In March Shoreham’s lively and highly regarded Skyway Gallery will more than achieve its aim of providing a community-centred gallery space when it hosts a retrospective of the work of Brian Ball, whose own front door is barely two streets away from the gallery’s Shoreham Centre home.
Brian, 93, has been a familiar and much loved figure on the Sussex art scene since he moved to Shoreham in 1989. He has drawn and painted since boyhood.
Brian’s great love has been to been to paint out of doors, directly from nature – ‘en plein air’. The majority of the oil paintings presented in this exhibition are the happy result of him heading into the countryside, setting out his tubes of paint, palette knife and brushes and absorbing himself in the task of capturing the weather conditions, the light, the quiet beauty of the scene in front of his easel.
He has thus continued an artistic tradition dating back to the mid-19th century, one which included the Barbizon and Hudson River Schools, also the Impressionists. But Brian is less concerned with his place in the history of painting, rather he gratefully describes his years of working “out in the beauty” as “pure pleasure”. This joy shimmers through every one of his gently vibrant paintings.