Tuesday, 7 February 2017

There's an exhibition of Cyril Croucher's paintings at the Wren Gallery in Burford - I'm tempted!

We have a print/reproduction/whatever of a Cyril painting on one of the walls downstairs (not the one above - I can't find ours online). My choice. I can't for the life of me remember...

...where I bought it, but I know why: its disconcerting atmosphere - an odd mixture of the familiar and the alien, which makes it simultaneously comforting and mildly threatening. 
Croucher was born in Shoeburyness in Essex in 1951. He graduated from Southend-on-Sea Art College, and tried to establish himself as a professional artist. Dissatisfied with what he was producing, he jacked it in and did a variety of "proper" jobs, ending up as a property surveyor. Eventually, he and his wife bought an art gallery in the delightful Cornish coastal village of Mousehole, and Croucher was inspired to start painting again. The gallery subsequently closed, but Croucher's career as an artist has flourished.
There's not that much about him online (apart from images of his paintings), but you can read more on the Red Rag Gallery site here. As for his technique:
His preferred medium is acrylics on board, as he believes the quick drying quality suits his style of painting. Croucher builds up colour by continually applying a thin layer of paint which is then rubbed back until the colour is almost translucent. This process produces a muted depth to the colours.
There's an exhibition of his work on at the Wren Gallery in Burford, Oxfordshire, and the paintings can be viewed online, here. The prices seem fairly reasonable. A lot of his paintings are of Cornwall, and other parts of England's coastline, but I'm just as fond of his Venice and Portugal paintings:
It must be difficult to create anything fresh, arresting and unclichéd when depicting Venice on canvas nowadays - without making it unrecognisable, of course. But Croucher manages to startle our jaded eyes into seeing it afresh:
If you're not Crouchered-out by this stage, you can find more of his work on a Pinterest board I recently compiled.
This final one feels like Portugal:


  1. Beautiful patina on those remarkably high walls. It reminds me of home.

  2. Intriguing paintings, Scott. Would like to see more. Would you say the artist is to buildings what Modigliani is to necks?

    1. And also a touch of the El Grecos, I'd say.

  3. I've followed Croucher's work for some while and the Wren Gallery in Burford are good people.

    If you haven't been you should be watching Andrew Graham Dixon's new series on the BBC4 Art of France: outstanding.

    1. Andrew Graham Dixon's Art of Scandinavia series last year was a bit of s shocker - all over the place, missed a lot of major artists, was evidently too cold to think clearly. He seems much happier with Art of France - a real return to form: as you say, outstanding.

      As for Croucher, it's a relief to find someone doing something interesting within the figurative tradition - I'm guessing he won't be in the running for the Turner Prize any time soon!

  4. More like HMP Leicester.
    The walls of which are about thirty feet high.
    I'm working on the embrasures.
    A portcullis might be a wee bit too much.