By Paul Stringfellow
I visited Len a couple of days ago after speaking to him on the phone and asking if he would like to contribute to our Wednesday drop in gallery. I was keen to keep Len involved particularly as he lived alone, did not have the internet or smart phone and relied entirely on face to face contact within our group or the occasional phone call.
I was glad to find that Len was fit and well and still doing his daily exercises. We had a chat about his recent testing experience of trying to get his car serviced and MOT’d during the Covid 19 measures.
During the 60’s Len, like so many others at that time, moved quickly from one job to another during the job shortages. He eventually settled within Photo Litho Printing and there he stayed for the next 50 years and developed his interest in image reproduction. During his time there he was responsible for producing images from huge 16 sheet posters to those as small as a postage stamp. He was also responsible for the production of the prestigious Christies catalogue. Len explained the process to me. The primary colours cyan, magenta, yellow plus key or black and how they are projected to the surface at three different angles to maintain colour separation. His work in this field has given him a keen eye to the evaluation of colour.
Len became a member of BAS and the Wednesday drop in group about four years ago when his then art club in Sidcup ceased to meet. Len was drawn to a particular BAS exhibition in Bexleyheath at the time, tried the Wednesday sessions and has not looked back.
Len paints and draws using a variety of mediums including pencil, pastel, watercolour and oils. His watercolours are usually applied as body colour rather like gouache and is not averse to using white paint. Len usually completes all his work within 3hrs but he showed me one of his oil colours, painted during lock down, that unusually took him several weeks. It was of an English village with Tudor style buildings. Its is a scene that he particularly liked, had painted before, but then subsequently gave the painting away. Len takes images he likes and reproduces them in his own style. His favorites are his pencil sketches.
Len chose three images for the gallery, he loved the rugged movement of the work horses, the humour of the wilting bus trek and the strong colours within the native American figure.