Posted by Kate Phizackerley on Thursday, September 04, 2008

After months of promising to do so, I have finally started a Web site as a tribute to my late father, Terry Phizackerley. It's a photographic archive of his paintings (mostly but not entirely signed PT Phiz). Sadly we don't have photos of much of his work. My father took them and there were slides but unfortunately they were not saved in the chaos of clearing the house after my mother's death. Hopefully over time people will get in touch and offer photos of paintings in their posession. The family is still in touch with most of the people who own several. In due course, I'll also put an advert in the Lancaster Guardian advertsing the site and asking people to get in touch.

In the meantime, there is an opportunity to display some lesser known work, particularly work that has never been exhibited. There is a large body of very early work and the breadth of styles will surprise those who have only seen works he exhibited later in his life.

I intend it to be more than a photographic archive. As a child, more than my brothers, I spent a lot of time with my father when he was sketching. I was also very much a consultant while he was painting, trusted to be honest with my view as to he quality of each work. That's not to say we always agreed. He produced some strange purple works ... which thankfully seem to have gone astray because I never cared for them at all. My father, however, felt them to be rather good. (Indicentally, I can neither paint nor draw! My brother inherited that talent.)

So the site will also capture my recollection of my father at work, supplemented by anything my brothers can add, to provide a comprehensive picture for posterity of his artistic career. For the first time, I also intend to publish many of his sketches so that readers can see the transition from sketch to finished work. In many cases, "sketch" is something of a misnomer. A watercolour sketch for an oil painting can be an important and beautiful work in it itself, even if my father specifically labelled it as a sketch. But then I remember how much commitment went into every oil painting - both in terms of time but also financially as spending on canvas might have meant we couldn't afford to eat. The life of a young artist carries a high pecuniary burden.

It is going to take months, if not years, to get even the first set up. But it is a job worth doing.

Once a significant number are in place, my sister in law and I plan a memorial exhibition. The exhibitions during his lifetime were themed, such as pictures of the river Lune (like the one shown). I want to display the full diversity of his talent. My first thought was to arrange it as a timeline. There is a difficulty with that in that the dates for some works is uncertain, although I can date most to within a couple of years; more importantly it doesn't achieve what I want as often very similar paintings, albeit of different scenes, are separated by many years. The new intention is therefore to organise pictures by medium - a group of oils, a group of landscape watercolours, some architectural studies and so on. Hopefully we will also be able to arrange a loan of works in private and public collections - or at least professional standard photographs of some of them.

But that is for the future, for now I need to concentrate on building the web site and ensuring that those who will be interested are able to find it.


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