Backstage, painting by Philomena Harmsworth

The ‘Old Oven Stories’ exhibition at “Le Vieux Four” patisserie, in Beaminster, is about the twin themes of food and stories. The paintings are inspired by the stories Philomena heard in “Le Vieux Four” from both the customers and the owner, Lynette Fisher. The place began to assume a delightful intrigue which was capped by Lynette’s discovery of an old oven whilst restoring the fireplace, hence the name “Le Vieux Four”.

This painting is about the characters that frequent cafes and food places. A short story of Gabriel Garcia Marquez tells of someone who picks up snippets of people’s conversations and lives. It is an intense, condensed experience, which leaves you wondering about the characters. Philomena’s pictures are a similar experience. The people in the café weave their own stories.

For this exhibition, Philomena has chosen to use glowing, sweet colours, for the liveliness of the café. This is contrasted against the dark, base colours of the structures. These structures are the grounding things in people’s lives – the dark side that makes you laugh harder and love deeper. The colours show the range of people’s psychological states.

I simply must have this painting.

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