Alan Cotton book launched at his London art exhibition

Half of artist’s paintings sold ahead of latest exhibition opening

A NEW book about Colaton Raleigh artist Alan Cotton was launched at the opening of his latest major exhibition of paintings in London on Wednesday.

Alan Cotton – Giving Life a Shape by Jenny Pery, is the second book by this author on the life and work of the artist, whose journey from his student days at Birmingham College of Art to his recognition as one of Britain’s best known landscape painters has been a fascinating one.

Jenny’s large format hardback is lavish on all levels. Printed on high quality paper, John Saunders and Steve Russell’s photographs of Alan’s paintings sing off the page, showing their textured knife work and use of light to best advantage.

Jenny reveals how Alan’s ideas take shape through drawing in the landscape, the seed from which he composes the heavily impastoed paintings of scenes in Hartland, Donegal, Provence, Piemonte and other European landscapes.

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The book’s title is apt as Jenny describes how the need to produce a body of work for an annual exhibition has shaped Alan’s life.

With interviews with collectors and reminiscences from friends, as well as pithy commentary from Alan himself, Jenny paints a excellent picture of the artist, his travels, charitable activities and formative moments in his career.

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His latest exhibition at Messum’s Fine Art in the West End, which runs until Saturday, October 2, has 55 paintings on show – a year’s work for the artist.

Alan said: “By last Friday the gallery had sold 20 paintings from the catalogue or from their website, which I find amazing.”

Messums confirmed on Wednesday that half had been sold prior to the private view.

“They have clients that come in but most sales are done from the website,” said Alan, who said buyers from Hong Kong and the USA had bought his work this time, as well as one who has bought four paintings.

“I have no idea who it is. A lot of people collect my work. I like to believe they buy something because they love it, but underneath there must be an element of people who collect for investment, which is quite upsetting,” said Alan.

“However,” he added, “the majority buy because they love my work and to pay a lot of money for a painting is quite a big decision to make.”

Alan’s highly sought after work commands thousands of pounds each, with prices in London ranging from �4,250 to �18,500.

Copies of Jenny’s book, published by Halsgrove, cost �34.99. A limited edition of 250 copies in a sleeve, together with a signed original silk-screen print, is also available.

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