Featured Artist — March 2022
Every artist has a preferred medium: mine is oil. I love the fact that as you apply the layers of paint, a kind of alchemy takes place and the surface of the work develops a special luminosity through the underlying colours and gives a special depth to the work. I think for most oil painters, it's the tactile, luscious quality of the medium which attracts the most.
I was a bit of a late starter. When I went back to my first love of painting and drawing after a career spent teaching languages, I studied life drawing for several years (quite a serious discipline!) before venturing on to landscape and still life. I still have a huge respect and love of portrait painting and do not do enough of it.
However, to any landscape painter, the possibility of working "en plein air" is the most compelling, disregarding the birds, the rain and the curiosity of passers-by! I have been fortunate enough to have painted abroad quite a lot, mainly in France, but also in Italy, Poland and Australia as well as in England. Capturing the changing moment and the atmosphere of the place is the most demanding and important aspect of "plein air" painting.
Lately, I have found myself trying to restrict the range of colours I use, particularly in still life but even in flower painting; in fact trying to limit myself to four main colours whatever I am painting. A kind of colour blocking in fact which is a great discipline.
Finally as painting is often quite a solitary exercise, particularly inside, I am often asked if I listen to anything while I work and the answer is yes. Usually I listen to light classical music or show tunes where I can sing along in a mindless fashion (I did say it was a solitary exercise!). Anything more demanding (like a good radio play) would be too distracting.