Art with meaning for all

PUBLISHED: 11:42 24 October 2008 | UPDATED: 11:26 17 June 2010

THERE has never been a modern-day artist whose work has captivated me as much as that of Michael Morgan. It was early on in his career - after his retirement from academia - I first encountered his striking watercolour landscapes, during an amateur art exhibition in Honiton

THERE has never been a modern-day artist whose work has captivated me as much as that of Michael Morgan.

It was early on in his career - after his retirement from academia - I first encountered his striking watercolour landscapes, during an amateur art exhibition in Honiton.

The painting, of a ploughed field with lone farm buildings, stood out like a beacon from everything else. His use of watercolour was innovative, daring and addictive.

I couldn't afford the picture, despite its price tag of under £200, something I regret, because now I have even less chance of buying an original Michael Morgan.

He has become one of the most sought-after artists from the West Country, with his work selling for thousands, not hundreds, during his solo exhibitions in the gallery at Marine House at Beer.

I do, in fact, own two magnificent prints, which have pride of place on my wall, so I confess to being somewhat biased when reviewing his latest work, 80 @ 80, The Paintings of Michael Morgan, a glossy hardback book to celebrate his paintings produced during his 80th year.

Michael, who lives near Axminster, has always said his pictures speak for themselves and he has let this beautiful publication by Halstar, at £34.99, do just that (ISBN: 9781906690007).

With more than 130 hitherto unpublished images, 80 paintings of which are new, what words there are are brief and carefully chosen.

We have some explanations from the artist but mostly his work is described by collectors, fellow painters, scholars and even his doctor.

What binds the comments is the obvious inspiration each person draws from Michael's work.

Whether it is the mystical, moody skies over mountain ranges and derelict farmhouses, or calming expanses of ripple-ploughed fields and bare-branched trees, each has a reason to love his work.

If you are never lucky enough to hang a Michael Morgan on your wall, treat yourself to this veritable feast of colour, texture and magical scenery in this superb book.

Michael will be at Marine House gallery on Saturday, November 15, from 11am, to launch his book and sign copies.

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