Photography & Fine Art Exhibition with Christopher & Lolita Cooke

Running from 4th-30th August at the Garden of Reflection Gallery

Next month the Garden of Reflection Gallery in Bishop Street will host a joint exhibition with local artists, and husband and wife team, Christopher and Lolita Cooke.
Consisting of photographic images from Christopher and fine art from Lolita, the exhibition will have a central theme of locations around Derry and County Donegal.
We caught up with Lolita this week to discuss influences, her arts background and what we can expect from her new exhibition.

What is your Art background?
I am self taught but I always had a natural ability to produce accurate drawings and sketches even as a child. My husband Christopher noticed this and encouraged me to produce art on a more serious level. He has an interest in art and has previously created murals. Although he admits he lacks the patience for art, he has taught me quite a few points which I found very beneficial to improving my own art. Also, a very good friend of ours, Mr John Doherty who is a talented artist has guided me and gave me some great tips and I have continued to improve as an artist since.

Who are you influenced by or take inspiration from?
I am not influenced by anyone in particular, but I love the work of famous artists like Michael Angelo and Juan Luna from the Philippines. I like realistic art. I appreciate paintings and sketches that are an accurate representation of the subject no matter if the artist is known or unknown.

What will be on display in the forthcoming exhibition?
On display will be a number of paintings and some photographic images of locations around Derry and County Donegal. They are well known locations, maybe you have been there as children on a day trip with your parents, or maybe you go there with your own children. Some of those places include: Mussenden Temple in Castlerock, Stroove Lighthouse in Greencastle, Crana Bridge in Swan Park, Inch Island, A beached fishing boat at Kincasslagh, The beached wreck known as “Bad Eddie” at Gweedore and Dark Hedges which has become popular through Game of Thrones.
There are also portraits of John Hume, Josef Locke, Phil Lynott, Gerry Anderson, Amelia Earhart, and Daenerys Targaryen from the Game of Thrones.
The photographic images in the exhibition include, Derry in mist taken from the Waterside, Craigavon Bridge, the Peace Bridge, some images taken in locations on the outskirts of Derry and also some images taken around Donegal.
One painting in particular is unique as it’s not a location which is known to anyone. It’s a very accurate painting of an original Series One Landrover from the late 1940s in a country scene.

What techniques/ medium do you use and what would be your preferred medium?
My techniques would be the traditional method of applying paints on canvas, by using a variety of art brushes and palette knives, as I prefer to paint realism this is the only technique that works with the materials I use.
My preferred mediums would be oil, acrylic and pastels, I also use graphite and charcoal for black and white portraits, water colours would be bottom of my list as a preferred medium.

How would you describe your work?
I would describe my work as Realism. I endeavour to produce accurate reproductions of scenes or images with as much detail as possible. I like it when people look at my work and instantly call out the name of the place, location or the name of the person if it’s a portrait. I know I have done a good job when that happens.

The exhibition of Photographic Images and Fine Art will run from 4th-30th August at the Garden of Reflection Gallery and is free to attend.

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