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About Paul



The Late Paul Stangroom, in his own Words (18/12/1955 to 29/05/2023)


My father, Lawrence Stangroom, was an artist/ illustrator - and a huge influence in my life. I have been painting for as long as I can remember. From an early age, my father ‘Lawrie’ showed me the traditional techniques he had learned at art school. Later, I realised how highly regarded he was among his peers and how lucky I am to have had a thorough grounding in traditional methods from such a talented man. 
Growing up in Washington, Tyne and Wear, I watched small villages, based around the coalmines and surrounded by woods and farms, being torn down or in-filled with factories. It made me acutely aware of how quickly we can lose things that I consider to be of real value. This has affected me tremendously and therefore the kinds of things I paint. Well-built homes were demolished, replaced in many cases with so-called ‘modern’ houses and apartments often called, `shoe boxes with windows`. The surrounding countryside was transformed into a ‘New Town`. Land and farms were lost forever, replaced by motorways and shopping malls. While I watched the landscape around me alter, my parents took us on trips to the moors and dales of the North Pennines and the highlands of Scotland. I was drawn to the wild, remote parts of these landscapes.
‘A’ levels and art school occupied the next six years, and I spent time in London and Sunderland. During this time, l explored different mediums and techniques, particularly silkscreen and etching. The themes of buildings, loss and change were significant to the images that I was making. 
The Himalayas had a huge impact on me during my first visit in 1980. I was in awe of the scale and grandeur of the mountains and the resilience, fortitude and hospitality of the local people. This was the start of my Himalayan series. A bursary from The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation in Canada allowed me to return to paint and explore for two years. I have been back to gather source material for my paintings many times since. 
Living back in Northumberland for some years rekindled my love of the moors and fells. At first, I was very interested in painting the wild open spaces but I became increasingly interested in the abandoned, often derelict small farms and cottages that I come across while wandering the fells. Wherever one travels in the uplands of The Pennines, there is evidence of mining, although nature is reclaiming what remains.
I will never know the people who lived and worked in the farms, mines or quarries, but I find it very poignant to look out of the windows, seeing what they would have seen. Some houses have furniture left in them and this gives a very strong sense of the former inhabitants. Standing in the living rooms of some of these old homes with the cast iron range intact, I can only guess what day-to-day life was like. Questions arise in my mind about how many meals were cooked, how many births, deaths and marriages took place? Was it a happy home? I paint these places exactly as I find them, leaving others to imagine their own stories for the images.  I try to create this sense of place as accurately and clearly as I can: my hope is that whoever looks at the paintings will be affected by the places in the same way. My paintings take time to create and often I will wait a number of years before I paint certain images, and yet I start others almost immediately, because of the strong impact they have on me. 


The Madeira series came about as a result of my recent travels to that beautiful island and my subsequent move to Ribeira Brava, near Funchal. The subtropical terrain, plants and trees there are extraordinary and the climate superb. I have a studio and gallery here, close to both beach and mountains, and there's a hotel nearby for visitors. I will also continue to paint the British North Pennine landscapes and abandoned cottages and farmhouses that have long fascinated me. My Madeiran gallery, run by my partner Alison, is open to the public on Caminho da Cruz, Estrada 22 12, Cruz Banda de Alex, 9350-234, Ribeira Brave, Madeira. 


Gallery at the Mill in Allen Mill, near Allendale, houses my originals, prints and cards in the U.K. and is the gallery of my dear friend and artist, Carol Davison. Carol's own work features fine portraits of subjects in Tibet, China and the Himalayas, alongside more local, Northumbrian subjects, and also still life works. There is a cafe with homemade produce and arts and crafts on sale just two doors down from the gallery, and also a craft brewery to visit - Allendale Brewery (NE47 9EA). Visitors are very welcome.



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