To see  examples of my paintings just Google ‘Colin Blundell at the Bear Steps Gallery’. This is in Andrew Howe’s Website where the paintings will appear under the heading ‘Phantom Cities’.

The first Magic City paintings I did date from around 1976; so I’ve been revisiting this City of the Mind on and off for 30 years. Why ‘City of the Mind’? Human habitations of all kinds can stand as a metaphor for the soul; the city can stand as a metaphor for that indefinable something that you feel deep inside you; it’s what possesses you, drives you onward, creates often seemingly quite irrational longings.

The shapes of this City of the Mind, this Soul-container, have remained more or less constant for 30 years, half a lifetime. There has to be some driving energy behind such a long-term obsession!

What is the shape of your soul?

I had contained the fond illusion that all cities were in reality magical – the very words that named them seemed so: Gloucester, Salisbury, Shrewsbury, London… But arriving at them by bicycle, I was always so disappointed to find that in order to get to the original hub of the city, its soul-place, cathedral close with a ring of long-settled fine houses around it, I had to pass through dingy suburbs, warehouses, scrapyards…

Perhaps this is like one’s own soul? What do you have to go through to get to it?

Anyway, influenced from youth by the drawings in Rupert Bear Annuals, I invented my own perfect city, set in an ideal landscape. In my Soul-city there are no cars, no lorries, no railway lines, no ring roads (nothing to demand a by-pass, nothing to go on the by-pass!), no business parks, no high-rise office-blocks, no out-of-town shopping centres; nothing of the Capitalist Blight that grows up around all modern cities. My Soul-city is a place where the human spirit is nurtured. The pace of life is very slow in the Magic City.

To paint the Magic City, I start by walking the streets at different times of day, taking deep breaths of the fresh air that comes from the hills and the sea. There are always arches and colonnades; there are various official viewpoints.


9 thoughts on “Paintings

  1. Interesting metaphor. As a city girl born, breed, and bewitched, I find every little nook to be facinating, rich, and magical. I am only saddened that the cathedrals are no longer the towering centers. They have been replaced by skyscrapers: financial centers, and what does that mean to us?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi,

    I’ve recently found in some still yet to be unpacked boxes & have found a paiting, on wood of some sort by Colin Blundell, quoting from Eliot’s ‘Wasteland’. It was created in May 1978. Is this you Mr Blundell? It’s a lovely piece.


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    1. It could well be! I taught ‘The Wasteland’ for many years in the 70’s & 80’s… I often paint on hardboard or thin ply.
      What does your painting look like? Who was the owner?
      I don’t often sell or donate a painting!


      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi again!

    It’s quite a dark painting in colour. From the looks of it I suspect there was an undercoat of random biscuit and blue colours and then overworked with black. You, or another Colin Blundell have then scratched into the top surface of black to reveal the colouring below. It definitely has a theme of buildings, rooftops, arches and a street lamp, very geometric. This will determine if you are the artist, the back of the painting shows the address 54, Bradgers Hill Road, Luton. I’m not entirely sure where and when we got it, but my Grandmother, Mary Crouch was also an artist and lived in Bedford. Her and my Godmother, Ann Harvey (also an artist) exhibited many times in Luton. Like I said I found it & was just totally intrigued by it. This recently unearthed piece now hangs in my own studio, I’m a set and costume designer.

    Many thanks for taking the time to reply to my initial message.



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    1. Zoe – That’s me! I lived in Bradgers Hill Road in the 1970’s. You’ll have one of my very early ‘Magic City’ paintings. I started them in 1977. I acquired a load of discarded paintings from the College where I worked done on hardboard. I cut the hardboard in half so your painting will be 9 inches by two feet roughly, I expect. Then I covered the board with blackboard paint (I think it was) and scratched the design into it to reveal colour at random from the original painting. I’ve been doing Magic City paintings ever since – they’ve evolved…
      I did exhibit briefly in Luton. The more substantial exhibition was the one in Shrewsbury. There are a few examples in Andrew Howe’s Website – it was a joint exhibition.
      There are other examples + watercolours here on WordPress!

      Well, fancy that!!


      Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks Colin,

    That’s quenched my curiosity thirst. Many thanks for taking the time to reply. Anyway it’s up in my studio now.

    All the best,


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