Turner: 'The Evening Star'

As part of The National Gallery's 'Artist's Eye' series, I have been asked to talk about my connection to 'The Evening Star'

'Much of my work, like Turner’s, is inspired by my travels. It is also rooted in places much closer to home, often by the water, for which Turner felt a powerful affinity and which he returned to throughout his long life. The Evening Star is grounded in just such memories, and I have been drawn to it by my own parallel experience of working for extended periods since 2000 beneath the open skies and tidal margins of the Essex coast: a landscape suffused with the same light & mood as the places (Margate & Ramsgate in particular) he grew to know so well on the Kentish coast.

Just as he was drawn back to these places, so I am drawn back to Turner, in particular to his later watercolours and ‘unfinished’ paintings, where the myths and narratives that animated his more monumental canvases are replaced by luminous fields of paint that are more powerful and arresting for being less explicit and detailed. I first encountered these paintings as a boy and what I took from them then remains central to the dialogue that, in common with most painters, I continue to have with the past.'

Luke Elwes: Turner's 'The Evening Star'.National Gallery, Friday 10 June, 6.30–7.15pm. Room 34, admission free.