todmorden Fine Art gallery to get them framed. The paintings were just placed on the floor (apparently lent against the wall of the gallery to one side) when one customer came in and took a shine to them and offered £250 for them, then another customer came in and offered £500, then another came in and offered £750! As a skint 19-year-old student, I was ecstatic when I heard! Since then, I’ve been selling my work through the gallery mentioned and have gone on to sell with four others in the North West and the Midlands.

painting of houses by Olivia Pilling

Who or what inspires you?
I don’t have to go far before I feel totally inspired to paint. I love to walk, and try to do everyday. When I lived in Todmorden on the hilltops, I’d walk to the end of the hill and be surrounded by rugged moorland, patchwork fields, steep cliffs and be able to look down to Todmorden in the valley to my left and Cornholme on my right. Cornholme especially is a feast for my eye, the train-line runs straight through it squeezing through the valley walls. Dotted around are rows of terraces, mills chimneys and zig zagged shaped factories. It’s like a little toy town, it looks very sweet and quaint. The shapes, angles of the architecture really appeal, it allows me to create wonderfully simple fresh planes of colour with one brushstroke but still with a decorative element. I’m unashamedly a sucker for aesthetics and colour. I try to squeeze as much colour as I can into my paintings, and in parts, sections of my work will look abstract as I put brushstrokes of rich colour anywhere I can.

painting of cows in a field by Olivia Pilling

Travelling inspires me, especially exotic colourful places. I was lucky enough to go to India last year, and visited Jaipur known as the pink city and Jodhpur know as the blue city, I was in heaven with the colours and decorative jewellery and clothing, and architecture. I’m planning a trip to Jordan next year. It appears to be an absolutely fascinating place. David Bomberg’s paintings of Jerusalem and Petra are a real inspiration to me, he handles paint amazingly and creates such beautiful paintings.

I love the work of the Fauvist painters, specifically Jawlensky, Vlaminck and Kandinsky. Russian folk art is also an influence – the heavy use of black in the motifs and drawings, help to make the colour pop and this is something I try to do with my own work. I like to play around with light sources in my work. Having light coming from different directions can give a sense of isolation, and confusion, Russian folk art does this very well. It makes the image look quite enchanting and mysterious.

painting of canal barges by Olivia Pilling

What has been your greatest success?
I think simply my greatest success is just being able to do what I do for a living. Sounds cheesy I know, but I forget how lucky I am to to able to do something that I love on a daily basis. I came straight out of university and more or less started to sell work immediately. To have someone like your work is great, to have someone love your work is fab, but to have someone actually want to spend their hard earned cash on my work, that’s unbelievable – the feeling never gets old.

painting of a train on a viaduct by Olivia Pilling

Have you got any advice for someone wanting to break into the business?
I’m not quite sure I have some advice about how to actually get into the business, as the circumstances about how I got involved were quite accidental. The obvious thing to say would be to approach galleries and see if they are interested in your work.
I would say though that if painting is a real passion then you just have to stick at it, and be clear that it is what you really want to do. Sometimes you’re up, sometime you’re down, and sometimes you’ll get knock backs, that’s just the way it is but if you’re passionate about it, then the rest will hopefully fall in to place!