The obituaries in 1992 for the Bradford born artist, Richard Eurich, were glowing. The local newspaper, the Telegraph & Argus, described him as, ‘A gentle, contented family man [who] socialised very little among his peers, preferring to maintain a few enriching artistic friendships via articulate letters.’
In his unpublished autobiography, As a Twig is Bent, although his subject range as an artist was broad, Eurich described his life-long affinity to the sea and the impact it had on his painting.
I always made drawings of ships, battleships and any incident that took my fancy but it was not until now that I took my paints and began battling with the elements in the effort to study the sea. By this I mean the structure of water; not just the sea as a blue background with landscape or harbours as the main feature. When out sailing I never tired of watching the formation of the water breaking against the sides of the boat, and the wake in particular with all its diverse currents interlaced with broken water, framing wonderful patterns expanding and contracting as the distribution of weight shifted endlessly.
I found that watching the water through a shape in the rigging of the boat intensified the forms of waves and enabled me to fix my attention on a certain area instead of dissipating the vision over a wide expanse in which the light and colour were dominant …It would seem that, rightly or wrongly, in those formative years I was not looking for ‘pictures’. I was just curious and most deeply moved by the elements and desired to discover something of their secrets and record them, however crudely.
Eurich was influenced by the work of the artist, Christopher Wood, who he first met in 1929. Eurich later wrote of his meetings with Wood:
When I looked at the enormous output of his short life … I realised how vital it is to paint what you love, regardless of fashion. That is no self indulgence. The struggle is as great, but as one becomes old, it is a struggle to simplify, not in an impressionistic way, but to find those tensions which can make an apparently empty canvas live.
You can read Richard Eurich’s profile at http://www.notjusthockney.info/eurich-richard/