Two major North Wales artists with international reputations, both seeped in the landscape and people of the region where they live, are exhibiting at the Royal Cambrian Academy in Conwy from June 1 to July 6.
Harry Robertson may never have become an artist but for a prank played by a schoolboy in Manchester. Harry, aged 11, orphaned and living with foster parents, was offered a place at Manchester High School of Art because another student there had accepted a bet to climb over the school wall into the building next door – Strangeways Prison - and had been expelled. By an extraordinary co-incidence Harry confirmed this story 30 years later when he met the young offender playing tennis in north London.
John Baum started his working life helping at his father’s filling station near Pwllheli. But already one of his paintings was hanging on the wall outside his headmaster’s office at the local grammar school (now Ysgol Glan y Mor) inspired by a chapter from John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. “I would love to know what happened to that picture,” John said this week. His fascination with the novel has remained with him and on a recent trip to California he was commissioned to paint for a family in Steinbeck country.