Thursday, July 17, 2008

Art background - About my Art

As the blog has been ongoing now for just short of a month, it is likely that any regular readers have seen a number of my paintings at this stage. If you are anyway curious about the thoughts I have about my work, read on, as I attempt to answer some questions that are often asked of artists.

What do you paint and why?
I choose to paint a subject based on being drawn to some aspect of it's composition. Sometimes I am creating from my imagination and then I can include or omit what I like. When painting from observation, the subject matter has to have some element of interest, either in the play of shadows, shape of components or effect of light. Everything has to look balanced to the eye. I like outdoor scenes but occasionally paint interiors. I want to paint appealing scenes of beauty that are fleeting or are often overlooked by the casual observer.

What is your favourite brush to use?
Has to be a filbert shape, medium size (1, 2 or 3 ) hog hair brush. You can get good detail and the brush is large enough to work with at a reasonable pace.

What is your favourite material?
I prefer to work in oils on canvas. I like the richness of oil colour and the way that the paint has body and texture.

What do you mean when you say a piece has turned out really well?
If the colours are working well together, even if they are not exactly those of the original reality then I feel I have succeeded in adding a further dimension to what the original was. If I can make people see something in the image which a photo cannot convey, either through use of colour or light, then I would consider the painting a success. If the painting is a warm scene I want to create an inviting place for the viewer. If it's a cold scene I still want to show the myriad of colour that can be present in such a scene.

What do you like best about what you do?
Similar to the last question, in that if I can make people see something in the image which a photo cannot convey, then I gain enjoyment from creating the piece. When my work is going well I am filled with inspiration to create new work. I'd like people to look at my paintings and say that I have insight into use of colour and light and really see the world for what it could be.

What patterns emerge in your work?
Sometimes the swirling movements of my handwriting are evident in my looser brushstrokes.

Is there a pattern in the way you select materials? In use of colour and light?
I choose colours based on my knowledge of how they relate to each other. I want to achieve colour balance and harmony as much as possible. I also prefer to keep a sense of light moving throughout the image, and so I avoid using dark colours excessively.

What do you do differently from the way you were taught?
I am a self taught artist - for the most part.

What is your favourite colour?
I like deep blues verging on purple, although I don't use purple so much in paintings.
Deep blue is very calming! It reminds me of swimming in clear blue water.

How do you know when a painting is complete?
I know a piece is complete when no element stands out brashly, and the whole image seems to keep your eye moving around it.

What artists have inspired you?
When I work in oils I am reminded of some of my favourite artists who have inspired me - Nicholas Verrall, ( a modern day oil painter and Gustave Klimt, who also worked in that medium. I also admire the work of fantasy artist Rodney Matthews, and Vincent van Gogh. There are numerous others I admire, but these are near the top of the list.

What direction is your current work taking?
In my current work, I am experimenting with the level of detail required to convey the image. I am trying to achieve a balance between painting in a realistic approach and allowing the viewer to see brushstrokes and paint effects.

Have you any ideas for future exhibitions?
For a future exhibition I would be interested in creating a collection of images based on my current working approach, and similar subject matter. I would include a selection of landscape, outdoor garden scenes, interiors, and still-life, all with predominantly bright colour, in a slightly loose style which still remains realistic.

The above is adapted from my artist statement and turned into a question format. To see it in my original artist statement go to my website, ArtVitae.

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