“I was delighted to have the company of Alan Cotton last year as my tour artist on a trip to Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji. A substantial part of this exhibition shows paintings recording his impressions of this journey. ….. His pictures provide a nostalgic record of the tour and I am so glad that this exhibition will give a wider audience a chance to enjoy them”
“When Alan invited me to his Devon studio to see his Everest paintings, I was truly ‘blown away’. All of a sudden I found myself back at basecamp, staring up at the mountain, which has captivated me, and many others, for so many years. Alan’s series of paintings offer a remarkable portrait of Everest, charting different times of day and reflecting dramatic changes in weather. These paintings capture the spirit of this magnificent mountain. I truly believe that these landscape paintings of Mount Everest, will go down in History.”
“Alan is, of course, infectious – his enthusiasm and conviction towards the Arts are now legendary. We have enjoyed a special relationship with him, his wife Tricia and all his family. Alan has invited me on painting trips to share and explore his vision as it progressed from the early work around his home in Colaton Raleigh to trips to Provence, Piemonte, Morocco and latterly, the West Coast of Ireland. Alan is a great draughtsman and although it is difficult to believe, behind the heavy impasto paintings, there is extensive, detailed draughtsmanship, exploring his chosen subject. Alan is also a great colourist, laying on layers of rich colour with his painting knives, a technique he has perfected and never varied from."
“Alan has developed a particular style of applying paint to canvas, by using a knife, or rather a series of five painting knives, of various shapes and sizes. In many studies of Hartland, you can most obviously see the technique at work, where the huge vertical slaps of rock are repeated and mimicked by great slabs of impasto, applied using the broad knife and in this way the work becomes more than just a representation of Hartland, it takes on the very life of the place. I am lucky enough to possess a few of Alan’s paintings. They have been hanging in pride of place on the walls of our Devon home, for many a long year now and they are a source of constant delight, more than the work of any other artist I have acquired. We think of them as friends we love to see every day and of whose company we never tire. These spaces filled in a most beautiful way. Alan Cotton, we are lucky to have you.”
“The Langhe region is bewitching. It attracts you, absorbs you, it hypnotises you. It's a question of space, of levels, of colours, of smells, of sounds and of friendships, of dreams and fantasies. Alan Cotton has experienced these sensations, these emotions. He has spread these sentiments on his canvas. His works of art are a canticle of our hills, they are the ecstasy of warm autumn colours diffused by the tenuous mists which embrace our small villages. It is extremely difficult to portray the hilly countryside of the Langhe, but through his use of light and shadow, and with his skill and deep understanding, Alan Cotton has succeeded in uniquely capturing the atmosphere of our landscape.”
“As we were driven round the hairpin bends in the High Atlas, I remarked to my wife, Gina ‘Alan and Tricia must come to Morocco. Alan has to paint this'. These paintings transport me back there, to the land of the French speaking Berbers. I believe this collection undoubtedly confirms Alan as one of Britain’ greatest living landscape artists. As a friend, I am so glad that he went painting in Morocco and honoured that he should ask me to write this foreword.”
"Alan Cotton has long been recognised as a landscape painter of national importance, but this description fails to consider his other talents. He is an educator, passionate about art, knowledgeable and delighted to share his knowledge, not because he needs or wants to be impressive, but because he cares about his medium. Alan Cotton, the communicator, needs to explain the moods his paintings evoke, he wants you to understand his process. His passion is infectious, not just when describing his own work, but when talking about the work of others.
The same care is given to his subjects. Alan does not just visit a place and paint, he tries to get under the skin of the locals, to cast a strangers eye, an artists eye, on the scenery – the light, the dark and the shade."
"Alan Cotton embodies many of the qualities that we would like to instil in our students. His integrity, energy, and capacity for hard work and startling innovation make him a great role model. We seek to offer our students a nurturing environment for enterprising minds. Our students like to be challenged and we like to support them to take risks and try new things so that they have every chance to achieve their full potential. Quintessentially, Alan Cotton has spent his life as an artist willing to seek out new environments and different challenges in order to be able to represent and translate them in his work. The result is paintings that capture the imagination and inspire creative minds."
"The physical, tactile quality of Alan Cotton's paint tempts the fingertips and leads the viewer along intriguing visual pathways. Miniature escarpments and waterfalls of thickly-laid paint catch and glossily scatter the light, creating a bright counterpoint to the orchestration of colour within the picture frame. Even at their most sombre, the paintings sparkle under the play of light over richly coloured sweeps and striations of violet, ochre and grey. The glitter on the lemon yellows and icy blues depicting sea or sky also penetrates into the deep purple crevices of rocks or stone. Blocky patches of subtly modulated paint stand beside thinly scraped areas, where different hues are dragged or scumbled over each other. Other areas again are rendered in dabs and points and lines of paint. The variety in the nature and apparent speed of the mark-making is very wide. As Alan Cotton often stresses, 'it's all about the marks'."
"I feel that the relationship between an artist and his subject must be similar to that of a musician and a composer. Meeting Alan Cotton was a life enhancing experience for me. His messianic drive, his enthusiasm and his love for his work, inspired me to look at paintings in a totally new light. All art is more profound and spiritually fulfilling, when the heart is fully engaged. There is little doubt in my mind, that Alan Cotton’s heart is well and truly engaged in the beauty of the Emerald Isle."
"Alan Cotton is one for whom his fondness for the push and pull of paint across his canvas, the actual process of painting itself, not forgetting his crush on colour, is as powerful an attraction as his fondness for his subject matter. Whatever part of the world he might happen to be in, as a landscape painter Alan Cotton is in a class of his own. While it is probably a blend of his talent and technique, although I feel sure it goes deeper than that and has a lot to do with his soul as well as his heart, it is the way in which he uses his knife to build his compositions, bit by bit, layer upon layer, as carefully and as cleverly as any sculptor might, that invests them with an indefinable dimension which sets them apart, promotes them to a plane inhabited by only by a chosen few."
"Once upon a time Alan said to me 'You must follow your heart in painting', and that's what he's ever done. The sun shines much on all his latest work, and this delights me; but I am still of the mind that the heat of the artist comes from within and it never ceases to burnish all that Alan does. "
"Alan Cotton is skilled in the art of communication. He is a landscape painter whose passions are for place and pigment and people. Throughout his life accidents and chance encounters have led to friendships and pictures. He moved to the West Country - and to Devon's glorious Otter Valley - to take his Masters' Degree at the University of Exeter. Soon he was discovering a world beyond, which had already inspired some of the greatest pictures and characters in the history of British landscape painting. Here Alan first made his individual mark and here he draws on the copious sketches from his travels, plus the powers of imagination and memory, to produce evocative oils."