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Friday, August 22, 2008

Climber Artist Series: Ginger Cain

Anthony "Ginger" Cain's mountain paintings are well-loved and have been widely exhibited in his native U.K., but are nearly unknown here in the U.S. That's a shame because his work is super-appealing to climbers. Cain studied art in the early ’60s but had no interest in an academic career. He moved to Wales and worked on his painting, supplementing his meager income with mountain guiding. Though not among the elite, he was an accomplished climber, pioneering rock routes up to 5.10 in the late ’60s. Cain's large oil and acrylic abstracts gradually evolved into more realistic mountain scenes, often in watercolor. "With a climber's eye dictating them," Cain's website says, these paintings "said something to fellow climbers in their own language."

I find the best of his work to be very compelling. Scenes dominated by cold ice and black rock are somehow rendered full of warmth and life, yet without sugar-coating the reality of these harsh environments. They make you think, "I know it's dangerous, but I want to be there."

Cain owns the Mountain Art shop in Llanberis in North Wales, and sells originals and modestly priced prints by mail and through an online retailer. Most of his patrons, his website says, have been climbers and "mountain obsessives," including well-known British climbers Mo Anthoine, Chris Bonington, Joe Brown, Mick Burke, Nick Estcourt, Doug Scott, and Don Whillans. I feel certain that if more North Americans were exposed to his work—and perhaps if he painted more North American scenes—he'd find an enthusiastic reception on this side of the Atlantic.

I like climbing and I like art. From time to time, the Mountain World features the work of climber artists that catch my eye.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its lovely painting it real?????.