Carraroe, Connemara signed with monogram (lower right), further signed, inscribed and dated 'Carraroe. 1969/Colin M' (verso) oil on panel 30.5 x 30.5 cm. (12 x 12 in.) Painted in 1969
PROVENANCE: with The Bell Gallery, Belfast
There are few paintings by Colin Middleton of the west of Ireland and it might have been this unfamiliar landscape that inspired a quite different treatment of the subject to the more horizontally structured and spatially defined style of much of his work of this period.
The square format of Middleton's later paintings is usually reflected in a measured geometric progression through the picture space, but in the present painting a series of bold vertical strokes push away from the lower right corner and then the eye is quickly pulled in divergent directions towards the horizon. The craggy, rock-strewn fields drives the forceful, loose brushstrokes, but the very physical manner of painting hides a careful compositional arrangement, integrating the gable end triangles and the horizontals of a cluster of buildings with the landscape.
Carraroe is almost synonymous with the landscape painter Charles Lamb and it is interesting to speculate whether Middleton's loose, vigorous handling of paint here is a conscious nod to the older painter.
We are grateful to Dickon Hall for his assistance in cataloguing this work.