What, where and how I paint…
I prefer using either oil on canvas or else charcoal and chalk on coloured ground. I particularly like the response of stretched canvas or linen when applying the paint as there is a slight ‘give’ or resilience which makes it a joy to work on. Regarding choice of subject – I enjoy the discipline of working on commissions and hopefully interpreting a client’s brief so my work expresses not only the subject matter they require, but also something of both their emotional response to the subject as well as my own – the latter of course will inevitably be expressed as I work. For non-commissioned work I enjoy variety which keeps me interested and fresh when approaching a subject – which I may end up focusing on for a considerable time, dependent on the style, size and subject matter chosen. By choice I like to have a few pieces of work progressing at the same time but ideally at different stages of completion; that way they can often feed off each other – if one should be creating difficulties I can move on to another piece which may provide the inspiration for me to go back and resolve the one that I’d left for a bit.
Commissioned work is generally undertaken from photographs – which ideally I’d like to be able to take myself as it means I can familiarise myself with the subject – and it can definitely help in colour definition and obviously for composition, but it’s not essential and frequently isn’t practical.
I have also been offering art classes for beginners or improvers interested in developing their drawing skills and/or use of charcoal, watercolour or oil painting. Comments received have been along the lines of: ‘I would never have thought of trying to do that’ or ‘I really learnt something today, thank you’ from people attending. So – if you too would like to have a go but always found an excuse or think you can’t improve – set yourself your new goals and go for it!