DYSLEXIC David Cowden has never been to New York, but his mainly monochrome pastel work in his first exhibition at the AC Gallery on Byram Street is wonderfully evocative of the famous city.
Often simple enough in content – groups of walkers on their way to work, cyclists, a woman with an umbrella – they are skilfully drawn and rich in atmosphere with titles like Main Street, Metropolis, Busy Day and Reflection.
The city’s impersonality matched with its inspiring architecture, lends more grist to the mill.
“I leap into the canvas – my characters are my oils and brushes,” he says. “The paint is my Charles Dickens, Shakespeare and Harry Potter and I can watch the movie and paint if I want to.”
A joiner by trade, David comes from Belfast originally, but now lives with his wife in Birmingham.
He has been working in pastels for just a year and sees this output as preparation for more work in oils.
David is a self-taught artist and explains that drawing became a saving talent as he suffers from severe dyslexia which was not understood in his schooldays.
Aged 36, he has been painting and selling his pictures for 22 years.
“I feel that the ability to paint was a gift for without it I would have found life much more difficult,” he says.
The exhibition runs until March 28.
r HOLMFIRTH-based ceramicist Jim Robison is as busy as ever, running classes at his studio in glazing, hand-building techniques and decoration while continuing to turn out his own familiar and less familiar work like a big garden piece incorporating a water feature.
He has also been working on a book on slabware, in conjunction with Ian Marsh, a potter from Marsden. This will follow his previous book in the same Macmillan series on Large Scale Ceramics.
Jim visited British Columbia last year and demonstrated at the Kelowna Festival there.
Nearer home, he took part in the Ceramics in the Round weekend at the Great Dome, Buxton, and was master of ceremonies at the International Ceramics Festival at Aberystwyth.
He also shared in the Irish Potter’s Association event in Thomastown near Kilkenny.
This year, he is travelling farther afield and will be travelling to Australia to spend October in Brisbane where he will be conducting three workshops.
Jim is an elected follow of the Craft Potter’s Association and has several works on public view in Holmfirth, including ceramic murals in the Civic Hall and the stone and ceramic seat at Victoria Bridge.
His workshop and gallery is housed in an early 19th century barn in the hamlet of Booth House.