Still Life “Ooh, Fancy!” – about a painting

Fine art painting Still life "Ooh, Fancy!"

“Ooh, Fancy!”
Oil on canvas
40x30cm or 16″x12″

Buy this still life on Etsy

I like painting a still life every now and then. It is like writing a short story or, if compared to music, like playing an etude or a sonata – a small piece to indulge in. One can focus on some elements of technique, play with nuances, experiment with a plot.

My younger daughter Alina likes (always has!) cute things. This year she discovered local antique shops with the endless supply of quaint English paraphernalia. The fancy cup belongs to her and was borrowed to feature in a still life. The other two items are mine. I am of a different mould, going after simplicity and functionality. Actually, as I am writing this, the word “plainness” comes to mind as more suitable… But I digress.

Building a composition, however simple, takes a little time. I fiddled around with these three objects for quite a while. However, in the process, a story began to emerge, and the title “Ooh, Fancy!” was clearly the only possible choice.

This little painting is sold unframed.

ROCHE gallery 10th Anniversary

This year, Roche gallery is celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Roche gallery is owned and run by Marina Kim and Tim Roche. They moved to Rye in 2001 and opened the gallery doors to the public in February 2002. The Roche gallery is located at the very centre of Rye, at 93, High Street.

The business established itself early on as a high standard art gallery and framing business. Renovation of the premises transformed a small antique shop into a beautiful exhibition space in the middle of the town. Roche gallery exhibits artwork by Marina Kim herself, with several special events with invited artists throughout the year.

The success of the gallery stems from several factors. Most importantly, it is in the high professionalism of Marina Kim as a portrait artist. During this last decade, she painted portraits of many notable Rye residents and visitors from London and all across England. Her remarkable talent, skills and ability to relate to her sitter produced many portraits which met with deep admiration by commissioners themselves, their families and friends, and many visitors to Rye.

Apart from portrait commissions, Marina is a versatile and prolific printmaker. Her speciality is a rear and demanding technique of mezzotint. Very popular in 18-19 century in England, especially for reproducing in black and white portraits of prominent citizens, it almost died off in the 1900s. Now a number of dedicated artists is bringing it back to life and Marina is one of them.

Tim Roche is a framer with wide experience. He gives his client excellent advice and bespoke service on framing artworks. Tim especially enjoys working with artists. They have strong ideas about presentation of their own work, and let him keep up to date with the contemporary trends.

Marina Kim and Tim Roche exhibited at the ROCHE gallery in Rye a number of nationally renowned artists, some of which are Anthony Green RA, Mary Cozens-Walker, Brenda Hartill RE. They also staged personal shows by several well established artists from Uzbekistan, where Marina originates from. These are Gayrat Baymatov, Alexander Kim, Michail Sorkin, Elena Lee.

In spite of challenging economic situation in which the business was developing, Roche gallery is a well established art gallery and framing business. This year, the owners focus on growing the Internet presence and sales, while the High Street premises are to undergo a big make-up. With the new look, Roche gallery will extend its exhibition space and add special events to their calendar.

Roche gallery runs an online shop where original artworks by Marina Kim are available to buy.

Contact Tim Roche for art framing.

Battle Art Fair Tester Exhibition

15 – 22 September, as part of the Battle Contemporary Fine Art Fair 2011, Roche Gallery is displaying the works of several participating artists in our Feature Exhibition.

Mary Beaney

Is It You Georgina?

 Mary Beaney

Founder and promoter of the “Art on the River” exhibitions and co-founder and promoter of the Chalk Gallery, Lewes. Marys’ current work is motivated by delving into the realms of her ancestry, following the inheritance of a Victorian family photograph album. Loosely executed in the style of Byzantine art, she used acrylic/mixed media/collage to create the piece represented here. A major part of Marys’ practice is to attempt to create atmosphere with the subtle use and blending of rich colours, with the aim to balance a moment in time past and the contemporary today.


Kathryn Maple

High Rise Living

Katheryn Maple

The foundation of Kathryn’s work lies in drawing, realised through woodcut and lithography. Her main focus is on twentieth century utilitarian housing blocks, minature worlds condensed in a geometrical form. Perhaps they are the ruined construction of a lost civilisation or just the humdrum, made interesting with shapes and line, yet retaining the organic within the abstract. Kathryn is interested in softening these bleak and stark huge urban precast concrete blocks but keeping in mind the rawness, surface roughness, whilst not forgetting that these are homes for the living.


Ceridwen Jane Gray


Ceridwen Jane Gray

Jane’s work is about energy – energy that surrounds us, animates us and “IS” everything. It is also about possibilities. Quantum mechanics tells us there is genuine indeterminism in nature – nothing is fixed or settled. This theory underpins Jane’s practice. She works on the premise that pretty much anything she can imagine is possible….in fact may already exist in another dimension!


Susan Haseltine

Sussex Downs

Sue Haseltine is a painter and printmaker based in Brighton whose art is inspired by nature and the landscape of the South Downs. Paintings, lino cuts and screen prints originate from her observations and memories of this landscape, where she works faithfully from direct observation whilst also adding abstract elements and text to some images. Sue teaches painting, drawing and printmaking one-to-one and to small groups. She runs a regular monthly oil painting workshop and delivers screen printing classes through the Ink Spot Press in Brighton. As a result of many years as a graphic designer she also teaches Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Illustrator one-to-one and to small groups.


Dani Humberstone - painting

Butterfly Effect #2 - Tortoiseshell

Dani Humberstone

Dani’s work is about belonging – allegories of the transient nature of human life and the beauty and tragedy of consciousness. It is the story of memories, both personal and collective – where we come from, how and where we live and to where we will eventually return that is of particular interest to her. Painted from life, Dani uses recently picked fruit in still life, when they are at their most ripe, to symbolise in microcosm the intensity of our own life cycle. Dani uses oils and transparent glazes over opaque colour to create depth and luminosity, whilst strong light and shade give her paintings atmosphere and tone.


Ali Stump
Little Black Lamp

Alison originally studied Sculpture at the Brera Academy in Milan. Upon returning to London, she continued painting and drawing, whilst having a career in interior design. Alison discovered printmaking shortly after moving to Cranbrook. Her latest work is based on a series of tables. The images are minimal, stripped of their true perspective and printed largely in black and white. Collagraph is her prefered medium, as it allows her to produce a rich textured finish. The lines are uneven and naive in style.


For information and purchases, please contact Roche Gallery

Amanda Thompson – The Dilemma of Landscape

‘The Dilemma of Landscape’

25th August – 4th September 2011

Amanda Thompson - The Dilemma of Landscape

ROCHE gallery is presenting a show by Amanda Thompson, exploring the relationship between human activity and the environment. She embraces abstract, figurative and conceptual art, using all three with great effectiveness to explore our relationship to the land in terms of dependency and inter-dependency.

“By exploring vulnerable and strong marks, fragile edges against solid forms, layering white paint over backgrounds of colour, floating inky dark shapes over the contours of land and sea, considering the space between and through things, as well as the relationship of marks to the edges of paper and canvas, the challenge for me is to highlight the complexity and dilemma of landscape painting, drawing and photography today, given that we are facing a global crisis in our landscapes and environments; climate change.”

Read Amanda’s essay for the exhibition below:


Amanda Thompson - The Dilemma of Landscape

I believe that landscape painting in the 21st century has reached a dilemma whereby it can no longer be viewed or perceived as sublime or beautiful, if indeed it ever was, given the global crisis of climate change.

The terms ‘Landscape’ and ‘Environment’ have many possible variables attached to them in terms of their meaning and perception. For example, in the 21st century, there are rural and urban landscapes, marginalised landscapes of waste and disuse, Industrial landscapes, landscapes of movement (cars, trains, planes, boats and people), transient landscapes of communities where people come together for short or long periods of time (festivals, protests, football matches, refugee camps, commuters and the homeless) and landscapes of exclusion and inclusion (immigration, migration, wealth and deprivation, gated communities, privilege and poverty). There are historic landscapes that we invest with memory, and a sense of nostalgia and loss, and there are landscapes that we have decided we will conserve and protect labelling them ‘World Heritage Sites’, ‘Sites of Special Scientific Interest’ or ‘Conservation Areas’. There are also the imagined and intangible virtual landscapes which we have created through technology. Landscape seems to be about ideas.

The European Landscape Convention defines Landscape ‘as an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors’ (Council of Europe,2000).

Environment, on the other hand has a different perception and meaning attached to it. Environment is based on things- habitat, species, sub-species, ecology, geography and geology. English Heritage makes this distinction: ‘Landscape can be taken with you, while environment has to be left behind’ (English Heritage, 2004). The environment is more precious, less able to resurrect itself and completely at our disposal. We can recreate a landscape, we can construct it to suit our purpose but we can never rebuild or recreate an environment once it is lost. Environments need protection, but who decides which environment we protect and for how long?

The symbiotic relationship between landscape and environment is present within my practice and echoes our own relationship to the land in terms of dependency and inter-dependency. By exploring vulnerable and strong marks, fragile edges against solid forms, layering white paint over backgrounds of colour, floating inky dark shapes over the contours of land and sea, considering the space between and through things, as well as the relationship of marks to the edges of paper and canvas, the challenge for me is to highlight the complexity and dilemma of landscape painting, drawing and photography today, given that we are facing a global crisis in our landscapes and environments; climate change.

This global crisis is on an epic scale and forces the landscape artist to re-consider and re-evaluate their position in the 21st century. By concentrating my practice as a painter around the concept of loss, I am engaged in a process that aims to re-connect people with the land and landscape, and re-define and re-think that relationship as it stands now. We have to ask difficult questions of ourselves and of our roles and responsibilities.

This exhibition focuses on painting, drawing and photography specifically to research and explore this new experience of landscape and environment. The dilemma for the artist is how to address such an overwhelming and complex situation. By focusing on the fragility of a place or space, or on the small, marginal and overlooked it is perhaps possible to make a statement about the vulnerability of nature and our relationship to it? Through this exhibition I hope to ask questions of my work in order to help to define just what is the role and relative value of landscape painting today, and how does its narrative framework significantly differ from that which has been experienced in the past?

Rye is a natural island surrounded by a quintessentially English pastoral landscape. I have lived on a remote off shore island, Skokholm, and recently spent time on the Isles of Scilly. Islands have a particular fascination for me; a microcosm of a larger world, they allow for the intense observation of space, place, edges, layers (psychological and physical) and journeys. The 4 Island paintings titled ‘The slow erosion of edges I-IV’ explore insularity, isolation, exclusion and the desire to get off the island and make a journey to somewhere, anywhere but where you are. The edges of the drawn island are softly eroding, their paths are worn and monotonous; they are empty islands offering nothing more than the tracings of their past geographical formations. There are no boundaries, apart from the edge, and there is no reference to any living species; empty and isolated they sit on the grid waiting for something to happen.

The series of letraset drawings, ‘Untitled I-9’, take these ideas further. These drawings reference the psychological aspects of island living; some of the drawings are of small communities of people who live well together, others explore the individual within a small group or society and whether they are included or excluded. Islands are given only the slightest of pen outlines because the important aspect of the drawing is what goes on within the island, described metaphorically by the position of the letters and numbers and the space they occupy on the page.

‘Lost species I-IV’ hide images of plants under a veil of thin oil paint making it hard to see the original print. The paintings, which fuse representational and abstract marks, explore the concept of loss in a climate of change. A complex process of original photographs of delicate plants are transferred to the canvas using heat transfer papers and then washed over with layers of oil paint which suggest the fragility of permanence and the likelihood of impermanence. As in the larger canvas ‘White map of a disappearing landscape’ references are made through marks to layers beneath the surface. The making and unmaking and re-making of a mark suggest time passing, events taking place and subsequently arriving at a new position within the pictorial space.

This position is not always a comfortable one. We are living in an age of climate change where everything that may have seemed certain is no longer a definite possibility for the future. Skylarks are a declining species. As a child I can remember walking on the South Downs and lying on the grass looking up at the sky listening to the sound of the skylarks but very rarely seeing them. This simple act of listening and looking is in part remembered in the 2 paintings ‘The distance between myself and the sound of the skylark’. The idea that this basic and human connection between land and sky, between walking, listening, looking and feeling, could be lost to entire generations in our lifetime feels very important.

Landscape has always been defined by an evolving, shifting, fluid and changing response to the needs of each generation and species have had to evolve and adapt within this changing environment. There has always been loss, but never on the scale that we are witnessing now. Loss is a difficult and disturbing concept with which to engage both as an artist and as a viewer. My work is not about confrontation. I hope it asks serious questions about us, and of us, and of our collective roles and responsibilities to the landscape, and to our future.

Amanda Thompson