Gordon Clegg - Portrait and Landscape Artist
I was born in Stalybridge and have lived there ever since. Although very much self-taught, I have spent most of my life drawing.
As a pupil of West Hill Secondary Modern School I was taught and very much inspired by the remarkable water-colourist Owen Traynor. “He taught me to look at things in detail. I loved to paint landscapes and this kept me reasonably happy for many a years. However, I always thought they had something missing and I didn’t know what it was until I tried to paint my first portrait, and it soon became apparent that the missing ingredient was emotion”.
I created a series of works that were exhibited in my first one-man exhibition at the prestigious Astley-Cheetham Art Gallery. That was quickly followed by successful exhibitions at the People’s Gallery and then at Saddleworth Museum and Gallery. In 2014 I had an exhibition at the Gallery Oldham which he had great success.
When you study my work, you will discover that I uses many different mediums in my paintings - from oils, pen and inks, and my favourites, pencil crayons, mixed with inks.
“I always start my portraits with the eyes. I find so much in them from sadness, joy, love, despair and pain, it’s all there in the eyes; those are the emotions, I feel, are missing in the landscape.”
My influences have been varied and many. From the Pre-Raphaelites to Rembrandt, and most recently to David Oxtoby, whose rockers are modern masterpieces, but I think the greatest portrait artist of all is the American, Chuck Close, whose portraits are of unbelievable size and strength.
“A commission I was very proud of was of the actor, comedian and tireless charity fund raiser Ricky Tomlinson. He was a joy to paint, a very humble man, also I painted the late Bernard Manning, again a very generous man his portrait now hangs in the boardroom of the family business.”
The People's Gallery at the Bridge Art Centre has been my workplace for nearly twenty years now and I still love to come to my studio every day to work on my oil paintings, some of which are going towards my next exhibition.