Durlston art exhibition gets last minute go ahead

With practically every other event cancelled due to coronavirus, it’s a small miracle that Swanage-based artist Tony Kerins’ exhibition called ‘Walking and Drawing’ has opened at the Fine Foundation Gallery at Durlston Castle.

After two years of preparation, Tony Kerins was fearing the worst but the easing of the coronavirus regulations came just in time for him to be able to display his paintings and sketches in the gallery for the public to view. He said:

“I really thought this wouldn’t happen and I had to think twice about going ahead but in the end I decided to go with it. I had the option of doing it next year but who can predict what will be happening in another year’s time?!”

Art work by Tony Kerins on display at the Fine Foundation Gallery

Moved to Swanage in 1986 from London

Tony Kerins moved to Swanage in 1986 from London with his wife and two small children and says that it was a bit of a gamble at the time:

“I was working as a freelance illustrator and lecturer at the time but I really needed to learn more about the natural world, about light and the sea. I was illustrating the classic Arthur Ransome novels, so I was drawing a lot of boats and children playing in boats but didn’t really have enough knowledge.

“Well I knew enough to know that I didn’t know enough! So I took the risk, bought a house and moved down here. Fortunately the freelance work came with me.”

Over the years, Tony has illustrated book covers for many well known authors, including Penelope Lively, Michael Morpurgo and Philip Pullman. He uses a variety of materials including oil, watercolour, pastel and pen and says that he just uses what he needs to tell the story.

Art work by Tony Kerins on display at the Fine Foundation Gallery

This painting was created during lockdown and depicts socially distanced people on their daily exercise on the Downs above Swanage Bay

Well known for his sweeping landscapes

He is now equally well known for his sweeping landscapes, naturally many depicting Swanage Bay and the surrounding Purbeck countryside. He clearly delights in capturing the drama of crashing waves and a stormy sky, as well as the beauty of a warm sunny day.

Among the exhibition are some of Tony’s notebook sketches. He takes a notebook with him wherever he goes and says that he has now over 250 that are full of his drawings that he then uses to develop into his more considered paintings.

Sketchbooks by Tony Kerins on display at the Fine Foundation Gallery

Tony Kerins has around 250 notebooks of his sketches that he produces while out walking

Published a book to coincide with the exhibition called Walking and Drawing

Tony has also published a book to coincide with the exhibition called Walking and Drawing with Tony Kerins, which gives an insight into how he turns his sketches, gathered while out exploring, into his accomplished paintings. It’s billed as being encouraging for those who want to draw and instructive for those who already do. Copies of the book are available at the exhibition.

So which is Tony’s favourite painting in the exhibition?

“My favourite is always really the one that I am working on at the time but I am fond of the one depicting Peveril Point. It took a long time to do and it felt like a departure.

“It was accepted into the Royal Watercolour Society’s Contemporary Open Exhibition and was displayed at the Bankside Gallery in London. Unfortunately that was in March this year, so no sooner had it opened than it had to close!”

However as one door closes, another opens. Tony Kerins’ Walking and Drawing Exhibition is on at the Fine Foundation Gallery at Durlston Castle until Sunday 9th August 2020.

For further information

More can be found out about the artist, Tony Kerins and his work on his website.

Tony Kerins

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