Contemporary Paintings that commemorate Significant Events from WWI

03/11/2014

I have created an initial series of 3 paintings, commemorating significant moments of World War 1, during 1914: the First Battle of Mons on 23rd August 1914 is entitled ‘And They Faced Each Other’; the retreat at Le Cateau on 26th August 1914 is entitled ‘And They Waited’; and the Christmas Truce on 25th December 1914 is entitled ‘And They Played At Christmas’ .

These paintings are colourful and emotional representations of these events and some viewers have found their emotional connection overwhelming. I took the paintings to a meeting this week and explained the stories behind them. One lady whilst giving her reaction to them became so tearful that she could not speak about the reaction she was experiencing, in front of 20 other ladies at the meeting. She had been in the army and had served in Bosnia. A very emotional experience for all present. It was also the first time I had put all 3 together, as I had just finished the third that morning! I was personally stunned at how coherent they are, as separate, but also as one piece of work.

I only intended to paint the first painting for personal reasons and for which I did actually research as well as talk to my husband who is an expert on the first world war. I think they are probably so strong because I have visited many sites over the years and have immersed myself in the history because of Tom! The second actually has a painting underneath which I started and hated as energies and something was overwhelmingly telling me to paint a tree. As I loved the hare silhouettes (that represent the german and british in the first painting) I put the british hare under the tree. When Tom came home he said “I see you have done another WWI painting?” “No”said I, “Yes “said he, and he then told me the story of the second battle of the war. As he did this I was really freaked out but also had a complete calmness come over me as I realised he was right. The tree wanted me to tell its story-this is below. Another artist I spoke to, told me then about channeling which is something that happens to some artists and is a recognised phenomena.”

The 3 paintings will be shown together to tell the story of these events in a different contemporary way and the reaction of people who have seen them has been amazing. Other artists and observers have commented on what strong pieces they are.

If you would be interested in exhibiting these paintings please contact me to discuss the opportunities. I will be painting more in the series as the commemoration events continue into 2018.


 

‘AND THEY FACED EACH OTHER’

CHARRON PUGSLEY-HILL
Acrylics,metallics and fine glitters 101 X 76 X 4cm

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Painted in 2014 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of The Great War, this painting captures the ethereal beauty of the wildflowers of the area around the Belgian town of Mons where the British and German armies first clashed. Poems from the time talk about eyes turning to heaven where larks are seen in the sky over the battlefield. In the painting the lark represents both a fleeing dove of peace and the angel who, as stories go, came down and fought to save British soldiers in peril. Extreme exhaustion during the retreat from Mons causing hallucination among the troops has been suggested as a source for this story. There are also references to hares running on to the battlefield and the two hares’ silhouettes represent the two armies facing each other.


 

‘AND THEY WAITED’

CHARRON PUGSLEY-HILL
Acrylics, metallics, metallic leaf and fine glitters 101 x 76 x 4cm

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This painting was created in 2014 as part of a series to commemorate the 100th anniversary of The Great War. It is the 2nd of 3 paintings based on events from 1914. It captures dawn on 26thAugust and the beauty of a lone tree that stood close to the centre of the British position at Le Cateau. The German Artillery used the tree as a distance marker for their guns. The British had anticipated this and tried to chop it down, but the trunk was too thick for them to complete this task before the battle started.

The hare represents the British army waiting for the German to advance. The poppies are a sign of remembrance for all lives lost in the Great War.

This painting is special to me as it was about half way completed as my second commemorative piece before I was told the story of the “tree” at the Battle of Le Cateau -This is known as channeling in the art world.


 

‘AND THEY PLAYED AT CHRISTMAS’

CHARRON PUGSLEY-HILL
Acrylics,metallics,fine glitters and beads

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This painting is the third in a series commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. The story of the christmas truce is well-known, when the British and German troops ceased fighting on christmas eve 1914, unable or unwilling to ignore the season of peace and goodwill to all men. The Germans placed Christmas trees on the parapets of their trenches and carols were sung by both sides. In places, the men left their trenches and handshakes and gifts were exchanged. At a few places, where the terrain allowed, games of football were played. Unfortunately, the killing started again the next day.

Lest we forget!

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