News

In this blog I talk about the different series of paintings, what I'm working on at the moment and what's behind the process of painting for me. For some people it's important to know "the story behind the painting", I will endeavour to tell it. I will also be updating and adding new paintings to the site and will be talking about the ideas, feelings and inspiration behind them. Having painted all my life there are so many different pictures and sketches in my studio I hope to bring some of them to life via this site. I hope you enjoy your viewing.

Galerie Saint Ambroix “La Retoucheuse”

Published 14 July 2017

4 juillet - 2 septembre 2017

Galerie Saint Ambroix

A selection of Colin's Paintings on exhibition this summer

La Retoucheuse
1 Grand Rue
30500 Saint Ambroix

lundi au samedi 10h-12h / 15h-19h

0684206782

Exhibition at the Galerie Monade Nomade

Published 27 November 2015

Some of Colin's most recent work can be viewed in the 'Galerie Monade Nomade' in Saint Jean de Maruéjols et Avéjan during December 2015.

Galerie Monade Nomade
Galerie Monade Nomade
Fenland Storm
Blue Storm
Fenland Storm 2
Brown Storm
Sand Storm

La meilleure définition d'un peintre est sa capacité à comprendre la lumière. Elle est l'expression de l'harmonie intétieure d'un être, un silence, une inquiétude bien particulière, au-delà du bruit dissonant de ses contemporains. Pour peindre il faut du temps. Dans notre monde de vitesse et d'impatience l'artists peintre devient un être à part... 

Wedding Gift Idea

Published 22 May 2015 - View in art shop

Why not add an original painting to your wedding gift list?

Flowers in a vase
Italian Landscape with blue wild flowers
Red plums
The cherry tree
Blue storm
Clementines on carpet
Blue green
Two bottles
Autumn Ardeche
Light at cross

An Original Oil Painting is a unique and memorable present to offer the happy couple on their special day.

The soon-to-be newly weds can select a painting or paintings that they would like as a gift. Guests interested in donating towards the painting as a present can contact us directly. Each painting has a reference so you know exactly which painting they have selected.

Several guests can donate towards a painting making it a more viable and practical purchase.

A painting not only livens up your home, it lasts forever in your life wherever you live...

Some thoughts on Art and Paintings

Published 13 November 2014

Art - Paintings by Colin Baxter

Tools of the trade | Colin Baxter

If we think of photography- then we see basically a science, which can become an art in the hands of a good photographer. However the photo is immediate,usually a snapshot, an instant in time.
Nowadays people want immediate rewards and they are usually superficial.
Painting is about time, held on a canvas.
It takes time to do it and time to look at it.
When attracted immediately to a painting,(a gut reaction), it is good to trust this rather than intellectualise too quickly. But a painting that superficially attracts is often “formulated” to do this, and lacks any depth and mystery.
A painting that copies the  photographic image, at best shows great technical skill, but is usually trapped in the confines (design, colour, etc) of the photo.
To move into “art” one has to start to move and rearrange the design and picture elements, to see what will happen. Change colours and learn from what happens. Be open, (loose) enough to let chance/accidents lead to new directions, (as in life !!)

This is the arena of art.

There needs to be one more thing,”mystery”, because this feeds the observer of the painting, being drawn in, to think, to participate.
For this is the most important element:
Is anything being communicated?
Is the observer taking an active role?
Can there be a dialogue?
Does it change a little, the way they see the world?

Colin Baxter.

“Horizons” - Landscape Energy Series

Published 13 November 2014 - View in art shop

What is this series about and when do I know when to stop?

Long Dark Storm
Brown Storm
Blue Storm
Dusk
Fenland Storm
Landscape Energy 2
Landscape Energy
Sand Storm

What is this series about?

Firstly it’s open ended, as the landscape itself is so varied, this is just a glimpse.
Secondly, this is not about an image i.e. a photographic likeness, but about the energy, movement and change around us shown in the shifting shapes of a view.
If we think of paint as a pigment, colour, which is floating in a ‘vehicle’ i.e. oil water etc; rather than just a paste out of a tube. We see it can move, flow and stop depending on the amount and thickness of the oil/turps or water.
I use this quality so the paint can move, creating different surfaces,some smooth and flat, some textured, creating sharp and soft edges.
Another important element is chance, which cannot be imagined but can be taken advantage of!
By always having a horizon line, an “anchor” point is created for the “observer” ,and enables me to be more ambitious with the marks.
This horizon line also provides a separation, sky to sea or land. These two elements can oppose or reflect each other.

How do I know when to stop?

When there seems to be a balance throughout.
When the final sense or mood is familiar and strange at the same time.
When, despite having resolved some of the colour relationships etc, there is always a sense of mystery.

Looking at Paintings by Jill

Published 3 November 2014

Jill talks about looking at paintings.

Colin's studio
Colin's studio

A lot of people, me included, are apprehensive about walking through the doors of a gallery, or a shop selling ‘Art work’ , or going to an exhibition of an artist’s work. A shop in town looking like a boutique with a painting balanced on an easel in the window attracts who? and if you did dare to walk in you may have to speak to someone, cast an opinion on what you see.You would want to sound constructive in your criticism but what words spring to mind.  ‘I don’t like abstract art’, ‘I only like realistic paintings’, ‘I want something blue'.

If you did have an idea of purchasing a painting I think most people would play safe and spend a long time looking at paintings on other people’s walls. but what better way now than to browse a web site.

If you are curious to know what motivates an artist, read Colin’s description of the way he approaches a new series. The word imagination crops up and in his contact with the people who have his works hanging on their walls, they themselves feel a connection and through searching  have discovered new images and dimensions not apparent straight away. His use of the word anchor point sums up the idea that an abstract image can flow onwards deeper into the painting,  up and down or hint at something hidden behind a curve or shadow.

These are just words, the paintings speak for themselves.

The Organic Series

Published 3 November 2014 - View in art shop

In these paintings there is always movement and interlinking in an organic way. Always an attempt to link elements by their form, colour/and motion. A feeling of being in nature rather than looking at it.

Battle
Just Setting Off
The Landing
Don't Sleep with this One

Interface Series

Published 30 September 2014 - View in art shop

The thinking behind the interface is that it’s where two faces meet and what happens at that point. For instance, where the sky meets the sea or the sea meets the land; at any point of change there’s a lot of activity going on almost electric energy occurring. It can be two fairly calm surfaces that produce a lot of activity when they meet. This analogy can be applied to other scenarios ie two people meeting and their reaction - more on an energy level than an image level.

Interface Electric
Interface with Turquoise
Interface Flora
Interface Purple & Turquoise
Where Air Meets Water

I am searching when I’m painting, not in any way trying to represent a character, but just to see what it looks like in a moment in time. Different from a photograph a painted portrait reflects the moment in time of both the person painted and the painter. It could be said that all paintings are self portraits even though you are painting someone else, you are allowing yourself to paint in just the way you feel. You’re not wanting to make it pretty, you’re just doing what you are doing at that moment.

Figures By the River

Published 23 September 2014 - View in art shop

This collection moves more to the abstracted image of figures by the river.

Waiting by the Chassezac
Home Time
Waiting by the Chassezac
Bathers by the Chassezac
Getting Dry

Here the figures by the river are simplified and abstracted. Small paintings like little windows into a world. The slight gestures hinting at possible relationships. The colours are moving away from the realistic, using the colour to influence the mood and the connection between the figures and the surroundings.

Three Figures by the River

Published 23 September 2014 - View in art shop

Three Figures by the River and the Story behind them...

3 People by the River 2
3 People by the River 4
Waking Up
3 People by the River 8
3 People by the River 9

These paintings relate to the time when we first came to France. We used to go swimming in  the river. It was warm and sunny and sometimes I would fall asleep. Waking up one time I saw three people by the river, standing  together and it stuck in my mind. I did a little drawing and later started constructing these pictures of three figures. A white haired lady in the middle. Did these people know each other? I started to paint them changing their positions and colour. As with the cityscapes the simple motif helped me to investigate the effects of colour changes  and any slight change in the positions of the figures, changes how you interpret their relationships.

A turn of events years later, I saw practically the same group of people and I realised that the white haired lady was in fact a man with a towel around him. I had misinterpreted  all along thinking it was 3 women, which made no difference to what I was doing, but it put another slant on it, making  me think that it isn’t necessarily what you see, it’s what you are doing with what you see that is important. As with many of the series, after a period of time, I tend to pick up where I left off and continue.

By The River

Published 18 September 2014 - View in art shop

This collection of paintings, just uploaded onto the site, were painted between 1998 and 2001. Enjoy...

Friends
The Island
The Island 2
The Pool
Two Sides of the Coin
Drying
Drying 2

Barjac, France

Published 14 August 2014

Paintings and Prints in the holiday gite in Barjac

Orla's Flowers

The story behind Colin Baxter the artist

Published 10 April 2014

Colin's experiences from college to teaching, from producing pots to building his studio and life in France.

The cutting edge
Building the potter's wheel
Dinged pots

Studies

After attending Ramsey Abbey grammar school and Huntingdon grammar school Colin left to join the RAF where he studied radio and radar at Locking Air Force base in Somerset. Whilst there he enjoyed playing football and was captain of the 99th entry football team. He also got permission to leave the camp to go to Art evening classes in Weston-Super Mare. The only person ever, to be issued with an “art pass” ! It was as his interest in painting and drawing increased that he decided he wanted to leave the air force, so he continually put in requests to be allowed to leave. Each time he was refused, being reminded that he had signed for twelve years, but still he persisted until one day he was summoned to see the commanding office and was finally given permission. The reason being that there were too many people in his training group so it seemed logical to let him go.

Before leaving he applied for and got an interview at Hornsey College of Art in north London. He arrived wearing his uniform, carrying his port folio and with a good recommendation from his art class teacher he was accepted. In September 1964 he started a four year course in Fine Art.

As a “mature” student at aged 20! and having spent nearly three years in a controlled environment  he appreciated the freedom but also the privilege of spending days studying the thing he most enjoyed and having the facilities provided. He learnt the skills of stretcher making, mixing the ground to cover the canvas and using the different pigments in the oil paints. Alongside the practical work there were classes in philosophy and art history plus the occasional visiting, sometimes well known, lecturer. He also spent time in the sculpture department and he learnt to throw pots and sculpt in clay. “All this during the swinging sixties”!

Earning a living

After graduating he spent several years working in the building industry where he gained skills that proved to be invaluable later on. Looking back on those times, it can be seen that a pattern has emerged where the tasks for earning a living have co-existed with his determination to continue painting and this is echoed in his art work. His involvement with the physical problems of building structures are in themselves sculptural and his sketch books are evidence of a mixture of calculations and hastily drawn images of children, cats, flowers whatever happens to be going on around him.

Earning a living meant knuckling down to something more secure than occasional work so he did a one year teacher training course at Brighton and immediately got a job in Lancashire. Teaching for twelve years did not stop him finding the time to create.

Pottery

He decided to make his own gas kiln and potter's wheel. In the end house on a terraced street the neighbours were curious to know what was happening and called round to watch progress. The kiln was made from a big oil storage tank 1m3, with one side cut away using an acetylene cutter to make a door. The hinges were provided courtesy of a local firm, unbeknownst to them, the motor for the wheel was from an old washing machine and the kiln itself was extremely economical. He had done some research into the latest insulation materials by contacting the company 'Carborundum'. They sent a representative who explained the different qualities and together they decided on several layers including one which had been used on the latest space shuttle. It was expensive, but proved it’s worth.
The size of the kiln meant it would hold a lot of pots and again make it more economical to fire. The cellar was the workshop and the shed built on the gable end, housed the kiln. On a freezing day with snow in the garden, the firing made the shed a hothouse.

France

In 1989 came the big decision to move to France. All those skills learnt in the building trades finally paid off. Colin and Jill renovated an old stone house making two self contained apartments as well as their own home. In 2006 the art studio was finished.

A life full to the brim and still developing!!

On your walls

Published 3 March 2014

Here are some pictures of the paintings hanging on your walls.

St. Paul le Jeune, France
St. Paul le Jeune
St. Paul le Jeune, France
Bedroom
Barjac, France
Barjac, France
Barjac, France
Cotton Tree Lane, Trawden, Lancashire studio gallery
Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Harrogate, North Yorkshire

The Cityscape Series

Published 25 February 2014 - View in art shop

This is so called because the paintings seem to resemble a city in the distance and notably have a horizon.

Room in Hornsey with Goldfish 1966
Heat at Sea
Cityscape Blue Flags
Cityscape Autumn
Cityscape Windy

Limiting myself to simple blocks of colour seemed to open up more possibilities.

Originally, in 1966, I did a small painting which was about objects in a room (see first painting above). They were sitting in space, no detail, just blocks of colour and they were floating in a grey background. Using only blocks of colour to indicate the objects in space. Then, years later I began to do a painting with simple blocks of colour, very similar to the original. In these later paintings there is a sense of a landscape by the introduction of a horizontal line i.e. the horizon. The blocks of colour were the only things in the painting and I began to realise that once you limit yourself to just a scenario of a number of blocks then you could really start to play with the colours and see what they did to each other and within the little area of the canvass I gradually realised that the moods and tensions were set up by these blocks of colour and their positions. Limiting myself seemed to open up more possibilities. The paintings range in size from a few centimetres up to two metres by one and a half metres, the small ones have  a gem-like quality, the large ones began as images of the smaller ones, but I soon realised they were totally different. Their impact seems to be either meditative or they appear to expand. I'm still working on this!!

  • First Painting above shows the original painted in 1966
  • Second painting show examples of tension caused by colour
  • Third painting shows a larger expanding image
  • Fourth painting is an example of moods of colour
  • Fifth painting is an example of the form (of blocks) going, and the colour and texture taking over

The story so far by Jill

Published 25 February 2014

There is always a story behind a painting and this is the story behind the artist.

The Back Street, Trawden, Lancashire
After the Storm

My life with Colin has been an adventure, starting a long time ago when he was a student in London at  Hornsey College of Art and I at eighteen moved there to be with him.  I found work easily and weekends were spent lounging, sauntering the streets and parks and talking about everything we saw. During those walks I learnt to look at things from a different angle, a bend in the road, perspectives, the spaces between objects. Having considered myself no good at drawing or painting I listened and learned to see beyond the obvious and I began to understand, but I never took up a brush to carry it further.

Years passed and our time was occupied with more urgent things like earning money to keep a growing family but Colin’s need to paint never disappeared. During his years at the college he took advantage of the space and time to do sculpture and to make pots. He learnt from the technical assistants at college how to stretch his own canvasses and to prime them using stinking rabbit skin glue heated on an old camping gas stove and then to coat them with a chalk based ground. He sourced all the basic ingredients from local hardware stores and used  Cornellisen’s in Great Russell St. London to buy canvas. That was/is a magical shop, full to the brim with everything an artist would need. Another shop he used was Russell and Chapel.

We moved out of London to the midlands and then to Lancashire where we stayed for 16 years while the children were at school and then we moved to southern France. It was at the time when the idea of making a go of things abroad was a new trend. We cut all ties with the UK, sold up and put our faith in doing it ourselves. Literally buying an old stone ruin. Roof to basement needed attention and we did it. We borrowed muscle from male friends for the really heavy lifting of roof timbers but the rest was us and the children when they showed up during holidays. No swanning by a blue pool and sipping wine, not then anyway!

During all those years Colin sketched and painted and we have files of sketch books showing glimpses of the family and cats. The painted canvases stacked up. His studio, at first, was part of the roof space and we lived with the smell of turps.
I like to write and I have kept a diary of our life. I stumble on those tatty books occasionally and pull one out to remind me of what we were doing and I am surprised by some of the things as they have faded from our memories.

In 2006 we had dreams of building a pool and at the same time we wanted to build a garage alongside the pump room. By 2008 we had finished the pool and garage and had also constructed Colin's studio above the garage with plenty of space and light and a stove to warm him in winter, a place for people to visit.

We created two self-catering gîtes and have welcomed hundreds of people over the years. Many have shown an interest in Colin’s paintings and have become patrons of his work. A lot of our guests return and have become good friends.

There is always a story behind a work of art as there is a history to human friendship which lasts many years.

Paintings in your life by Anna

Published 10 December 2013

A painting is whatever you feel it is. It may remind you of something, evoke a memory or mood or it could just be that you love the colour, the contrast, the form.

Painting by Colin Baxter. 
Brother and Sister
Painting by Colin Baxter. 
How does he do that?
Painting by Colin Baxter.
Setting up for the night
Painting by Colin Baxter.
The white van

Paintings in your life

One of the reasons for creating this website was to allow more people to see Colin’s paintings. There are a lot of paintings; in his studio, in his house and of course all those paintings that are now residing in other people’s homes and offices.
I think paintings should be shared and seen so it’s a shame that all these amazing paintings are stacked up in his studio when they could be living another life on someone’s wall somewhere.

Memories

Paintings mean a lot to me, I grew up with them. Colin is my dad and although I don’t paint I can see what’s going on in his work, not always, but that’s the thing about paintings - everyone has their own interpretation of what they see and feel.

Colin did lots of pencil and ink sketches of us, my brothers and I, when we were growing up. It’s our equivalent of a photo album; camping in the old VW van, cycling on the street, tying up shoe laces, picnics by the river...

Nowadays I think there are a lot of people who just don’t consider paintings in their everyday life and certainly would never buy one or ‘dare’ buy one. I’d like to convince or reassure people that looking at a piece of artwork doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have a particular opinion or have to come up with some deep and meaningful statement about it. A painting is whatever you feel it is. It may remind you of something, evoke a memory or mood or it could just be that you love the colour, the contrast, the form.

Take a long look ...

It is amazing how many people will say that they ‘don’t really like abstract paintings’ or that they ‘are not that keen on figurative images’ and then as they look at Colin’s work they are suddenly taken with an enormous green abstract painting or a very simple drawing of figures by the river. You can’t label or categorize your tastes and feelings - you would be surprised what you can see in a painting if you look long enough.

Colin’s paintings range from water colours of the Irish coastline through oil paintings of landscapes in England, France, Norway and Italy to abstract cityscapes and mystical forms.

He is experimenting and discovering all the time.

My First Painting

Published 12 June 2012

This is the earliest painting I have, painted while at Ramsey Abbey Grammar School. I’ve been painting ever since, so excluding the paintings sold over the years, they are “mounting up”, excuse the pun, and the output is increasing. Living in a remote part of France, and with the help of Jill & Anna, we are letting them “air”.

Still Life painted at school, oil on board, 1959
by Colin Baxter.

How to contact me

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Phone: +33 (0)4 66241569
Email: info@colin-baxter.net

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