art of tom hickman
First off I should introduce myself and perhaps the picture here is enough to explain where I live and where my passion lies. No, not in Breton dancing but with paint and canvas. I am perhaps known locally more for having written and illustrated the very limitted edition book "Un monde qui s'en va" which is packed full of pencil drawings of vernacular architecture of Central Finistere. It is a very personal view from an artists who has lived in the heart of Brittany for 20 years and has witnessed many changes not all for the better. I felt it important to record some of the fine architectural features of this area. Lucine Jegat-Lallouet states in the preface; What shame, what inferiority complex lies hidden beind this destructive attitude? How could a single generation massacre the heritage of such a rich culture, losing at the same time their architecture, their landscape and their language? The sharp eye of the artist Tom Hickman, stranger in a lost paradise, has nevertheless seen a rustic beauty, worthy of interest and love. His pricise pencil has fixed for the future the vestiges of a way of life that was both basic and profoundly mysterious. Will his drawings remain the only memory of a disappearing world?
Although I have spent much of the past twenty years restoring my own and other houses my true profession and real love is painting in oils. My first exhibition this year is during March and April on the Isle of Gigha just off the west coast of Kintyre in the Inner Hebrides. Here I will be showing coastal views of where I was brought up on the Mull of Kintyre as well as local views of Gigha. This has been a productive time as I rediscovered the love I have for this most beautiful part of the world so different from Central Brittany.
Later in June I will be showing locally at L'Autre Rive in the heart of the Huelgoat woods and again in early September at the Tourist Office in Carhaix. I have been recently looking at winter light on waterlogged fields and the skelital form of the distinctive tetar oak trees.
From the hills that climbed steeply up behind the old walled garden through the thick bluebell beach woods and beyond across a fragrant land, where the hill-sheep grazed tight the meagre grass. Higher still where soft low cloud often covered the very top of Ben Ghuilean, there where the brilliant yellow scented gorse gives way to the random patchwork of purple heather and fresh green bracken. All this was mine to roam over, the flat fertile fields running along the coast road where we tilled the soil, tedded the grain, singled the swedes and raked the green appearing ground. The soaring cliffs of Davaar Island glowed purple and orange in the low morning light reflected from an emerald sea, squatting toad like in the heavy swell, a vast plug restricting and sheltering the mouth of Campbeltown harbour. Ours was the crunching pebbled foreshore from out beyond the point the seaweed bearded rocks that border the coast road from the Dhorlin to the babbling casades of New Orleans glen and beyond the brooding bulk and caves wrinkled slopes of Achinhoan Head.
This winter has often seemed like a question of survival
as I hibernate to the far end of the house working living and sleeping in my studio. It has also been a productive time where between painting I have worked on replenishing my deminishing supply of wood.