Street Art Adventures 3

Street Art Adventures 1 & Street Art Adventures 2

Yesterday I finished the angel at Parson Cross. Here is the final piece:


It’s been a great learning experience for me as I love getting to grips with a new medium. It always takes a while to work out what a certain material will and won’t do, and trying to force it against its natural inclinations is a recipe for frustration. So, for example, watercolours can be beautifully luminous because on wet paper they have a life of their own as the colours spread and run. Fight this and you end up with a muddy mess, go with it and you can create amazing images that are spontaneous, light and lively. Oil and acrylics both (on the whole) stay where they’re put but acrylics can dry so quickly whilst oils can take (literally) weeks before the paint won’t smear again. I find that it’s the limitations of a medium that inspire the greatest creativity – when you allow it to be what it truly is, that’s when beauty emerges. The same could be said for people, places and communities.

I particularly like the detail on the face of the angel. I’d practiced in the studio on smooth wood boards but they have a different texture and absorbency to the breeze blocks and so I had to adapt again to the different way in which the paint interacted with the surface. I love the way the paint has settled on the rough bricks and the random mists and spatters of colour; beauty emerging in an ordinary place, out of my control.

Once again the most moving aspect of the process was the response from passers by. As people talked I got a sense of the community owning the image (and it is theirs not mine). Some would say how they’d been wondering who had been painting the angel, some told stories about the building: people who had worked there, played bingo there, or teenagers who had explored it as a derelict site and ventured up on the roof*.

It struck me how sad that such an iconic building at the heart of a neighbourhood could fall into  ruin; the owners live far away and have no stake in the community but people on the street had dreams about what it could be used for if only they had the resources.

So, the angel finished and we have two other sites in mind to complete for advent. I hope this image stands as a messenger and a symbol of strength, hope, goodness and beauty emerging in a place where so many people wouldn’t expect to find it. In making this painting I experienced all those things, not just from the art, but from the community itself.


*Please don’t try this at home kids


8 thoughts on “Street Art Adventures 3

  1. Beautiful, Ric. I agree with you on the face of the angel. It’s haunting – not in a frightening way – but in a deep soul-filled way…Your speaking about allowing the medium to be who it is to be fits nicely with a bit of advice (maybe not advice but more a statement of fact) from my art mentor that, "The best teacher you’ll ever have is the material itself." It will be interesting to see if (how?) this will be a catalyst for a new journey for the building itself…and the people who live around it.Thanks so much for sharing your work…Peace & blessings to you.Shari

  2. Hope you don’t mind but I’ve linked to you and posted some of this on my advent blog (obviously will take it down if you do). It has meant so much. Found it when looking for story of heaven breaking through in unexpected places. Am also about to embark on an installation project in our rural village church one per month for the next year, if I’m brave enough – I’m no artist but just long for people to engage with God – thanks for this inspiration and for taking the risk.Am gutted I didn’t hear about your work last year we were in Derbyshire and looking for inspiration back down south now so have to make do with the virtual thing!!

  3. <div>Hi Lillie,</div><div> </div><div>I'm pleased to know about the link and I'm glad you found this as interesting as I do.</div><div> </div><div>God bless,</div><div> </div><div>Michelle<br><br></div>

  4. Lillie,Lillie, glad you find the work helpful. Id really encourage you to go for it – Simply follow your instincts and do it. Some of the installations may not work as you hoped, some may exceed your expectations, some people will find it really helpful, some won’t understand what your trying to do and some might even be hostile towards it; but none of that matters – the very act of being courageous and creative is what counts. Every blessing to you and do drop me an email if you want to chat through any ideas:

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