The Paintings of Ivor John Powell

The vision of a border Welshman

The Firs by Ivor Powell

6. The Firs

25 x 30cm. Cardboard with new frame

Private Collection

Ivor's house, as the last in its terrace, had, as its neighbouring property, this late Victorian villa in extensive grounds. When built, it would have been one of the few houses for people of substance in what was, predominantly, a mining and metal-working community. Since the house was situated on lower ground, Ivor had a clear view of it from his own house. He could have painted from life, and in comfort, by sitting at a bedroom window or by standing outside his back door, placing his piece of cardboard on top of his boundary hedge (which he might have done for this composition), though much, if not all, of his painting is more likely to have been done at his dining table. This was the first of three compositions based on this view of the house and it was likely to have been one of his first, if not the first, of a building. He was evidently exploring the possible techniques he might use in placing acrylic on his chosen surfaces. He seems to have painted the house and sky first, as if his medium was water colour. Then, in painting the foreground, he layered and stippled the paint as though he was using oils. Concentrating on his subject all the while, he made sure that the bay window on the ground floor would remain the only one unobstructed by the foliage of the garden trees and shrubs which he had superimposed on the house. By doing this, he recorded the way, in viewing a house we have never entered, we may concentrate our vision on just one window and share, albeit in a detached way, the warmth of the life within

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