Gavin Weightman

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Painting by Jim Harris

Jim Harris (Artist)

I have been painting for 40 years but I have spent the last 4 seasons concentrating on the Coulissen landscape of the Achterhoek.

In the tradition of the impressionists, I venture out, often on my bike, to paint directly from nature.

I paint with a sense of urgency because I have to respond quickly without preparatory sketches, the whole process happens on the canvas. My paintings are a record of the passing of time as shown by the changes in light, the wind blowing and it can of course rain.

Painting by Jim Harris

Observing from life is like listening to a story unfold into details I could have never imagined. The minute I start to observe it is as if the speed in which things change accelerates and the complexities increase. I become the camera capturing thousands of real time moments, every step to be decided by me.

This requires “craft” a word often frowned upon in certain circles of the art world, however craft to me is essential. I make marks to explain the space I am standing in and record the textures of the surfaces, temperature and light fall. The paint can act like the surfaces it is portraying by either absorbing or reflecting light. There is an element of constraint needed in getting the proportions right. The relationship between the objects and spaces I am viewing have to be right as I believe that it is essential in capturing the poetics of the space I am viewing.

However the physical truth of my paintings is a vehicle for other stories and interpretations to come to light, often found at locations where one might easily just pass by the ordinary but actually the extraordinary. By observing and recording, I feel I can lift the painted image to a different place which asks the viewer whether these are direct observations or rather stage sets revealing other possibilities.

Note from Gavin weightman: Jim Harris is my nephew whose art I admire. You can see more of Jim's art at


0 perpendicular drinking

  • Thoughts
  • by Gavin Weightman
  • 17-09-2020
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What a joy it is to go to a pub now that they are open and new safety precautions are in force to protect us against the scourge of Covid-19. No standing at the bar, just waiter service at a table which will have been scrupulously cleaned and sanitised: no old peanut bags or pungent beer stains. Of course the old atmosphere is not there, the desperate scrum at the bar waving ten pound notes and debit cards in an effort to attract the attention of staff who seems to be favour everyone but yourself. It was the Victorians who were to blame for this unseemly form of downing pints while standing at the bar which in its pioneer days was called “perpendicular drinking”. It the 1830s it was a novelty of the new palace like beer houses put up by the big breweries. They were out to capture a new urban passing trade of workmen who had little time to relax on their way home. It was not a place for women: no respectable lady would join the scrum at the bar and the ritual of “buying rounds”. The only women were the barmaids, chosen for their looks and easy banter, and the prostitutes looking for trade.

Toilets for women were not introduced until the 1930s.


It was very different in the old inns where there was no bar and the legendary serving staff were the “buxom wenches” of Tom Jones tradition. No social distancing then, of course, but I think the atmosphere now in pubs with the ban on perpendicular drinking perhaps recalls the old pre-Victorian days when a beer house was no more than someone’s front room. Old folk like myself prefer it like that and can find in the dark clouds of Covid oppression at least one silver lining: the toppling of the perpendicular drinker.