Gerry Halpin: Painting Coastal Landscapes


Gerry Halpin MBE PPMAFA NAPA is a landscape painter employing a selection of media. His function is basically interpretive, intuitive and pushes to abstraction, especially his coastally influenced paintings. Represented by a quantity of private galleries Gerry’s get the job done is acquired greatly by customers and collectors in Britain and overseas. In this write-up Gerry offers us a intriguing insight into what inspires him, his functioning methods and his materials of decision.


Image of Gerry painting

“…an artist should imagine, the eye is not enough, it needs to assume as well” – Paul Cezanne Aix-En-Provence,  France (1839 -1906)

My observe

Arriving at the studio each individual morning is the starting of a marvellous and privileged option to paint. To make noticeable people images which have been maturing in my thoughts from the sketches, I manufactured right after strolling the moors and beach locations wherever I uncover my resources of inspiration.

Doing work in an interpretive, expressive model, I am a landscape painter who, following rambling about people inspiring places and making on internet site ‘aide memoire’ sketches, prefers to paint in the studio alternatively than ‘plein air’.

For me, it is elementary that I engage fully with the landscape. Recording all those images which to start with caught my eye and which fired my creativeness. Then returning to the studio where by the devices I need to have to finish the painting is to hand.

Image of Gerry's sketchbook

The value of sketches

Initial sketches for that reason are vitally critical to my follow. I can’t emphasise enough how a lot I depend on them in the studio. My sketches are not thorough drawings, they merely record the essence of what I noticed and remind me of that when I start out to paint. I stay away from unneeded detail which would distract me from those emotions and sensations integral to a unique image. They be certain that my head also results in being included in the system of painting. 

I wholly concur with Cezanne, the eye is not ample, the mind also needs to ‘see’. This final results in a own and for that reason unique painting. Paintings which after time and with regularity of strategy, have come to be determined as the work of a certain artist.

Image of Gerry's sketchbook

Sketching in the clouds

Prior to Lockdown, when air vacation was offered, I was fascinated by on the lookout down on the landscape from an plane. No matter whether that was holiday break flights or from occasional visits in a two seater piloted by a pal. I would draw promptly recording the marks discovered from wanting down on the landscape. Recording marks geographically normal and marks created by gentleman. The success, devoid of like a horizon, had been linear and the important drawing speed extra to a sense of abstraction. I was conscious that they might lean to ‘pattern’, but the texture and mark producing inherent in my strategy avoided that sort of stylised result.

Shoreline
Gerry Halpin – Shoreline

In her autobiography, ‘Out Of This Century’ Peggy Guggenheim manufactured an observation. When flying dwelling from San Francisco “the landscape beneath was astounding, superior than any painting”.

I might concur with Guggenheim, but if one provides Cezannes’ notion to the blend, ‘seeing’ as a result of the ‘mind’ as very well as the eye and not becoming tied to the reality of the look at, allowing feelings, sensitivity and particular interpretation to perform their part, then the subsequent painting can be equally wonderful.

The late Peter Lanyon is a marvellous case in point of an artist who painted the landscape from higher than. Recording the ‘sensations’ and not the descriptions of the observed world, from his many glider flights in Cornwall.

Gerry Halpin - Shoreline: Pools & Flotsam
Gerry Halpin – Shoreline: Pools & Flotsam

A new point of view

Because Lockdown, I have not flown and relied on my previously sketches for setting up factors. I have generally been primarily intrigued in the choices offered by the interaction of the sea on the land. Recently I have develop into energized by the shoreline by itself. Not from a terrific top but somewhat from head top if you will. Strolling about and on the lookout down. Focussing on the flotsam and jetsam left powering by the tide, strands of fishing nets, buoys and seaweed. Disused jetties, rusted breakwaters and twisted groynes alongside with tumbles of rocks and scatterings of pebbles and shells had been all marvellous object of intrigue.

These were being the objects of my eye. The swirl of the seawater in between pools and the shift of object triggered by the ebb and movement of the tide were extra things to consider. Sensations of the intellect, to be incorporated in some way in the painting.

My coastal shoreline paintings are interpretive re-displays of the two objects and sensations. They are for that reason very uniquely summary and gestural operates.

Remains: Tide In
Gerry Halpin – Stays: Tide In

My materials of preference

I have a short while ago returned to acrylics, acquiring employed the exceptional Michael Harding oil paints on many of the earlier paintings. My most important elements are Liquitex significant physique paint along with Liquitex adaptable modelling paste for tough texture spots. I leave it to dry for a working day at minimum prior to starting to paint. I also use Liquitex Liquithick additive to physique up the paint, it is excellent in not paling out the color. These all get the job done properly properly on either canvas, more primed or paper primed with a gesso primer. Arches or Saunders Waterford 300lb paper is splendid to use which I BluTack it to a board.

The gains of painting with acrylics

Currently being a restless painter, I uncover the speedy drying of acrylics suits my technique of painting effectively. It enables me to scratch and scrape with all fashion of implements to obtain rugged textural outcome. The dry floor easily accepts pastel and charcoal marks that I need to incorporate. Overpainting is achieved rapidly and alterations can be made conveniently as a final result of people crucial moments of contemplative sitting down and looking from the ‘minds eye’.


Gerry Halpin is a Member, a past Trustee and the instant Earlier President of Manchester Academy of Good Arts (MAFA) and he has exhibited greatly given that his election to Membership in 2001. Appointed MBE in 2009 for his work in Artwork and Charities. In 2022 he was invited to grow to be a member of the Countrywide Acrylic Painters Association (NAPA). His paintings have been exhibited with the ROI, RSMA and RI in the Shopping mall Galleries, London. In the 2014 ROI exhibition, he was awarded the Menina Pleasure Schwabe prize for an remarkable perform.

You can see far more of Gerry’s operate on his internet site. A assortment of his paintings can be seen in an exhibition at the Technically Brilliant Gallery, Warrington, right until mid June and forever at Saul Hay Gallery, Manchester.



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