You just start to get it, then you die...

The Cremation of Ian Broomfield (07.03.1945 - 15.08.2001)                       In memory of my father


I've been looking back at my late father Ian Broomfield's oil paintings recently (see gallery below). He was a huge influence on me, not just as a parent but as a talented artist.

At the core of my own oil on board paintings and my taxidermy assemblage art, is Proust and his mantra that objects trigger memories. I have vivid memories of my father painting at home - and so my father's paintings not only directly influenced my work, seeing his art caused me to remember his funeral.

I stood with my mum Jennifer and sister Laura at the water's edge near our home in Emsworth, Hampshire. It's an idyllic spot by the harbour, and we had envisaged dad's ashes being gently blown out to sea on a breeze. What actually happened was, when I turned over the urn they fell out at my feet in a lump - which I had to nudge with my foot, only for it to land in the water with a resounding 'plop'!

Each of us stood there, stifling laughter, not really knowing how to act. But then my dad always had a wry sense of humour and I think he would have laughed out loud!

The words in the title of this Blog "you just start to get it, then you die..." are what my dad said to me three hours before he passed away. It seems a fitting tribute to remember his words here.

So, the first of my dad Ian's paintings (below) was done in the 1970s at Emsworth Harbour where his ashes were 'scattered'. I love it. The next painting in the gallery is one I created recently 'The Cremation of Ian Broomfield, in memory of my father'. 

Owls are symbolic in death and a link to the passing down of knowledge, the boats and groynes are my interpretation of dad's painting and his urn is bottom left.

Miss you dad.

Paul Broomfield July 2018.



Flamingos in France

We have recently had a short break, visiting family in France. While there I spotted this stunning work of art on a house in Argenton-sur-Creuse.

I felt the flamingos were reminiscent of my own oil on board painting 'The Dance' which is one of seven pieces I have on show at Broomhill Art & Sculpture Gardens here in North Devon until the end of July (click here for more).

It looks stunning, and I love the fact that someone had the conviction to paint it on their house - and that it overlooked the most beautiful river. On the opposite river bank there is a big cathedral, it's spire dominating the skyline.

Proust mentions church spires in his novel 'In search of lost time', which is a major influence on my work. I spent many years living and working in France and feel really at home there. Many of the vintage objects I use in my assemblage and taxidermy boxes were collected at markets there.



New exhibition of oil paintings opens

Broomhill Art Hotel, just outside Barnstaple in North Devon, is now hosting an exhibition of seven of my new oil on board paintings. They will be on show until the end of July 2018.

I'm grateful to this fabulous venue for their continued support for my art. I have previously had a successful exhibition of my taxidermy assemblage boxes there, and been guest speaker for the North Devon Arts group in their gallery.

If you haven't checked it out yet, or perhaps not been for a while, Broomhill is home to the National Sculpture Prize, the stunning sculpture gardens and the award-winning restaurant Terra Madre

You can find out more about the paintings on display in my recent blog 'Figures, Flamingos & Fish'. Many thanks to Bianca Robinson for the exhibition photos in the slideshow below.

Paul Broomfield - Figures, Flamingos & Fish

Medium: Oil on Board

My work has always been predominantly inspired by nature but I also frequently make reference to the Proustian concept of involuntary memory.

I’ve always been fascinated by and collected tribal art figures. Depicted in these paintings are fertility figures from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries from the Dogon, Fang Gabon, Sepic River and Baoulé tribes. Carved by hand with very basic tools over a century ago or more, I feel that they conjure memories for me of their makers, their owners and keepers throughout their history. Often carved to represent the souls and spirits of the dead, those souls, travel forward through time touching those in whose possession they are.

Several pieces from my collections have seemed to follow me. Perhaps I had missed buying them at one point only for them to turn up again at a later date at a different auction or fair. Perhaps they were made by people that were associated with me in a past life and trigger a memory and a feeling of connection to and previous knowledge of those objects.

The vintage 60s/70s Gollies, whilst controversial to some, simply trigger the recollection of the safety and comfort of childhood - safe in the sanctuary created for me by my parents.

I have a slight obsession with flamingos - the way they move - they remind me of the curvaceousness of the female form and yet are phallic too in the shape of their necks and heads. For me they represent love and fertility and so sit well alongside the tribal fertility figures.

The fish in the paintings are frozen - my message in these depictions is that we’re destroying what feeds and sustains us along with the native cultures who revered, respected and lived with nature rather than plundering it for their own financial gain.

This body of work will be on display at Broomhill Art Hotel in North Devon from April 1st 2018 to the end of July.

Paul Broomfield 2018

Laying the foundations of art

I have a new project underway to create two significant sculptures. I'm indebted to my friend and talented filmmaker Mikey Corker who is going to document the process.

Plus my good mate George Barrett, aka Fisherbilly, who brought in his new digger to help set the foundations for this artwork. What's happening? All will be revealed in the coming months, but I can say I will also be working with Broomhill Art Hotel and Sculpture Gardens again... 

Until next time.