We were sent a link to Eileen Hogan’s lecture about her exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art on 8 May, the day that it was delivered and the exhibition opened, but have only just got round to watching it. We found it unexpectedly moving watching it in absentia – the story of her artistic life, brought up in Tooting and taught by nuns, then rescued by going to Camberwell and being taught, amongst others, by Robert Medley, then at the Royal Academy Schools and the Royal College of Art by Carel Weight, and winning a scholarship to the British School of Athens. Through all her time as a teacher and painter, she has stuck to a belief in the benefits of close observation, getting to know a subject, often gardens, and painting it with extreme sensitivity to light and movement and the seasons – the spray of water in Chelsea Physic Garden or winter in Chiswick – drawing it first, recording it in her sketchbook and then painting more formally in her studio. Of course, this is the traditional activity of the painter, but, as she describes it, now more radical, because increasingly unusual, against the tide of so much of contemporary art practice, still, as she demonstrates so effectively, beautifully valid.
I strongly recommend watching it:-