Graham “Broonzy” Williams is a colorful character from England, so it makes sense that his artwork is consistently imaginative. As a child, Graham had aspirations of becoming a titan in the cartoon industry, besting the likes of Walt Disney and Hanna Barbera.
“We all have dreams!” he said. “My father went so far as to buy me art tutorials about cartoon drawings like Betty Boop. In the late fifties, you can imagine the cost and work involved in those days—bless him for encouraging my ambitions.”
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Now retired, Graham became quite successful as a graphic and product design manufacturer, designing everyday items from wood. Painting is still as essential to his life as breathing, however, and he also spends much of his time in the country playing guitars and watching birds and wildlife.
In Early Evening Rain, seen below, inky outlines of streets and buildings create a crispness needed to contrast the muddled tawny colors. Droplets of rain dampen the pavement, giving it a reflective quality that mirrors autumn leaves and the pedestrians on their way.
The entire scene speaks to the uniqueness of the season, when there’s just a hint of chill in the air and folks can’t help but get outside a few more times to enjoy the weather before winter sets in. There’s also a presence of foggy mist in the background that I particularly love, invading our view down the street and turning buildings and trees in the distance into mysterious shadows.
A Windy Day at Ascot is the perfect picture of sophistication and elegance. Add in the graceful woman trying to keep tabs on her floppy hat, as well as her flattering, form-fitting dress, and we already have a winner, no matter who wins the horse race at the end of the day!
A golden background adds tones of warmth—like that of a room basking in candlelight—which gives the woman’s skin a healthy glow. The most gorgeous element about this painting, to me, is the way Graham applied the off-white (with a faint tinge of rose) coloring to her dress and hat. He paints in such an impressionistic way that the fabric to look textured and full, reminding me a bit of stucco in an interesting, artsy way.
Finally, we come to Moored for the Evening. There is no mistake where the focal point is in this painting, and I enjoy the bold decision to mask all other elements.
Clouds and mist settle over the water, blending sea and sky together in perfect harmony as the scene escapes gently from our sight. A boat moves forth from the fog, and sails are cast down as dusk approaches and the day’s activities come to an end.
Note the blue and gold of the lower portion of the boat—an obvious portrayal of reflective light and deepening shadow. The clean white of the boat’s upper deck allows us to appreciate the boxy dimensions of the boat’s many levels.
Looking more closely, I see the shadows of two people near the bow who look like they are preparing to dock the boat in a harbor. What do you see?
I enjoyed all of Graham’s artwork immensely, and would be remiss if I didn’t mention Lady of Colours and Coming Up to the Finish Line—both of which I recommend taking a moment to view on his website, along with many other fantastic paintings.
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