Just as novelist Laurie Lee walked out of his native Gloucestershire in quest of other skies, artist Nigel Vellam left his native Boston and the reeds and flat flieds of the Lincolnshire fens to reach Italy. He never got there. For on his way, the sensitive country lover, self taught artist, fine picture framer and paper maker, was struck by the rural beauty of France and promptly put down easel, brushes and other artistic equipment he had travelled with, to renovate a remote country farmhouse in Brittany. From there he set off on various journeys through the bucolic corners of France, from Picardy to Provence, through the Lpire valley, the Vienne and the Auvergne, vividly capturing, each time, the moments he spent with country folks and their animals, the vernacular architecture of hamlets and villages, varied landscapes under the timid pastel colours of dawn or, in contract, the sun drenched brightness of late afternoons notwithstanding, each time, his love for trees.
Trees dominate the work of Nigel Vellam. Young in full bloom or barren, gnarled and old, their bark and boughs bestride each painting. "I paint trees", says the artist "becausethey seem so rare in the landscapes of my youth". But even then, he manages to find them on his native land, whether it be along the fens and dykes or framing the large Lincolnshire crops. And, of course, trees adorn each step of the French journey.
The other striking aspect of the artist's work is the emotive and delicate use of colours. Soft pinks and yellows, subtle blues, greys and celadons, they attest the mood of time and season in each place. "Some people write, but in my search for the exact colour, each of my brush strokes are my way of expressing myself and my emotions" says Nigel.
As for the brush strokes, well, they characterize each painting, from the stones and tiles of derelict cottages to the detailed clothing of countryfolk, they stay presise and realistic.
Nigel Vellam has a style of his own, neither figurative nor impressionist, although one can see the influence of artists such as Van Gogh have had on him. But, and above all, Nigel says that he owes his technique and free expression to his mentor, the laudable English artist Mary Fitzpayne.
"Under mary's tuition I learnt the finer points of my art and the importance of light and texture in watercolour painting" Nigel adds.