Work of Alfred Janes is celebrated in a centenary exhibition
Friday 11 March 2011
Visitors to our house fall into two categories: the ones who notice the paintings and the ones who don't. The bold and colourful works, made in many different styles and materials over the 20th century, cover the walls. How could anyone not notice them?
My paintings are one of the blessings of being the child of an artist. My late father was Alfred Janes, born in Swansea in 1911, whose work is being celebrated in a centenary exhibition. Described by the leading 20th-century art historian Mel Gooding as "one of the most original and inventive artists of his generation", he is best known for his early still lifes and portraits, most notably of his friend the poet Dylan Thomas.
Apart from the paintings, there are memories of my childhood on the Gower Peninsula. The smell of linseed oil takes me right back to the barn of our rambling house, which was my father's studio. By then his painting was abstract and the linseed was an ingredient in the paint he mixed himself. Later, he incorporated sand into the pictures, which I would help him collect from the beach.
But anyone who tries to make a living out of the arts faces setbacks and insecurity. My brother recalls driving my father to the private view of a one-man show in Wales. "It's a beautiful sunny day," Dad said. "No one will come. They'll all be on the beach." His anxiety was totally misplaced.
'Alfred Janes: Centenary Exhibition', Kooywood Gallery, Cardiff, 18 March to 15 April (www.kooywoodgallery.com)
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