I’ve been painting and sketching native oysters, Ostrea edulis. I buy them from oyster fishermen at Mylor in Cornwall near Falmouth. It was bitterly cold then and it’s pretty cold now.
It takes a long time to establish a native oyster bed. They were a major source of cheap food. In 1851, for example, a round 500 million oysters were sold through Billingsgate. Our oyster beds were destroyed by a series of cold winters, surely not the first though, in the mid 20th Century, and then pollution, the parasite, Bonnania Ostrea, the beastly slipper limpets and oyster drills which drill holes into them and eat it contents, they are a big threat for commercial oyster farms.
Now they can only be collected under license in Scotland.
Oysters change back and forth from female to male according to the temperature of the water. You get in the bath nice and hot, go to sleep, and wake up in cold water, surprisingly different. Well, surprising the first time, but native oysters can live for 20 years so they may get used to it.
Native Oysters, acrylic on canvas 50 cms x 100 cms
You can see my work in London at the The Flying Colours Gallery and at Oliver Contemporary
All photographs by James Forshall
It did get cooler. We had a couple of days of rain. The plants around the house are lifting their heads with relief. The stinging nettles are particularly energetic.
I took the opportunity to stretch canvas.
The canvases are the platforms for paintings which I will show in November at the Flying Colours Gallery in Chelsea.
This is a detail from one, Zeus, a painting of a John Dory, (Zeus faber), or St Pierre in French.
The Flying Colours Gallery have taken some of my work to the Edinburgh Festival and are showing at 6A Dundas Street 11th – 19th August, Monday to Saturday 10.00 a.m. – 6.00 p.m.
If you would like to be kept informed of my shows and other events please email me at http://email@example.com
All photographs © James Forshall
It’s hot here. 40° degrees C or 104°Fahrenheit. It’s hard to work outside, except early in the morning. We’re under siege. The shutters on the house stay shut until after sunset. It works. The house stays cool and most of the windows in my studio face north.
Was that why I started painting the sea and its creatures? To bring the cool blue into this hot dry place? That might have been part of it, part of why I enjoy it, why it makes me feel happy.
I’m painting sardines, Sardine pilchardus. I am calling it Sardine Shoal, though in the sea it would be only a tiny part of the huge murmurations of sardines that makes up a shoal. Like many fish sardine numbers are under pressure from over fishing. Some scientists think that sardines help to keep the sea healthy and reduce the amount of methane sent into the atmosphere.
This painting will go in my forthcoming show, Coast, this November at the Flying Colours Gallery in Chelsea.
Here is a detail.
If you would like to be kept informed of forthcoming exhibitions please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographs taken in the Lot, France © James Forshall