Story Pictures – Tales of the Silk Road

Local Artist’s Story Pictures at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

I went to see a great exhibition at the Millennium Gallery, Sheffield a couple of weeks ago . And it was called Nomadic Tales by Richard Bartle , including lots of story pictures .

Honesty , we were so delighted to be able to walk round with Richard himself . Because he told us the fascinating stories behind his huge paintings . As you can see , they were painted on canvas material , just like banners . I know that Richard took inspiration from the medieval illustrations of a 14th century artist and storyteller Siyah Kalem . Interestingly, the artist used the motifs of men and demons in his paintings . In this way , he could comment on the everyday life of the nomadic tribes .He concentrated mainly on those who lived on the Silk Road in Asia .

A banner , painted with two fierce  demons fighting  - one of Richard's story pictures

Living in Istanbul

Richard lives part of the year in Istanbul , Turkey. And he has put his own interpretation of the life and political turmoil of the area into his story pictures .

Its a really inspiring show – try and catch it if you are in the area . So , I hope you enjoyed my exhibition review !

To tell the truth , I do enjoy painting story pictures myself . And , funnily enough , I painted the story of how the secret of making silk was smuggled out of China . Actually, it was done by a Chinese princess . To explain , she hid the silkworms and cocoons in her huge headdress , according to the legend . ( See more Story Pictures here )

My Story Pictures

A Chinese princess in medieval dress showing us the silkworm she has smuggled out of the country . She's standing on the Silk Road . One of my story pictures
The Silk Princess – Acrylic on Canvas

This is a romantic version of history , of course . But I am also drawn to putting social comment into my pictures . In fact , I have painted a series particularly highlighting the problems of women in our modern world . Just like this one in the image below.

The Caged Bird

This one ‘ Caged Bird ‘ was painted for the exhibition ‘Vote 100 – a Century of Change ‘ for the Cooper Gallery ,Barnsley here .Now , the exhibition was last year and all about the suffragettes and their struggles to get the vote . Incidentally, I was lucky enough to sell this one to a lovely lady at the exhibition !

Women in Modern Society

A semi-abstract acrylic painting in soft , muted pinks and greens . A woman confined at home -  one of my story pictures .
Woman at the Window

As you can see , in this painting , I explored the idea of the restricted lives that some women lead . Subsequently , I followed this theme over quite a few paintings . And I sort of brought it to a conclusion with this last one below ‘ Women in Chaos ‘ . Here I show a woman trying to deal with all the pressures and problems modern life can throw at us .

Woman in Chaos

Perhaps this is pretty heavy stuff – I suppose it is . But I like all kinds of art . And that means including the kind that really makes you think and I particularly enjoy a story picture.

2 Replies to “Story Pictures – Tales of the Silk Road”

    1. Thanks so much .I’m like you – I enjoy the serious side of art .I always respond to that kind of challenge . Btw , the Woman in the Window was painted over an unsuccessful abstract experiment – she just appeared !

Let me know what you think !