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Interview with Alex Yarlett | The Midsummer Collection

9th June 2022 by Imogen in Blog, Uncategorised

Alex Yarlett’s bold, semi-abstracted lines and glowing colours make his iconic Cornish landscapes unmistakable. But his new paintings in The Midsummer Collection retain Alex’s signature style whilst taking his work in a new direction. We spoke to him ahead of the show’s opening next week at our Fore Street art gallery in St. Ives.

“This collection is about pushing deeper and going further than I’ve gone. Following the success of last year’s show Illumination, I wanted to challenge myself. I experimented with different sizes, going larger and smaller, trying to push myself in many different directions. In everything I have been doing I wanted to take it to the next level – to be bold and keep experimenting rather than just repeating. I wanted to be excited about what I was doing, and I wanted collectors and lovers of my work to be on that journey as well.

A breakthrough moment was when I painted Pioneer – it represents a departure in terms of palette and layout. There is usually one painting that helps to ignite the collection and this is the piece. I had experimented a lot in the lead up to the collection but then as I was getting going, this piece was the helped to hang the rest of the show

Another important painting is Immerse, which is the largest piece I have ever had in a public show. It is a diptych, filled with golds and yellows. It was a new location for me and inspired a new emotion in me to paint.

I’m always inspired by colours, the environment and the coast. As I walk about, I take note of the colours I see, trying to get a feel for that moment. In all my work I’m trying to capture the feelings of being outside, not just the visual impressions.

I go to a location and sketch and photograph. I annotate as well – I’ll write in some of the colours that I see, specifics of tone and light. Sometimes I paint out and about, but largely I sketch, photograph and take notes.  Then it’s back into the studio where I work from materials and memory. Some pieces come together quicker than others and some sit there for a while. I worked on Immerse for a while and I got it a point where I was nearly happy. I let it sit for an number of weeks and returned to it and pushed it to that place. It’s knowing when to stop. I like to allow the different layers of the process to come through and allow the painting to tell its own story.

Other inspirations for the collection came from conversations and encouragement from Alicia at Livingstone St. Ives, and also from my wife. She is an author and illustrator, and we are constantly trying to challenge each other. Like most artists, you basically paint the way you paint. I can be inspired by someone else, but there is only one way that I can paint.”

The Midsummer Collection is on display at our flagship Fore Stree gallery from 16th June – 10th July 2022.

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