A glorious view of Essex

Wladyslaw Mirecki - New Watercolours is at Chappel Galleries, 15 Colchester Road, Chappel, Essex until January 27. Open Thursday to Sunday 10 to 5pm.Wladyslaw Mirecki's latest exhibition of watercolours combines a meticulous approach to painting with an air of romanticism and an innate reverence for his surroundings.

Wladyslaw Mirecki - New Watercolours is at Chappel Galleries, 15 Colchester Road, Chappel, Essex until January 27. Open Thursday to Sunday 10 to 5pm.

Wladyslaw Mirecki's latest exhibition of watercolours combines a meticulous approach to painting with an air of romanticism and an innate reverence for his surroundings. Lush grasses in woodland walks, abundant cow parsley flourishing from decked pathways, and falling leaves on a snowy earth are all portrayed with accuracy and flair.

Mirecki paints his favourite places. His studio, and the gallery he runs with Edna Mirecki, are yards from a gigantic viaduct. The surrounding woodland, and the rivers and coast of Essex are other sources of inspiration.

Early Autumn. Chappel, a huge painting, was one of only 64 works exhibited in 2007 at the prestigious Lynn Painter Exhibition, London, and selected from hundreds of entries.

It's a majestic painting dominated by Mirecki's beloved viaduct rising from the earth; a masterly feat of engineering and design. Surrounded by trees, lush foliage and grasses the painting eloquently expresses nature's relationship with the manmade. When it works, as it does here, it really works.

In watercolours like Walton On The Naze, Cliffs, Mistley, and Tollesbury (three works) one appreciates the subtlety of Mirecki's palette; a combination of the understated and the vibrant. In Mistley, vivid green sea weed weaves its way around the rivers pebbles, glowing and glistening against more muted tones.

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In Tollesbury pebbles, mud flats and grasses take on the peach, pink hues of a bright summer afternoon. All three paintings portray rather desolate, slightly unearthly places. Mirecki captures their atmospheres beautifully, imbuing his works with a sense of peace, and inviting reflection.

2007 was a good year for Mirecki. His work was selected for the Royal Academy, his painting Frinton, a gloriously fierce sea scene, was exhibited with the New English Art Club, and Bridge With Chappel Viaduct, a superbly lit work, won a prize at the Sunday Times/Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander Watercolour Exhibition. Viaduct In Winter, and Viaduct With Parsley were both selected for the Royal West of England Academy, Bristol and other prizes followed in the 49th Essex Open Exhibition.

This exhibition represents the sort of quality painting one might expect from someone with such an impressive curriculum vitae. More importantly it is a trailblazer for our precious English countryside. Sheer joy.

Sonia Carvill

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