As Head of Art at Repton School Jeremy Bournon had very little time for his own work, so when he retired a couple of years ago he couldn’t wait to jump straight in and take on a year-long role as painter in residence at his former workplace.
He was soon able to exhibit both at the school and in France, and is now about to stage an exhibition at Ingleby Gallery, near Melbourne, of new work featuring the Derbyshire landscape and in particular Alport Heights.
As we chat in his studio in the garden of his home in Willington it is obvious the former teacher still has a deep connection with Repton.
He talks about the school with a passion and has to correct himself when he says ‘we’ instead of ‘they’, remembering that he is no longer involved.
“I had an amazing job and was one of the most fortunate of all people to enjoy my work so much,” explained Jeremy.
“When you have dedicated so much of your time to one place there is a notion of ownership in your heart but I don’t like to look back and always like to move on.
“Now I am embarking on a new stage of my life. This is it. Who knows what ‘it’ is and where it’s going to take me but I am going to enjoy the journey,” he said with a flourish.
Journeys are a common thread in the artist’s work and his landscapes often feature the road ahead, a path, stream or hedgerow.
“I really love the road from Kedleston to Wirksworth and it has featured in a series of my paintings. I was hunting for my motif for the Ingleby exhibition when I was introduced by a friend to Alport and I knew straight away the view from the top was perfect. The landscape had everything I look for in composition.
“The intention I have is for people looking at my paintings to feel as though they are on a journey or a walk.”
Having been immersed in the world of art and helping others to appreciate it for most of his life he likes to get involved with projects outside the studio. He was recently part of the selection panel choosing artists for the Wirksworth Festival Art Trail and he is also part of a band called Boss & Co that will be performing at the festival.
“To be invited to be on the Wirksworth selection panel was a great privilege and it was a very interesting exercise to see what was going on and discover the work of some fresh new artists, as well as those more established in Derbyshire,” he said.
The band, consisting of Jeremy on bass guitar, singers Anthony Hall and Alex White, drummer Richard Fairbrother and pianist William Markham, play mainly covers, and the artist says their intention is to just have fun.
“There is precious little better than making music people want to dance to, and we intend to do that at the festival,” he said with a huge grin.
At Ingleby Gallery, Jeremy’s Derbyshire Landscapes will be joined by work from painter and illustrator Christian Birmingham and photographer William Bye. The exhibition runs from September 3-17.
For more information go to http://www.ingleby-gallery.co.uk