Not every story has a happy ending and, sometimes, it is left up to the reader or viewer to guess how the plot unfolds. As in the case of a set of pastel paintings that are going on display in Valletta on Thursday.

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The running theme of Henry Falzon’s first solo exhibition, Morphing Isle, is the concept of the untold story − a narrative that is only partially told.

“The viewer must resolve the ending armed with his or her experiences in life,” Mr Falzon, an engineer by profession, says.

The artist has been doodling and drawing since his childhood but only took up painting seriously in the past 10 years. During this decade, he has produced countless works in oil, pastels and watercolours. 

Mr Falzon admits he has never attended an art institution and describes his paintings as an extension of his photography, a medium he calls his “teacher”. 

“I spent years shooting black and white film and developing prints in my darkroom,” he notes.

He, in fact, draws much of his inspiration from his archive of about 20 years’ worth of photos.

“The process is all about hunting down images. Once I have formulated ‘the image’, then executing in pastel is fairly rapid,” he notes. 

“What haunts me for hours on end is the subject image. More often, images come to me once I see certain views or subjects. I frequently trawl through my photo archive to see which images ‘speak’ to me and trigger the process to be painted,” he adds.

The viewer must resolve the ending armed with his or her experiences in life

Mr Falzon, who cites Egon Schiele and Edward Hopper among his favourite artists, is also inspired by the great outdoors. He spent four years painting en plein air with a local group of artists and thinks this experience was a real eye opener.

A particular tour of Ireland also left an indelible mark on him. There he worked on a series of landscapes and built a strong contact network. As a result, his Irish art features on tourist boards and county councils.

“It’s all an adventure and still unfolding in slow motion,” he says. 

Meanwhile, he hopes to find more time to dedicate to his art.

“As a freelance engineer, my workload is erratic and highly variable. My art soaks up any gaps left in my timetable. In the future, I would like to plan more ‘proper’ time to painting and writing. I have some good ideas cooking.”

Morphing Isle is opening at La Bottega Art Bistro, 201, Merchants Street, Valletta, on Thursday at 6pm. The exhibition runs until June 19.

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