Sunday, 29 October 2017

Busy, busy

The 2017 Rossendale Art Trail was very successful; our studio was one of 19 participating. We had well over 100 visitors throughout the weekend, plus we made a few sales:

After this we're now preparing for a burst of activity over the next few months. Preparations are well advanced for the exhibition early in the New Year of Dave's work at Leicester Grammar School. Dave was evacuated to Leicester during the Second World War, and would have gone to school in the city. The Grammar School has excellent gallery space and it is a public space.

Arrangements to close down the Trust (see previous blogs) and establish a new business arrangement with his son Chris are beginning to take shape, and we're currently discussing an option to take on a new occasional exhibition space in Cheadle, from where we would be able to show Dave's work to a new audience. 

Some of the other things I've blogged about recently have developed too - the Art Fund has suggested that Compton Verney ( might make a good home for some of Dave Pearson's work from his English Calendar Customs and In The Seven Woods series, as they house the English Folk Art Collection.

Plans are moving forward with the Summer 2018 exhibition at the Turnpike Gallery in Leigh, and of course Dave's self-portrait is currently on show in the Spotlight Gallery at Dean Clough, Halifax. 

Thursday, 28 September 2017

On the Art Trail 2017

Among the strangest pieces made by Dave Pearson are the various assemblages created from painted chipboard and toy plastic animals. These were made in the late 1990s for the annual Globe Arts Christmas Market, that was something of a treat for those who knew about it. Here it was possible to pick up specially made, and often light-hearted, pieces of artwork from any of the Globe Artists for a few pounds. 

We've still a few of these at the Dave Pearson studio and, along with everything else, they'll be on show during the Rossendale Art Trail/Open Studios next weekend - October 7th and 8th. 

We're Venue C in the Art Trail brochure, along with our friends at Apna, who have a small exhibition of photographs by the award-winning Palestinian photographer Hamde Abu Rahma

Monday, 18 September 2017


This week I'll be taking the self-portrait by Dave Pearson (above) to the Dean Clough galleries in Halifax. It will be on show in the Spotlight Gallery, a small space in which only a single work is shown at a time, along with information about that work. 

A work by Dave Pearson was chosen at this time because it coincides with 'The Joy of Seeing', the first major retrospective of work by Gordon Snee. Gordon was a colleague of Dave's at the Foundation Studies Department at Manchester School of Art, later MMU. Gordon died in 2013, and like Dave a large legacy of his work was discovered after his death.

I've chosen this portrait because its such powerful image. It's both a realistic portrait of the artist, but also, in the mysterious collection of objects that cluster around the mirror, it's an indicator, a kind of geocache box, to his inner landscape. 

Monday, 7 August 2017

Developments at the Dave Pearson Trust...and an intern.

Since the last blog work at the Dave Pearson Studio has developed significantly in several ways. First, the Trust has agreed on a deadline of 31st March 2018 to wind-up itself up. At that point all of the remaining paintings and other art works will be returned to Dave's son Chris (though physically they'll stay at the studio). For more on the reasons behind this read the January 2017 blog. In the short/medium term there won't be too many changes as Bob Frith will continue to oversee things at the studio (Bob is, in any case, the landlord), and he will continue to be helped by Ella Cole. But this change of legal status is clearly a turning point, and in the longer term there's no doubt that the Dave Pearson estate will almost certainly find fresh ways of maintaining Dave's work and developing his reputation.

Next, over the past few weeks we've been joined by Caitlin Stracey (above) who is helping us out for a day or two each week. Caitlin has arrived at a good time, as we're busy reorganising things for a number of reasons  Initially in order to create space for the Apna to have their own office space in addition to our own:

We've also started to archive certain works, mainly sketches and preparatory drawings, so as to create more space in which to show finished pieces. We feel confident to do this because Ella is now very close to completing the cataloguing of the work that we have in the studio. As a result we're better able to take an over-view of all of Dave's work and make decisions on which pieces should be archived, and which should stay visible and shown publicly - both in exhibitions, as well as to potential buyers.

Once the cataloguing at the studio is complete, there's still the little matter for Ella of cataloguing the work that remains at Chris Pearson's house, just along Manchester Road. This could easily amount to another thousand artworks.

Finally, to say that Arry Nessa, who manages Apna (which now occupies the downstairs front room) is in the final stages of doing her own organising - of the On-Paper Festival, which is partly based in our premises. It's good to feel that the building now has a double creative focus, and the Apna room will be used for a wide-range of activities from lantern making to paper-cut workshops and mindfulness.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Self portraits

Ella has finally completed recording Dave's self-portraits - after adding 183 new pieces to the catalogue. 

There's a range of paintings in sizes from one 130cm square canvas, down to a variety of smaller oil paintings of about 25 by 30cms and upwards: 

Most are expressionist in style and brushwork but when these were done is a bit of a mystery. Our guess is that mostly they were painted during the 1990s, based mainly on the evidence of what age Dave looks in them. Whether they were done as one intensive series, or whether they were paintings undertaken in-between creating other works isn't clear.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Dave Pearson at the Bridgeman Art Library

One of the things that has taken us longer to achieve than originally planned has been to establish a link between the Dave Pearson Trust and the Bridgeman Art Library. Edward Lucie-Smith first put us in touch with the Bridgeman several years ago and since then we've rather struggled to get together the necessary high-quality images which we could submit to them. 

Now, at last, Ella and I have managed to send a selection to the Bridgeman and we're pleased to say that they have now created a page for Dave Pearson within their Art Library website. It means that copies of the selected painting scan be bought as prints from the Art Library to be used in publications, and proper copyright payments and credits will be awarded to our Trust. 

Below is a sample of a page from the Bridgeman. To look further go to and enter 'Dave Pearson' into their search engine. It includes tags to help organisations looking for a suitable image to narrow their search, and a lightbox facility to look at the artwork properly. 

Now we've managed to put a small number of Dave Pearson's images into the library, we hope to expand the number as high quality photographs become available. 

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Calendar Customs notebooks

For a long time I've been meaning to take a closer look at 11 Daler Calendar Customs sketchbooks that Dave left - 5 A5 and 6 A4 sizes. The Trust discovered many sketchbooks and notebooks, but these 11 are different as they are well organised and all of a kind. Most of them have a label on their cover to denote particular periods of the year - such as 'New Years Day', or simply by month. 

They contain Dave's notes and researches into English Calendar Customs, and they were used by him to inform the large relief oil paintings that he made in the 1970s, and the accompanying etchings (that we've just had reprinted). There are also just a few of the drawings that are diagrammatic sketches for specific prints or paintings and so, in these, it's possible to work out what each of the customs depicted in the final work relate to. 

There must be in total about 500 pages of drawings and writing - mostly in great condition, although a few (where he has remounted pages from another notebook) have been damaged by glue residue. The vast majority of the drawings are very sketchy, and are made up of simple, charming line drawings. But a number have been worked into, and these are the ones I particularly like. 

On May Day (fittingly) I went through the 11 books, and photographed just about all of the more detailed drawings. There were 72 in total, and for anyone who is interested I've put them into a photo-album called Calendar Customs on the Facebook page for The Dave Pearson Trust ( ).