Thursday, January 20, 2011

West of England illustrator and painter Roger Backwell dies in Competa, Spain

When I first saw Roger Backwell in 2005 while just starting to dabble in acrylic painting, Roger was singing and almost skipping (If he were a horse, he would have been in the trott mode.) high on life, high on something and very happy, very alive.

Who is this strange man I asked? I later got to know him well and he became a good colleague.

Sadly at age 63, Roger died after a short but ravaging illness in Competa, Spain where he and wife Sue moved in 2001.

After many years building an international reputation as one of the UK's most respected advertising illustrators, he retired to paint in expressive, passionate colour Andalusian life and landscapes, but more vividly, he usually painted with humour, satirizing himself, the local arts and expat communiies, life in general.

He painted portraits of his local goat herder, Antonio, and with daring palettes painted a dish of paella to bullfighters and whimsical pictures of Don Quixote de la Mancha. 
His work as a cartoonist and storyboard artist armed him with talents to stand outside his body and laugh at himself and the world around him and yet appreciate deeply and spiritually his life, his family and his friends.

An active member of, a group of more than 25 artists in the Competa - Canillas area, Roger worked hard at helping other artists and supporting local charities with gifts of his works for auction. He exhibited widely in Andalusia.

Here are a few of his works. He and his immense talents will be dearly missed.

Rock on and practice peace and love.
Stefan, the ArtTraveler(TM). See ArtTraveler videos on YouTube. Also check in on the Via de la Plata walk - Day 10 - by Dutchmen Joost and Rob on their blog.

Roger Backwell circa 2008. Foto by S. van Drake

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