Having lived and worked in Cumbria for 30 years, it was almost inevitable that on his retirement, Alan would renew his long-standing interest and hobby in railways – made all the stronger by Cumbria and Lancashire’s long railway heritage.
This passion, which started in early childhood, was later reflected through drawing and painting, starting in earnest in the late 1970s when Alan became an Associate Member of the Guild of Railway Artists. Examples of his work were subsequently exhibited at several Rail-Art shows, culminating in four paintings being included in the Guild’s first book: The Great Western Collection.
In 1986, Alan was invited to submit two paintings to the By Land, Air, and Sea art exhibition in Bath, which brought together the Guilds of Maritime, Aviation, and Railway artists. Although both works sold to good collections, Alan put his painting career on hold for family and career until 2011 when he took early retirement from Cumbria County Council.
Recent work has included two book jackets, two railway posters, and several other paintings, in a variety of mediums. Alan says his primary objective as a railway artist has been to reflect both the social and physical dimensions of this compulsive subject, and, wherever possible, to strike a chord with the viewer.
Matthew Ellwood’s humour is the first thing that leaps out from his work, but his pictures are more than just a large visual joke. They’re an accurate rendition of the real life places he has parodied, it just depends which way you look. His sharp observational skills add wit to his art, and his skill brings out the detail. Ellwood’s art produces the kinds of pictures that keep you finding new themes and features, characters you’d never noticed before, or other details that you might have missed for years.
Some of Matthew’s work is accompanied by a Perdu Puzzle of the same picture, a luxury jigsaw for anyone who loves crazy tessellation.You can find some of Matthew Ellwood’s art and puzzles right here at The Mustard Mill.
Brian Slack is an octogenarian with the heart of a much younger lion. He started his career as an apprentice in the workshops of Sanderson Wallpaper, designing and painting unique and extremely expensive adornment for the homes of those who could afford it.
However, this rolling stone was destined to outgrow the confines of customer and factory requirements, and burst onto the freelance scene of artistry with his keen eye and compositional skills, taking individual commissions and often just painting for the sheer hell of it.
His work shows off his interest in history, in Biblical tales, and the Classics, and for those who love motorbikes, he has a few very special pieces, spurred by his own lifelong interest in biking.
Brian thinks big, so many of his pieces are large. He takes some of his artistic inspiration from Beethoven, and the artists Rubens and Brunel, but doses it with a large amount of common sense. His lasting advice includes the wisdom: “Never mix more than three colours together.”