Exhibit: Whitby wizard conjures up artwork

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Lythe Village Hall is becoming a bit of a weekend pop up gallery. Artists are using the hall to showcase their work, This weekend its the turn of Dag Hagenaes-Kjelldahl who is hiring the hall to have his own exhibition this weekend (Sat 24 and Sun 25 Oct).

The former “Whitby Wizard”, Dag, from Norway, has worked hard for a long time to produce a collection of 50 new oil pictures.

His range is broad and features a wide array of themes from dogs to sharks to sailing ships to flowers.

He is equally inspired by his encounters with the Whitby seaside, the statues of Easter Island and the Northern Lights of frozen Bear Island in the Norwegian Arctic. His inspiration is broad and this varied subject matter is held together by his own style.

He describes his style as surprising, systematic and Norwegian. Over the past two years his output has been considerable.

Presenting so many finished artworks after just two years, he has nevertheless managed to spend a considerable amount of time with each individual project.

His method is to paint just a small fraction of the envisioned picture, before leaving it unfinished to rest for at least a week, before he catches up with it and adds perhaps five or ten fresh brushstrokes. Sometimes there is very little change to see, if any, before the canvas is again put away.

He actually allocates a lot of his time just studying his projects without touching them, contemplating the ongoing development and how to proceed.

On occasion if Dag feels that he hs proceeded too carelessly and not done justice to his subject it will be unceremoniously be burnt on the fireplace in the back garden. Occasionally his wife Linda has stepped in and rescued “failed” oil paintings from the flames.

Each picture can take up to half a year before it is finished, which can often mean a lot time and effort can go up in flames.

He never gives up before the picture expresses exactly what he has set out to accomplish. Usually this involves seven different pictures on the the go at the same time, making very few changes on each one before they are again put away to dry.

Then he puts in a small amount of work on the next one, and the next one. Having a rather erratic approach to finishing work doesn’t seem impact on his productivity.

Dag’s life reads like an offbeat but fascinating novel. He has many strings to his bow and has worked across a broad range of jobs.

This Whitby based foreigner has been to some other interesting places. In Florida he looked after the worlds largest crocodile in captivity while working on his pilot’s instrument rating at American Aviation Flying School at Tamiami Airport. In the Virgin Islands he started an air taxi and a flying school, and in the Norwegian Arctic he spent two years doing weather observations aloft with radiosondes. After a fatal polar bear attack, all the meteorologists were ordered to carry rifles when on duty.

Dag took his first course in oil painting when he was twelve, but his busy, sometimes chaotic life, did not allow for any serious painting before he married Linda from Sunderland and they settled in Whitby.

With the good help from the Whitby Art Society and recognized artists Freeman, Brindley, Hicks and Blackwell, Dag has been able to put brush to canvas and explore his fascinations with his hard-to pin-down emotional responses to specific, perhaps semi- subconscious impressions.

These shadowy memories often materialise themselves in his dramatic dreams, with hints of visual impressions sometimes waking him up in the middle of the night, which can often result in a nocturnal sketch to be remembered for a later canvas.

His colour palette is broad, bright and optimisic.

Dag Hagenaes-Kjelldahl’s paintings in Lythe Village Hall will be open on the first weekend of October Half Term from 10 to 4pm at Lythe Village Hall.

To let us know about your exhibions please email Helen.Leroux@jpress.co.uk