At last I have a space to unlock this amazing piece by Sophie Long at the Cheltenham Paint Festival featuring a family of polar bears taking a walk. The piece is one of the larger ones that I have seen by the Bristol-based artist and was one of the highlights of the festival. Unfortunately, although I went to the festival on two days, I didn’t get to meet Sophie on this occasion.
The painting carries all the hallmarks I would associate with Sophie Longs work. The bears are beautifully laid out in differing poses and touched with some colourful paintwork that complements the overall composition. Imagine how different this piece would look if it were just plain white bears.
Of course, no Sophie Long piece would be complete without drips, and this piece has lots of them. This is a fine wildlife work from an artist who specialises in this kind of subject.
Andrew Burns Colwill is a great Bristol artist and one who has championed environmental awareness vigorously in recent years, particularly with his 20:50 vision pieces. At Upfest 2017 he really excelled himself with this magnificent polar bear sitting on what at first appears to be a piece of ice, but which is actually a pick up truck floating in a sea of plastic.
His ongoing commentary on the destruction of our planet, and visions of what it might look like in 2050 results in a series of haunting images, of which this is one. A prophet of what might be, if we don’t pull our fingers out and get things sorted. Andrew Burns Colwill, like many others in the environmental movement, has been talking about plastic for some time…at last it feels like the government is listening.
This is one of the best pieces of the 2017 festival, and the good news I understand is that it is here to stay. The Coopers Arms pub, where this piece can be found, will be keeping it. ABC’s fine art pedigree shine through in this work and he is truly the king of murals in Bristol. I salute you.