Scott Thornley at Le 15 ter Galerie Méli-Art, Gourdon

I’ve been a wee bit quiet this week, as I’m in the Lot in south west France for a break with my sister and her family. Not many exhibitions to review or natural dying workshops going on here, or so I thought. It’s an area that I know reasonably well, having been here two or three times before. Last year, I was here visiting my great friends, Penny and Annie, who have a lovely house just outside the village of Le Vigan. Whilst there, I accompanied them to lunch at the house of their Canadian friends, Scott and Shirley.

This year, by a wonderful coincidence, my visit coincided with Scott’s first exhibition, in the town of Gourdon. Run by a charming Parisian lady (from an old Gourdon family), this new gallery is located in the old family house. You ascend a lovely wide staircase with a stylish fifties wrought iron bannister, and the first thing to meet your eye on the landing are two of Scott’s beautiful leaf drawings. Imposingly scaled, these large drawings of plane tree leaves (from Penny and Annie’s garden) have a wonderfully free and fluid line, that leaves them open to interpretation. If I had had the cash, I would happily have taken one home with me.

Moving into the gallery space, the walls are hung with large charcoal figures, which are full of movement and energy, and which reminded us a little of the Egon Schiele. Chatting with Scott, I expressed my admiration for the works on display – I find working with charcoal quite a challenge. He assured me that if I persevered, I would have a breakthrough moment.

‘There are no mistakes when using charcoal – every line adds depth to the patina of the work.’

I am still too constrained with my drawing and find the smudgy rawness of the material too much for my perfectionist tendencies.

This is a lovely exhibition and I was very pleased to have been in the right place at the right time to see it. If you are visiting the area, it is well worth seeking out. The show runs until the 30th of July at Le 15 ter Galerie Méli-Art, 15 per Allées de la Republique, Gourdon, France.

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