I get asked all sorts of things, and thought I would share some of them with you:
Q: Which artists inspire you most and have influenced your work?
A: I don’t really like answering this! The reason is because when an emerging artist mentions famous names they get compared to those and unless their work is really good and the similarity can actually be visible, it gets doomed from the onset. Also, the focus is put on the famous artist, not you. But my answer is this – I love and admire many artists across the board, but especially Diego Velázquez, the Impressionists, the Pre-Raphelite Brotherhood, the Renaissance artists, Salvador Dali and John Singer Sargent to mention a few. I guess they all influence in some way, in as much as I aspire to paint as well as any of them did, but that being said, I am building on these influences to create my own style.
Q: Where did you learn to draw?
A: I started to draw as soon as I could hold a crayon! I did learn the proper techniques of drawing at Art School though, when I studied Graphic Design. I particularly liked the Life Drawing classes and it was perhaps there that my love of drawing and painting people began. In realism work, drawing is an essential part of it, even if it’s quirky and in your own style, but it’s good to learn the basics of drawing perspective and proportion. My advise is that you should try to draw with the eye of a sculptor – by this I mean that you should perceive and lay down the main masses and planes of your subjects, before filling in any details.
Q: Can I join one of your workshops even if I’m a beginner?
A: Absolutely! I am only too happy to teach you what I know and help inspire you to discover the passion of painting and the joy it brings! If you feel uncomfortable about joining a group of more advanced painters, you are welcome to schedule a private class.
Q: Do you only paint in oils?
A: Mainly, but I also paint in acrylics and pastels and sometimes do mixed/multi-media work too.
Q: Do you use a painting medium in your work?
A: Sometimes, it depends on the nature of the work. I use a medium in paintings using the “Alla Prima” technique, or when I want to create a translucent glazes. Sometimes, I use another sort of medium if I want the painting to dry faster. At other times, I simply paint with Artists Turpentine, which thins the paint down – I use this for paintings with many layers. I never use a medium if I am painting with a palette knife or any other Impasto technique.
Q: How many layers do you paint in any given work?
A: This also depends on technique, but usually around 7 in a traditional style oil painting. On the Alla Prima Technique I usually only paint one layer (on a toned background).
Q: Do you paint every day?
A: Yes! Every chance I get! I have to tear myself away to work on the computer, but as a self-employed artist, it has to run like a business, and therefore I understand that it’s supposed to be 80% of your time spent on marketing and only 20% on actually painting. Very tough for me!
Q: Have you any tips on succeding with the “Alla Prima” tecnique?
A: Yes! Start with your biggest brush and finish with your smallest, working wet into wet. Never skimp on paint! I know oil paint is expensive, but load your brush with copious amounts of colour! Secondly, I like the Singer Sargent approach, of starting with the mid tones and working towards the darks, and once they are right, I can add in the darkest dark tones and the lightest light highlights.
Because the main aspect of this technique is the brushstrokes, make every one count by beingconfident – use thoughtfully planned and bold strokes. If you make a mistake you can gently scrape it off with a palette knife and do it over. Don’t overwork a piece. leave it fresh and vibrant. Hope this helps?
Q: How long does it take you to complete a painting?
A: I get asked this question a lot! It depends on the size and nature of the work. In a portrait, for example, where there is meticulous attention to detail and as many as 7 layers of oil to build up the painting and flesh tones, it can take between 5 and 14 days. Longer if there are more faces. Other paintings can take 3 to 5 days and some smaller and rendered in the Alla Prima style can be done in one sitting in a day.
Q: Do you take your own photos of your work or do you hire a professional photographer?
A: I wish I could hire a professional photographer – and hopefully one day I will! Unfortunately, at present I photograph my work on my own digital camera.
Q: Is your son also able to paint?
A: My son is incredibly creative, but he is more passionate about sport than art. I always admired his creative works in school, but I think he prefers to be on the move than stuck in one space working on the same thing for days. Maybe he’ll rediscover this as a hobby when he’s older.