Britain’s best-loved illustrator Quentin Blake has turned his hand to drawing the beach at Hastings for a new exhibition at the town’s Jerwood Gallery.
Blake has teamed up with the gallery to reinterpret 10 works from its permanent collection, including paintings by LS Lowry and Stanley Spencer.
It’s hard to imagine how the exuberant illustrator might interpret the dour landscapes of Lowry, and even Blake agrees he found it hard. “It’s like that line, ‘I’ve tried to be a philosopher, but cheerfulness kept breaking in’, I think it’s a bit of that,” he says.
Rather than instil his distinctive drawings with an essence of the painters’ styles, he opted to draw each artist on a canvas on the beach instead, also marking the first time he has drawn the beach at Hastings where he has a home.
Blake says he tried to be fair in selecting which works to draw from, choosing three women, seven men and a “rather unusual choice” in Cornish artist Alfred Wallis. His only regret is not choosing local painter and printmaker Edward Burra, whom he once met. “But perhaps I’ll put him in next time,” he says.
Quentin Blake: Artists on the Beach runs at the Jerwood Gallery, Hastings (jerwoodgallery.org) to 15 October
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