Top of page Skip navigation Toggle menu

Latest news

 

Lockdown Diary - 56 Days

October 2020

Every morning during lockdown (24th March – 28th May ) I walked from my home in Tywardreath, Cornwall, carrying a tiny notebook and a stub of a pencil. I devised a different route each day, and made notes, drawings, observations and discoveries. Every afternoon I converted this information into a small painting. The resulting artwork consists of 56 studies of insects, leaves, landscapes, birds, sticks, stones, trees, shells, notes, quotes, souvenirs or whatever else caught my attention.

Following Sir David Attenborough’s compelling – and terrifying – programmes about species extinction I am raising money for conservation charities.  I have produced  ‘Lockdown Diary – 56 Days’ as a Giclee print.

All the profits will be given to the most effective charities. With The Foster Art and Wilderness Foundation’s help I have so far sold 180 copies, earning over £25,000 to distribute. Sir David and Professor Sir Ghillean Prance have recommended Rainforest Trust UK; WWF - World Wildlife Fund; and Cornwall Wildlife Trust to receive the money.

Print details

The edition size is 500, each signed and numbered.
It measures 138 cms x 75 cms / 54.5” x 29.5”
Printed in Cornwall on 315 GSM paper.
Click on the image above to see a larger version. 

Buying a Print In the UK

Prints are £345 including VAT plus £14 post and packing to addresses in the UK. Delivery within 2 – 3 weeks. Prints are available to purchase through Paypal using the link below. Note that you don't need a Paypal account to make a purchase.

Buy now: £359 inc P&P


Buying a Print In the USA

Prints are available from The Foster museum by clicking the button below.

Buy now from The Foster

Click the image below to view it fullscreen:


 

Upcoming exhibitions

September 2019

October 11 – February 9 2020

Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona

Works from Arid Lands, my fifth project (1996), will be included in The Western Sublime: Majestic Landscape Paintings of the American West.
 

November 16 2019- February 17 2020

The Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, Arizona

The museum has reunited the majority of the paintings from my twelfth project, Searching for a Bigger Subject (2008), and will present them to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Grand Canyon’s designation as a National Park.

The exhibition was created to “contrast the world’s two most powerful subjects – Mt Everest and the Grand Canyon”. It was shown in the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro; the Royal Watercolour Society, London; Gerald Peters Galleries in New York, Dallas and Santa Fe and Phoenix Art Museum.
 

Film

Award winning documentary film-maker, David Schendel, intends to make a full-length documentary about me and my work. “Tony Foster Journeys” production will start in June 2019. He has gained the support of the Redford Center (Robert Redford’s organisation) and is now fund-raising. If you would like to make a donation / investment towards the cost of making the film, your donation could be very tax efficient. For details go to: https://redfordcenter.org or contact schendelfilms@gmail.com

“Angels” who offer $5,000 will receive a specially created limited-edition print signed by me and David.

 

New Major Project

I have been working on my next major project “About Time – Watercolour Diaries from Hours to Aeons” and have completed ten paintings, but don’t envisage the exhibition ready to show for two or three years. I will be publishing the “prospectus” for this philosophical and thought-provoking show on my website: www.tony-foster.co.uk in the near future.


The Foster Art and Wilderness Foundation

None of the above would have been possible without The Foster Art and Wilderness Foundation. They have provided steadfast financial and professional support in pulling together this bumper year of frenetic Foster related activities.

In addition to lending paintings and helping to facilitate the exhibitions, they have grown into a significant public art venue last year welcoming over 6,500 visitors. The Foster presents Sacred Places and Exploring Beauty as well as an overview exhibition of all my journeys. Visitors come to see the art and attend lectures including My Journey with Tony, a series presented by travelling companions and advisors, or the Artist Explorer series presenting the work and perspective of other artists. Students and teachers come for exhibition tours and adults are welcomed to watercolour and journal making classes. The beautiful space also serves as a venue for the regional community, welcoming environmental groups for meetings and social gatherings.

I hope you will visit The Foster, 940 Commercial Street, Palo Alto CA 94303 USA . You are assured of a warm and friendly reception ! If you are not already on their mailing list, please join. The newsletters announce events at “The Foster” and the website provides links to video recordings of the lecture series. Visit their website: www.thefoster.org


 

Exploring Idaho’s Copper Basin—Tony Foster’s 17th Journey

June 2019

Presented at the Gail Severn Gallery in Ketchum, Idaho

14th June - 29th July 2019, as part of Tony Foster Watercolour Diaries: Great Basin and Copper Basin

During the summer of 2018, Tony returned to one of his favoured places to paint: Idaho’s Rocky Mountains. Invited to exhibit at Gail Severn Gallery in Ketchum, Idaho in 2019, Tony spent a few weeks wandering and painting in Idaho’s Copper Basin, a wilderness area that is part of the Salmon-Challis National Forest with spectacular views of the Pioneer Mountains.

This exhibition will include 12 new works, which are all for sale, as well as a number of paintings from earlier journeys to Death Valley. A major diptych included in the exhibition, A Walk Across Death Valley (1991), chronicles one of Foster’s most difficult hikes in what is the lowest point of the Great Basin. It will hang alongside a painting of the White Mountains in California, the highest point of the Great Basin.

Tony Foster Watercolour Diaries: Great Basin & Copper Basin is included in a larger project titled Mirage: Energy and Water in the Great Basin, organized by Sun Valley Center for the Arts.


 

Heraclitus III—A Mini Journey by Tony Foster

May 2019

Presented at the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut

30th May - 25th August 2019, as part of Tony Foster: Watercolour Diaries, Cornwall to Colorado

Heraclitus III has recently been acquired by the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut. A mini journey of Tony Foster’s art, this is a series of six paintings which comprise one artwork. It was executed in 2017 on Tony’s most recent painting expedition to the Grand Canyon.

The title of the Yale acquisition Heraclitus III was inspired by the famous philosopher’s statement that “no person ever steps in the same river twice.” Tony reflects that as a river is an ever-changing body so too are humans, and this series of paintings represent his third experience rafting down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

To showcase the acquisition and in honour of Tony’s long relationship with the Yale Center, he will be the subject of a small exhibition, Tony Foster: Watercolour Diaries, Cornwall to Colorado, presented at the Yale Center from May 30–August 25, 2019. Curated by Duncan Robinson, former director of the Yale Center for British Art and the Fitzwilliam Museum and Elisabeth Fairman, Chief Curator of Rare Books & Manuscripts at the Yale Center, the exhibition will include artworks from Tony’s first exhibition in the United States in 1985, which was at the Yale Center for British Art, as well as work painted in 2018 for an upcoming major project on Time.

June 8, 2019, 2 p.m. | From Death Valley to Everest: Making Art in Wild Places Tony Foster will discuss his many adventures over the years as an artist-explorer, explaining why he cares so deeply about the remaining uncultivated regions of our endangered planet. 


 

New year greetings from Tony Foster

January 2019

As I enter my 73rd year, it occurs to me that if I had any common sense, I should be taking it easy. Ann keeps telling me to, but the trouble is I still find inspiration and huge satisfaction in making my paintings, so I don’t think I will be hanging up my walking boots anytime soon!

With four different exhibitions of my work opening in America this year the prospects are very exciting. I want to tell everyone on my mailing list about them, in the hope that you will get the chance to see the work.


May 30 – August 29 2019

Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Conneticut

Recently acquired a set of six paintings, entitled Heraclitus III, executed in 2017 on my third trip down the Colorado through the Grand Canyon.

To showcase this acquisition the exhibition Tony Foster: Watercolour Diaries, Cornwall to Colorado, curated by Duncan Robinson, former director of the Yale Center for British Art and the Fitzwilliam Museum, and Elisabeth Fairman, Chief Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, will include artworks from my first exhibition at the Center (1985), as well as work painted in 2018 for my upcoming major project About Time.

The title of the Yale acquisition Heraclitus III was inspired by the philosopher’s statement “no person ever steps in the same river twice”. As a river is ever changing, so are we all. I have certainly changed from the sprightly fellow who first worked in the Canyon in 1989 !

June 8 – I will be “in conversation” with Duncan Robinson as part of the two week Festival of Arts and Ideasin New Haven.

I am deeply grateful to Duncan Robinson, Jane Woodward and the Foster Art and Wilderness Foundation for their help in making this acquisition by Yale possible.
 

June 14 – July 29 2019

Gail Severn Gallery, Ketchum, Idaho Tony Foster Watercolour Diaries: Great Basin & Copper Basin.

During the summer of 2018 I returned to one of my favourite places to paint - The Rocky Mountains. I spent a few weeks camping, wandering and painting in Idaho’s Copper Basin, a wilderness area with spectacular views of the Pioneer Mountains.

The exhibition will include 12 new works, all of which will be for sale.

As my contribution to the major project Mirage: Energy and Water in the Great Basin, organised by The Sun Valley Center for the Arts, my diptych, A Walk Across Death Valley, chronicling one of my most difficult hikes in 1991, and a painting of the White Mountains in California, the lowest and highest points respectively of the Great Basin, will be included in my show at Gail Severn Gallery.

July 5 – Gallery Walk

July 6 – Artist’s Talk – both open to the public at Gail Severn Gallery.
 

June 24 – July 1 2019

With a handful of Idaho-based companions, I will raft the Green River, Utah from the Gates of Ladore to Split Mountain. During the journey I will begin a series of paintings that reflect not only the river as it exists today but also reveal it as a repository of fifty million year-old fossils.
 

July 9 – July 17 2019

Buffalo Bill Center of the West / Whitney Western Art Museum, Cody, Wyoming

I will be Artist in Residence, working to complete the Green River paintings. During my tea breaks I will take time out to explain my approach and process to museum visitors. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is one of the country’s premier institutions presenting, preserving and researching art and artefacts of the American West. An exhibition of my earlier paintings will be on display, curated by Karen McWhorter, Scarlett Curator of Western American Art at the Whitney Museum.
 

October 11 – February 9 2020

Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona

Works from Arid Lands, my fifth project (1996), will be included in The Western Sublime: Majestic Landscape Paintings of the American West.
 

November 16 2019- February 17 2020

The Museum of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff, Arizona

The museum has reunited the majority of the paintings from my twelfth project, Searching for a Bigger Subject (2008), and will present them to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Grand Canyon’s designation as a National Park.

The exhibition was created to “contrast the world’s two most powerful subjects – Mt Everest and the Grand Canyon”. It was shown in the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro; the Royal Watercolour Society, London; Gerald Peters Galleries in New York, Dallas and Santa Fe and Phoenix Art Museum.
 

Film

Award winning documentary film-maker, David Schendel, intends to make a full-length documentary about me and my work. “Tony Foster Journeys” production will start in June 2019. He has gained the support of the Redford Center (Robert Redford’s organisation) and is now fund-raising. If you would like to make a donation / investment towards the cost of making the film, your donation could be very tax efficient. For details go to: https://redfordcenter.org or contact schendelfilms@gmail.com

“Angels” who offer $5,000 will receive a specially created limited-edition print signed by me and David.

 

New Major Project

I have been working on my next major project About Time – Watercolour Diaries from Hours to Aeons and have completed ten paintings, but don’t envisage the exhibition ready to show for two or three years. I will be publishing the “prospectus” for this philosophical and thought-provoking show on my website: www.tony-foster.co.uk in the near future.


The Foster Art and Wilderness Foundation

None of the above would have been possible without The Foster Art and Wilderness Foundation. They have provided steadfast financial and professional support in pulling together this bumper year of frenetic Foster related activities.

In addition to lending paintings and helping to facilitate the exhibitions, they have grown into a significant public art venue last year welcoming over 6,500 visitors. The Foster presents Sacred Places and Exploring Beauty as well as an overview exhibition of all my journeys. Visitors come to see the art and attend lectures including My Journey with Tony, a series presented by travelling companions and advisors, or the Artist Explorer series presenting the work and perspective of other artists. Students and teachers come for exhibition tours and adults are welcomed to watercolour and journal making classes. The beautiful space also serves as a venue for the regional community, welcoming environmental groups for meetings and social gatherings.

I hope you will visit The Foster, 940 Commercial Street, Palo Alto CA 94303 USA . You are assured of a warm and friendly reception ! If you are not already on their mailing list, please join. The newsletters announce events at “The Foster” and the website provides links to video recordings of the lecture series. Visit their website: www.thefoster.org

Good Luck for 2019! I hope our paths will cross.


 

Exploring Beauty - Watercolour Diaries from the Wild

February 2017

Exploring Beauty – Watercolour Diaries from the Wild will be previewing at The Foster Art and Wilderness Foundation, 940 Commercial Street, Palo Alto, CA, on 4/5th March 2017. All welcome. Open by appointment from March 6th 2017. 

For more information please visit thefoster.org


 

Exploring Beauty Watercolour Diaries from the Wild

August 2016

Exploring Beauty – Watercolour Diaries from the Wild is now showing at Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro until 12th November.

The exhibition will then open at The Foster Art and Wilderness Foundation, Palo Alto, California in early March 2017.


 

Exploring Beauty - Watercolour Diaries from the Wild

May 2016

My new Exhibition “Exploring Beauty – Watercolour Diaries from the Wild” opened at the Royal Watercolour Societies, London gallery on June 9th.


 

The Foster Art and Wilderness Foundation

January 2016

The most exciting development in my career was launched at the end of February 2016 - The Foster Art and Wilderness Foundation opened its doors.

Conceived by a long-term friend, collector and patron, the Foundation mission is: “to share artist explorer Tony Foster’s powerful exhibitions of watercolour journeys to inspire reflection, discussion, and education about art, wilderness and the natural world”.

The Foundation’s beautifully designed space at 940 Commercial St, Palo Alto, California opened with my complete exhibition "Sacred Places from the American Southwest", alongside groups of works from many of my earlier series and contextualising materials. 

Exhibitions can be viewed by appointment Monday through Friday. Please contact the Foundation for details at info@thefoster.org.

For more information please see the Foundation's website at thefoster.org .


 

New Major Project 2016

January 2016

Exploring Beauty - Watercolour Diaries From The Wild

by Tony Foster

Beauty: (n) The quality that gives pleasure to the sight or aesthetic pleasure generally; a particular grace or excellence; a fine specimen of its kind.

My new exhibition is entitled “Exploring Beauty - Watercolour Diaries From The Wild”. It opened with a solo show at the Royal Watercolour Society, London on June 8th 2016 before travelling to Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, UK and is now showing at the Foster Art and Wilderness Foundation, Palo Alto.

In it I hope to promote the idea that making art which is philosophically positive and beautiful about some of the world’s most extraordinary places is an acceptable practice for a Contemporary Artist. I want to provoke a discussion about the nature of beauty and our varied perception of it, and why making beautiful objects is not longer a part of the artist’s required skill-set.

In order to help identify the subjects for my paintings I asked Luminaries to nominate what they consider to be the most beautiful example in their field of expertise. I travelled to their nominated destinations, and made major works about their chosen subjects. . As befits the importance of the subject I have made the largest paintings I (or anybody else) have ever made on site – up to 7ft x 4ft.

I received varied and fascinating suggestions from:

  • Denali : Dr Winslow Briggs, Director Emeritus of the Carnegie Institute of Plant Biology , Stanford University.
  • The Grand Canyon : Dr Bill Brace (1926 - 2012) Chairman Emeritus of the Dept of Earth and Planetary Sciences, MIT.
  • Mulu, Borneo ; Robin Hanbury Tenison, Explorer.
  • Borneo Rainforest: Professor Sir Ghillean Prance, former Director Kew Botanical Garden.
  • The East Face of Everest looking down the Kama Valley : Stephen Vanables, climber.
  • Machapuchare: Annie & Bill Vanderbilt – writer and adventurers.
  • Maldives Sunsets : Ann Foster
  • New England Fall Colour : Peggy Brace, environmental campaigner / Massachusetts Democrat of the Year 2014.
  • Parinacota, Chile : Professor Steve Sparks, Chairman of the Geological Society and winner of the Vetlessen Prize 2015.
  • Atacama Desert Chile ; Professor Maria Teresa Ruiz, Professor of Astronomy, University of Chile.
  • Wistmans Wood, Dartmoor : John Halkes, former Chairman Friends of the Earth UK , gallery director and Parish priest.
  • Mont Blanc: Lionel Wibault, Senior Chamonix Guide and artist.
  • Icebergs in Greenland : Kari Herbert, early Northern Greenland resident – daughter of Sir Wally Herbert.
  • A View across the Wash from Norfolk : Sir Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureat.
  • Places I can walk to form my own back door : Tony Foster

As a contrast to places of global renown I also made a group of works about places I can walk to from my home in Cornwall, as evidence that beauty can be found on ones own doorstep.

This exhibition is necessarily my subjective personal response. Although beautiful, it is NOT an exhibition of sentimental clichés. I hope it will lead to debate and discussions about the nature of beauty in the 21st century, and its place in Contemporary Art.

Tony Foster

Cornwall

Spring 2016

Beauty is the most dangerous idea in art …. (it) has been worshipped as the highest artistic value and denigrated as a pagan temptation. (Jonathan Jones).


 

Showing with Leonardo

January 2015

I'm delighted and honoured that my major painting ' From Point Sublime Looking South South East - 6 Days Searching / 13 Days on Site '  is included in Phoenix Art Museum's marvellous exhibition 'Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Leicester and the Power of Observation'.

Their exhibition presents the original 72 manuscript pages of Leonardo's codex and puts them in the context of other artists who have been influenced by his curiosity, direct observation and thinking on paper.

Included in the exhibition are works by artists who share aspects of Leonardo's practices - Claude Monet, Gustave Courbet, Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Eadweard Muybridge, Harold Edgerton, Kiki Smith, Bill Viola and Tony Foster.

If you happen to be anywhere near Phoenix during the exhibition ( January 24 - April 12 2015 ) don't miss it !Phoenix Art Museum exhibition: 'Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Leicester and the Power of Observation'

January 24th - April 12th 2015

Phoenix Art Museum
1625 North Central Avenue,
Phoenix, AZ 85004
http://www.phxart.org

 


 

Exhibition and lecture in New York

February 2014

Two of Tony Foster's Everest paintings will be included in the exhibition "Time Frames Marking Time" at the West Beth Gallery, New York City, May 24th to June 15th 2014. He will deliver his lecture "Paining Everest" Weds 11th June in the evening.


 

Sacred Places Exhibition

May 2013

Sacred Places, Watercolour Diaries from the American Southwest opens at the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA) in Flagstaff and to the public on Sunday, June 16 through Sunday, October 13, 2013. Early viewing with the artist and exhibit curator will take place at MNA’s 7th Annual Gala on Saturday, June 15 and the Brunch and Curator’s Reception on Sunday, June 16.

A slideshow lecture by Tony Foster titled “Into the Wild―Painting Sacred Places” will take place on Sunday, June 16 at 2 p.m. The artist will talk about sacred places in this region and hiking into them. The lecture is open to the public and is included with Museum admission.

Museum Director Dr. Robert Breunig said, “Foster’s works of art are visual poems that give form to the feelings and thoughts that the beauty of the Colorado Plateau inspire. They clearly illustrate the geographical and geological diversity that marks a journey in any direction across the Plateau Province, as John Wesley Powell called it. Tony Foster’s paintings of sacred sites on the Colorado Plateau speak to the richness of the human experience here, the beauty and complexity of the natural world, and the ways in which humanity has given meaning to those places.”

For more information please see the museum's website.


 

Hot and Wet / Hot and Dry

April 2013

Painting Rainforests and Deserts

An Illustrated talk by Tony Foster

Royal Geographical Society Lecture

Thursday 16th April 2013 at The Town Hall, Boscawen St. Back Quay, Truro TR1 2LL

Admission free

Book optional meal afterwards with organiser Guy English Tel 01326 379029e

 


 

Hot and Wet / Hot and Dry

March 2013

Painting Rainforests and Deserts

An Illustrated talk by Tony Foster

Saturday, 9th March at 7.30pm at Tywardreath School.

Tickets £6 (£4 under 14s)

From Tywardreath Londis Stores, Martin Beck (01726 814193), or Tony Foster (01726 815300)

In aid of Tywardreath Church Clock Appeal and the Pico Bonito Fund


 

Lectures in Cornwall

December 2012

Fowey Royal Yacht Club

Wednesday 5th December 2012 at 8.00pm, Royal Fowey Yacht Club, Fowey

“Hot and Wet – Hot and Dry – Painting Rainforests and Deserts”.
In aid of Escuela y Clinica Tony Foster in Honduras. All welcome.

Royal Geographical Society

Thursday 16th April 2013 at 7.00pm in Truro Town Hall

“Hot and Wet – Hot and Dry – Painting Rainforests and Deserts”.
All welcome. Book with Guy English on telephone: 01326 379029


 

Phoenix Art Museum Exhibition

November 2012

Tony has completed two new paintings for the prestigious fundraising exhibition “West Select”. Neither painting has been shown before.

A major painting - “Seven Days by Havasu Creek – Navajo and Fifty Foot Falls · Looking West Southwest” records Tony’s time spent in one of the most beautiful places on earth. It is unique because the Havasupai Tribe rarely grant permission for professional painters, photographers or film makers to work in their territory.

The smaller painting – “Looking North from Between Yaki Point and Shoshone Point” was begun on site in 2008, but not finished until 2012.

The exhibition opens on Sunday 11th November 2012. 

Looking North from Between Yaki Point and Shoshone Point

Looking North from Between Yaki Point and Shoshone Point

26" x 19"

Seven Days by Havasu Creek – Navajo and Fifty Foot Falls · Looking West Southwest

Seven Days by Havasu Creek – Navajo and Fifty Foot Falls · Looking West Southwest

49" x 41" (framed size)


 

French TV programme

November 2012

French TV programme about Tony FosterEliocom, a French production company, invited Tony to paint in the Alps for a new 60 minute documentary “Artists d’en Haut”.

Tony chose a location with a dramatic view of Mont Blanc and spent a week working on site, the film crew following his every move.

They will travel to Cornwall to film the completion of the work in September. The film will be shown on French TV in November 2012.

The finished painting of Mount Blanc (36" x 53") is shown below.

Mount Blanc painting

 


 

New project: Beauty - the Last Taboo

October 2012

Tony has started planning his major new project “Beauty – the Last Taboo”. Read more in Tony's prospectus for this project:

 

Beauty – The Last Taboo

Watercolour Diaries from Wild Places

In 1983 I was in New York attempting to find a gallery to represent me. Ronald Feldman, a potent force in Contemporary Art, took some of my paintings home to consider for the weekend. At our subsequent meeting he told me “I’ve really enjoyed having these around, but I’ve decided that I can’t represent you – the work is just too beautiful”.

In Contemporary Art, where Artists are free to tackle any subject – violence, decay, conflict, pollution and death – I realised that beauty had become the last taboo.

In her essay “The Nature of Beauty in Contemporary Art” Suzi Gablik writes: “ The critic Hilton Kramer is in the forefront of those who believe that when art is actively engaged with the world, its aesthetic quality is necessarily compromised. I, on the other hand, consider that such art is often intensely aesthetic because it is responding compassionately to whatever it touches, it is helping to create a more beautiful world. Artists whose work helps to heal our soulless attitudes towards the physical world have my full respect and attention because, for me, beauty is an activity rather than an entity, a consciousness of, and reverence for, the beauty of the world”.

This is a fertile area for debate. One seldom sees an exhibition which engages with the subject of Beauty, yet there is a great thirst for work that is positive and life enhancing. I believe that beauty resonates with the viewer at a deep level and can carry as dynamic and philosophically relevant a message as art that attacks, shocks or disturbs. Perhaps now is the time to foreground the positive.

My work for the past 30 years has run counter to the mainstream. It is figurative, narrative, personal, philosophically committed, politically engaged, and often beautiful.

I work in the world’s wildernesses – mountains and canyons, rainforests and deserts, the Arctic and the tropics. I make large-scale works on site in some of the world’s most bleak and hostile environments. I have always found in them subjects of great beauty. I incorporate my findings into thematic exhibitions which are staged in museums and galleries in the UK and USA.

In this exhibition I intend to make a series of ambitious paintings. They will be some of the largest I (or anyone else) has ever produced on site – up to 8ft x 4ft. Some will be of subjects internationally accepted as beautiful – Machapuchari in the Nepal Himalaya (agreed by climbers to be the most beautiful mountain in the world); Iguazu Falls (Brazil / Argentina); Autumn Colours in New England; Mt Kailas (Tibet); Arctic Icebergs; Coral Reefs. I will also make a group of works from places I can walk to from my home in Cornwall – evidence that beauty can be found on ones own doorstep.

So far, so predictable, perhaps. But in order to challenge both myself and the viewer I also intend to create a group of works that will address subjects outside my “normal” spectrum. Places that would be considered ugly but where beauty can sometimes be found – Los Angeles at night painted from the hills above; the salt ponds in the Great Salt Lake, Utah; the vast Cornish clay pits.

To prevent this exhibition from being wholly subjective I also intend to invite four well known luminaries in their respective fields – a poet, musician, naturalist and philosopher – to nominate their most beautiful place in the world. I will undertake to work on their chosen site and attempt to see beauty through their eyes.

As with all my exhibitions, the paintings will not merely be renderings of scenery. They will be the result of long engagement, research, and living with my subject. They will incorporate symbolic objects, talismans, maps and notes: and will comment on the political, social and religious milieu in which they are made. Although beautiful, it will not be a group of nicely painted sentimental clichés.

The exhibition will be complete by Spring 2015. My aspiration is that it will open in Britain before showing in US museums and Gerald Peters Galleries in New York and Santa Fe.

Tony Foster
Cornwall September 2012


 

Exhibition purchased in its entirety

June 2012

Sacred Places: Watercolour Diaries from the American South West

The complete exhibition of 32 paintings was acquired by a private collector motivated by a desire to maintain it intact for donation to a Foundation or Museum (yet to be named).

Gerald Peters Gallery is currently working to establish a small tour for the whole show before it finds its permanent home.

See pictures of the installation at Gerald Peters Gallery below.


 

'Sacred Places' Exhibition opening

April 2012

Watercolour from 'Sacred Places' exhibitionTony Foster's new exhibition 'Sacred Places  - Watercolour Diaries from the American Southwest', the result of 30 months work, opens at Gerald Peters Gallery, 1011 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, New Mexico, NM87501 on Friday May 18th and will run until July 14th.

An informal talk and Gallery walk-round will take place at 3.30 pm on 18th May, followed by the Opening Party from 5 - 7pm.

The complete Sacred Places exhibition has been acquired by a private collector, motivated by a desire to maintain the exhibition intact for donation to a museum or foundation yet to be named.


 

Article by Ann Japenga 2011

February 2011

Former Los Angeles Times reporter Ann Japenga has posted an appreciative article about Tony's early work entitled Tony Foster: Icebergs and Ocotillo

Tony Foster: Icebergs and Ocotillo

By Ann Japenga

Anza Borrego

Tony Foster lives in Cornwall, England, surrounded by the sea, and breaks for tea every two hours when he’s out painting. Can this man truly be called a desert artist?

A Smoketree painter he is, for our purposes. Not only because he has painted Mt. San Jacinto from atop the Joshua Tree hills, but because he lives by the rules that governed the early desert painters:

  • Go on foot.
  • When you get there stay awhile.

When I first saw a book of Tony Foster’s enormous watercolors (Painting At the Edge of the World) at a gallery in Santa Fe I was stunned that I’d never heard of him. But many art followers have not. Here’s a fellow who has tramped the world’s great wildernesses for almost 30 years, keeping watercolor diaries along the way. He’s been too busy for a lot of self-promotion.

As I turned the oversized pages, I found intricate renderings of familiar landscapes including Anza Borrego, Death Valley and Joshua Tree. It was obvious Foster had lingered in each place. He was an instant hero of mine.

When I heard he would be returning to the Southwest for his latest project I wanted to know more and sent him an e-mail. Foster’s wife, Ann, replied from Cornwall, saying Tony was in New Mexico. Soon I was talking to the artist on his cell phone. He was wrapping up nine days of camping in El Malpais, where he had painted through downpours and a blizzard.

His southwest journey this spring will be a personal odyssey like all the others, in search of something he hasn’t completely defined yet.  He’ll be rafting the San Juan river in Utah, canoeing Lake Powell to paint Rainbow Bridge, then trekking to the Muley Point overlook to paint a large view of Monument Valley. If we’re lucky, something will draw him to the California desert.

1995 Arid Lands Exhibition

Foster has often been compared to the great expedition artists of the early West - men like Thomas Moran, who made some of the first paintings of Yellowstone, and Baldwin Mollhausen, who made watercolors of the California desert on a US Army expedition in 1858. “All art is about exploration,” Foster once wrote. “Cezanne was exploring apples when he made those great still-lives.”

Hiking as many as 12 or 14 miles a day, Foster carries two playing-card-sized watercolor paint boxes. Metal tubes hold the paper he uses to create his paintings, which are as  large as 6 feet. He keeps an expedition log and incorporates notes on weather, geology and moods in the paintings. His work is also annotated with feathers, pouches of volcano dust, packets of seeds and other found objects.

Tony Foster in the Grand Canyon, photo by Annis Englen

Foster has been everywhere grand—the Himalayas (There’s a documentary about his work there:  The Man who Painted Everest), the Maldives, the Andes, the Grand Canyon, Okefenokee swamp and the Greenland icebergs. In the manner of the great landscape painters of the early West, he’s always seeking to protect the places he paints.

He’s a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society, a distinction given to the world’s great explorers. He’s been dropped into volcanoes, and retraced the routes of Lewis and Clark. Yet he doesn’t have the mentality of an action adventure hero. “I never believe in conquering mountains,” he once said. “You might manage to scramble up one but it doesn’t mean you conquered it.”

The real struggle, of course, is always with himself. He is given to storms of doubt about his work. In his desert travels, the struggle sometimes involves seeing what there is worth painting. Like most people who didn’t start out in arid landscapes, he is undoubtedly used to more green and more drama.

There are added difficulties traveling in the desert. He must lug 8 lbs of water a day and watch his watercolors evaporate on the paper. Sometimes he tosses a shirt over a creosote bush to make enough shade to paint in.

Death Valley, courtesy of Tony Foster

Once the logistics are worked out, though, the artist’s task never varies: “I see nobody. I paint. I walk all alone.”

Foster’s recent Southwest watercolors will be displayed at Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe in June and July of 2012, in an exhibit called “Sacred Places: Watercolour Diaries from the American South West”.

 

Potshards, courtesy of Tony Foster

 


 

Lecture Series at Stanford University

February 2011

In September 2010 Tony was invited by Stanford University, California, to give a series of lectures to celebrate the dedication of a collection of his works being installed in Stanford's new Y2E2 faculty lounge.

This extraordinary sustainable building gathers under one roof ecologists and economists, biologists and legal scholars, earth scientists, engineers and policy analysts in order to create a breeding ground for new collaborations. It could not be a more appropriate setting for a group of Tony's artworks.

Download Tony Foster at Stanford PDF

 


 

Start of Sacred Places expedition

January 2010

Sacred Places - Watercolour Diaries from the American South West

American South West Ancient Pot Shards (in progress)

All societies need to express their reverence for extraordinary places.

Tribal societies express it through their religious practices and ceremonies. Our own, more secular society, expresses it by designating National and State Parks, National Forests and Monuments, thus rendering them sacrosanct. It could be argued that the Environmental Movement is the secular means by which we express our need to honour the Earth.

The American South West encompasses many places of extraordinary resonance and beauty. Many of these have been declared sacred by Native American Tribes, Christian or other Religious Communities. Others are protected by Federal and State Government law.

Cathedral Rock  (work in progress)

This exhibition will be my personal response to these lands. Through a series of journeys - sometimes on foot or raft, sometimes in a vehicle - I will explore what makes these places special. Oftentimes my focus will coincide with accepted definitions of sacred places but as an artist this will necessarily be a personal odyssey. My search for inspiration will always take priority over any rigid definition. At times I may find sacred places of my own.

Chaco Canyon 2010 (work in progress)

I have already spent eight weeks in the South West working on this project and anticipate returning for similar periods in the Autumn of 2010 and Spring of 2011. I will be working in Native American Reservations, Private and Public land holdings, and National and State Parks.

Monument Valley 2010 (work in progress)

I am aware of the carbon footprint involved in these journeys. In order to mitigate the effect of my airmiles I will donate the equivalent of the full cost of each flight (this is a considerably greater contribution than that proposed under the many "carbon offsetting" schemes) to Rainforest Concern - a UK charity involved in protecting and purchasing threatened areas of rainforest.

In order to help explain the history and meaning of the places where I will be working, a Curator will be appointed who will draw on Museum and Private Collections to loan works of art and craft which relate to the places I have chosen to work. We hope to exhibit pieces from prehistory to the present day. In this way I shall explore our common relationship to the earth, and the way we express reverence for particular places.

The Exhibition will show at the Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, in June/July 2012. It is hoped it will then tour to Museums and other Commercial Galleries.

 

Tony Foster
Cornwall
July 2010


 

Painting at the Edge of the World - the Watercolours of Tony Foster

January 2010

The book, Painting at the Edge of the World, has attracted considerable publicity, having been widely featured in magazines and newspapers world-wide.

Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal: “A comprehensive representation of his extraordinary oeuvre ... rich with entries from the artist’s travel diaries which are almost as vivid as Mr Foster’s spoken accounts of his adventures”.

Prof. John Haldane - The Art Book: “A very substantial and beautifully produced book... his is a trail well worth following”.

Alex Wade, The Times, London: “His willingness to endure discomfort in the creation of bold and dramatic watercolours has made him a highly collectable artist”.

Larry Cox, King Features Syndicate: “Foster’s new book is much like the sites he visited - breathtaking”.

Copies of Standard, Limited and Collectors Editions are available.


 

Book Launch in London 2008

July 2008

Painting at the Edge of the World, The Watercolours of Tony Foster

Bankside Gallery, sited on the Thames in London.

The launch of Tony Foster's book, Painting at the Edge of the World, The Watercolours of Tony Foster, was opened at The Royal Watercolour Society (RWS), Bankside Gallery, London, UK on 2 July 2008 by Professor Duncan Robinson, Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge.

The gallery is sited on the Thames just up-river of the Tate Modern and the Millennium Footbridge.

Bankside Gallery Chairman, John Thirlwell, spoke of the nearly two hundred years of the RWS and how it was set up as a break-away from the Royal Academy to support artists painting with water-based media on paper. He spoke of his pleasure in having the opportunity of having Tony Foster's work on display and introduced the guest speaker, Professor Duncan Robinson.

Professor Duncan Robinson opening the exhibition at the RWS Bankside Gallery, 2 July 2008

Professor Duncan Robinson spoke of Tony Foster's "unusual self-effacing approach to his work based on his intention is to promote the concept of the primacy of the subject rather than the personality of the painter, that he should faithfully record what he sees and experiences and not use artistic tricks to embellish or romanticise the work: that finding the best vantage point to paint from is worth spending much time and effort: that his task is to draw the viewer into something of what it was like to be there, sometimes for weeks: that these beautiful wildernesses are worthy of profound respect and that they should be valued and protected."

Guests at the Bankside Gallery

He talked of of Tony's ability to "motivate and mobilise travelling companions to help him meticulously plan and undertake arduous and sometimes risky journeys to remote and inaccessible painting sites: and then to work there painstakingly putting watercolour onto paper, sometimes in the most inhospitable of conditions"

To his works he adds natural and artificial objects picked up along the way along with diary notes that help the viewer in some measure to share his own experience and feel their own emotional response to the subject."

Tony Foster signing a catalogue

Tony Foster thanked Duncan Robinson, John Thirlwell and the dedicated team at the Bankside Gallery who had made such a success of hanging the pictures and promoting the exhibition.

The exhibition at Bankside Gallery in London ran until 20 July 2008 when it moved to the USA.

 

 

 

 


 

Book Launch in Truro

March 2008

Cover of Painting at the Edge of the World, The Watercolours of Tony FosterThe launch of Tony Foster's new book, Painting at the Edge of the World, The Watercolours of Tony Foster, was opened at The Royal Cornwall Museum (RCM), Truro, Cornwall, UK on 18 March 2008 by Tim Smit, Chief Executive of the Eden Project.

The exhibition launch attracted many guests from Cornwall and one couple who travelled from Peru.

Guests at the Royal Cornwall Museum

The proceedings were introduced by Hilary Bracegirdle, Director of Royal Cornwall Museum.

 

In opening the exhibition, Tim Smit spoke of how he felt his vision of the world for the Eden Project was closely aligned with Tony's: "Tony is trying to get people to rediscover their place on the planet by seeing, by really seeing, the awesomeness of the world we live in. By going into the wildernesses of the world to spend considerable time experiencing the places where he was painting, Tony is trying to redress the imbalance caused by "dominion", not romantically, but with clear sighted wonder. He is in the tradition of the great explorers of earlier centuries and a real star."

Tony Foster signed books of In reply, Tony said that he "felt that much of art today was not about art so much as the artist. I am trying to put the emphasis back on the subject matter. In the case of the book, I feel that many art books are a bit difficult to engage with and I hope that with my book I've broken the mould by providing sufficient variety with his paintings,diary excerpts,expedition photographs, and related essays by prominent art historians, scientists and fellow travellers, so that the book could be opened at random and immediately enjoyed."

 






 


 

Watermarks exhibition launch

March 2003

Opening of the Watermarks exhibition

The exhibition commenced with a private viewing at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery, Exeter, on the evening of Friday 28 March 2003. The exhibition was opened by Duncan Robinson, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.

He suggested that, "just as John Ruskin had been passionate about painting Venice, with the result that the public had been inspired to preserve the threatened architectural heritage of the nineteenth century, so in the twenty-first century Tony Foster was passionate about painting the threatened natural heritage in the hope that people would come to celebrate it and value it more."

Tony welcomed about 200 guests, many of whom had flown from distant lands to be there.

ButterfliesTony had found artefacts for a central tableau from the museum's collection. The tableau was dominated by a magnificent parrot and a display of iridescent butterflies.

In the exhibition catalogue Tony writes: "For twenty years I have drawn my inspiration from the sublime beauty of wilderness. My work is not simply concerned with describing the landscape, but is about travelling slowly, living in wild places, and about encounters with people, artefacts, flora and fauna"

After its appearance in the UK the exhibition toured the United States, showing in New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Jackson Hole.

 

Pictures of the exhibition

Watermarks exhibition

Watermarks exhibition and parrot tableau

Tony Foster in Watermarks exhibition

Watermarks exhibition

Watermarks exhibition

Watermarks exhibition