An artist’s journey
Caroline Bingham meets Lincoln born artist Dominic Parczuk, current artist in residence at Doddington Hall. This month an exhibition of his paintings inspired by the house and estate opens in the Stable Yard Gallery.
In whichever season you visit Doddington Hall there is always something new which catches your eye and demands closer appreciation. It might be just a change of light flooding the grand rooms or spectacular blooms in the garden and of course the venue makes a magnificent backdrop for a wide variety of events. Interviewing Dominic Parczuk in the Great Hall, I was envious of the opportunity he has been granted to capture the estate in all its moods. Claire and James Birch have given Dominic unrivalled access and free rein to record in oils his perceptions of the Hall.
“It is a privilege to be appointed the first artist in residence here,” said Dominic. “I began this current portfolio of work late last summer and I want my paintings to reflect the personality of the Hall and evolve to illustrate this unique sense of place. I have spent time getting to know the house and the gardens and have been particularly drawn by the collections of objects which the family have collected over the generations.”
Dominic described this year as a ‘journey’ to achieve his final shortlist of sixty pictures for the forthcoming exhibition. His career path has been an equally fascinating journey which began with his formative years and education in Lincoln. Dominic was a pupil at Priory LSST before spending a year at the Newark School of Violin Making. He is a talented musician as well as artist and his career has encompassed spells following both creative avenues but he left the craft of violin making to attend an Art Foundation course at Lincoln Art School. Study for a Fashion Design degree took him to Central Saint Martins, London and Dominic remained in the capital for the following twelve years, working firstly as a freelance designer and then for Burberry undertaking design research, visual merchandising and travelling extensively to support their Prorsum collections and launches.
“I was still playing violin and teaching semi-professionally and one day I spotted an advert in the Guardian for an adviser at JP Guivier and Co, the stringed instrument dealers and repairers on Mortimer Street. I was offered the job and spent five happy years there working with all the top international players.”
During all this time Dominic was also producing creative work, always coming back to oils as his chosen medium. “Oil is the most complex medium. I love the smell, the colours and how it moves. Look at any of the Grand Masters to see oil’s versatility and complexity. I start each picture with a fine emulsion of pigment and turps and then build up the layers using a fat over lean technique.” He also wanted to go back to spending 100% of his time pursuing his creative talent, so left London and returned to Lincoln to paint and supported himself by lecturing in the Fashion Department at the University.
“In 2016 the residency for an artist was advertised by Lincoln Cathedral, which I won. I was given an extraordinary studio space above St Hugh’s Choir. I was able to really explore my fascination with light, colour and atmosphere producing around 120 paintings and 150 sketches in total. My residency culminated with an exhibition in the Chapter House featuring more than fifty of my pictures.”
Dominic lives in East Yorkshire now and loves to paint the scenic dales, water and skies of that county as well as the changing light and shadow of the Lake District.
“Working at the Cathedral was a transition year for me, building my skills and confidence to paint full-time, although I would guess that only 20% of my time is spent painting. The rest is spent building a client base and marketing my work through social media – Instagram is especially influential – or curating my exhibitions, and I still teach privately.
“I have been drawn to ‘moments’ at Doddington to help me understand the heritage and quality of this place. I like to work in one sitting so that pictures remain fresh and ‘of the moment’. Pictures in the exhibition will feature still life, interiors, the gardens and artefacts which are unique to Doddington to reflect the atmosphere throughout the seasons.”
Doddington’s owners, Claire and James Birch, are committed patrons of local creative art and artists, hosting the bi-annual Sculpture Exhibition and regular showings in their gallery spaces.
James Birch said: “Dominic Parczuk came to Doddington as artist in residence with a very strong recommendation from Lincoln Cathedral where he had a similar role. While we haven’t yet seen all of his work, we are very confident that his exhibition will be extremely well received. He has captured the spirit of Doddington in his masterful landscapes and interiors, in a way photography never can.”
Following Dominic’s exhibition will be a Ceramics Festival, ‘Summer of Ceramics’, a celebration of clay running from 27th July to 8th September. This exhibition will feature pieces of historic porcelain from the Hall’s collections which have also been captured in some of Dominic’s still life paintings. These paintings will be exhibited alongside contemporary ceramics from Lincolnshire, national and international makers.
You can see more of Dominic’s work at: www.dominicparczuk.com
Dominic’s solo exhibition of approximately 60 of his Doddington Hall paintings will be held in The Gallery in the Stable Yard daily from Saturday 15th June to Sunday 14th July, 10am to 4pm. Entry to the exhibition is free. Paintings are individually priced and can be reserved.
For more information on events at Doddington Hall visit: www.doddingtonhall.com