From the paintbrush of local artist John Dyer come incredible explosions of colour. As the Tall Ships Regatta approaches, we look at how his work reflects and celebrates the excitement of the event
Stand before one of John Dyer’s paintings and you won’t know where to look first. The colours are mesmerising – you are at once bathed in the beautiful blues you know so well from the endless Cornish skies and seas, and hypnotised by the enlivening hues that pop out from the canvas. Seagulls wheel, boats bob, flags flap, swimmers and seals jump in the waves, fireworks crackle on an inky backdrop in Tall Ship Lovers, people cheer from the coast and embrace. These happy spectators are just as transfixed by the action as you are.
As one of the country’s best-known ‘plein-air’ artists, Dyer employs an effective and enveloping approach to light and atmosphere that has gained him countless plaudits. A follower of the Naïve School of art, made famous by Cornish artists including Alfred Wallis and Bryan Pearce, he paints with barely a nod to perspective and uses colour that is always strident, never blurred. The gigantic, vibrant flowers at the forefront of Parade of Sail brush against our arms as we watch the scene unfold, and the implied breeze is welcome in the warmth of the day. Dyer’s style is typically simplistic and, as his many collectors can attest, the big, bright, bold results are unwaveringly energising and arresting.
“Falmouth-based Dyer has been appointed for the third time as the artist-in-residence for the Tall Ships Regatta.”
It’s unsurprising, then, to find that Falmouth-based Dyer has been appointed for the third time as the artist-in-residence for the Tall Ships Regatta, and so has been busy producing a series of paintings capturing the spirit of the Falmouth-London event. He has also been hard at work setting up his Arts Council-supported BIG Art and Storytelling Tall Ships Project, inspiring thousands of children across the UK to get involved with the experience, too. “People love the Tall Ships – the atmosphere it creates in Falmouth and the pure visual feast of it all. I love it, too!” says Dyer. And yes, that’s his work on the front of the official programme, so hang on to it – with his paintings hanging in the permanent collections of Save the Children UK, The Eden Project, Falmouth Art Gallery, The National Trust and The Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust, and his 2008 regatta exhibition having sold out within 15 minutes of it opening, unless you’re quick it might be the only way to get your hands on your own Dyer piece.
John Dyer’s new collection of Tall Ship paintings will be on show at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall on 30th August at 6.30pm. Visit www.johndyergallery.co.uk for ticket details.