Friday, November 27, 2015

DPW Spotlight Interview: Toni Goffe

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings.

To enter to win Toni's painting, "The Duchess" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Toni's DPW Gallery Page:

Toni Goffe studied painting, illustration and (secretly) double bass at Southampton College of Art in Hampshire between 1952-1956, gaining a National Diploma in Design. On completing the course, he moved to London where he freelanced as an illustrator and studied painting with a number of private tutors. He supported this by playing double bass professionally in many notable London jazz bands. During this period, Toni started illustrating children's books on a freelance basis. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I have always drawn and painted since I was a child, an only one, as it happened. I spent a lot of time on my own amusing myself by drawing everything around me and then drawing everything I could think of.

My mother and father were always laughing at cartoons from the daily papers. This started to interest me and humour has always played a big part of my life.

I remember the first cartoon I was shown. It was of a very hairy dog; hair all over it's eyes with a pair of scissors in it's mouth and its paws up on the arm of a armchair where sat its master... no words.

It fascinated me that with a few lines you could get across an idea that would make people laugh. Thinking about it, that is what I have been trying to do for most of my life.

The Duchess
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Toni's interview.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

Yes, lots. I walked into the local art college in Southampton in Hampshire England with some drawings and they took me on. That was a longtime ago when passing an entrance exam hadn't been thought of yet.

There my interest in drawing was extended to include painting and illustrating. In the last term of my stay there I was taught by a cartoonist/illustrator who renewed my interest in cartooning for a living. It was being in the right place at the right time situation.

Cartooning was at its height. Every newspaper had a full page of cartoons; magazines, too. As the art college hadn't told us how to make a living painting, cartooning it was!

I had also bought a double bass with some money my mother was putting aside for 'my tools' when I became an engineer (my parents choice of career) and moved to London. I supported myself playing in jazz bands during 'the traditional jazz boom' (another 'being in the right place at the right time situation.')

Cartooning had come to an end and now jazz playing had taken over. This also came to an end some years later when a jazz club in Liverpool produced a group of strange, longhaired boys called The Beatles and our band and jazz disappeared into oblivion.

I still had illustrating to fall back on and that is what I did for the next ten years or so, mainly children's books. To cut a long story short, I moved to Boston, Mass. in the USA to run an art gallery for a great friend of mine, John Stobart, a renownd marine painter and then back to the UK to start a publishing company. I then started another art gallery, designing sculpture and finally getting back to painting full time.

Strangely, I am chairman of a group of painters called The Hampshire Artists Co-Operative in the same gallery we started in the 70's.

That's My Dad
(click to view)

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

When illustrating, I would use pen and ink and colour with either watercolour or inks and to cover up the mistakes, gouache. I then moved on to acrylic. When painting, I used the same technics starting with watercolour on a heavy watercolour paper, about 300 gms, then adding acrylics and finally, just acrylics. In the meantime, I played with oils but didn't like the smell or waiting for the paintings to dry.

Acrylics have improved a lot and now I'm using a cross between the two, half oil and half acrylic, but the waiting time is still annoying. I like to get on with the painting and with these daily paintings I like start and finish on the same day. I often paint with a brush in one hand and a hairdryer in the other.

Other mediums I have tried are pastels and watercolour. They work very well together.

Gouache I used for a long time. I liked the chalkiness of pastels and gouache together. I have been trying to get this 'look' with acrylic with some success.

Which ones have “stuck” and which ones have fallen away?

Since reading Carol's book on Daily Painting, I have cut down to just watercolour and acrylics and only painting at a smaller size (6 x 6 / 6 x 8 /11 x 7 inches is ideal for me at the moment.) When I read her book, I realised that I had had similar problems with art colleges and galleries as she had, so this daily painting is new to me and a perfect way to paint.

You Looking at Me?
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

Well, as I have just said, Carol Marine, certainly has made a big difference in my life and way of working. No more agonising over too large a painting and which gallery to try and get it in and coping with the length of time they would take to sell. Now I know that if a painting is not working out I can just throw it out of the window and pick up another board and carry on without fussing or missing a beat and worrying as I would with a large canvas.

I am always amazed at the artists out there and how good some of them are. I usually find something about their work that is inspirational. What else inspires me? Things around me, mostly cats, birds, animals in general, humorous situations. I still paint the occasional landscape or harbour scene. I like the sun hitting various surfaces and the colours that you find in shadows. Everything really.

What does procrastination look like to you?

It has never been a problem. After I wake up, I like to get into the studio as soon as I can and get started on what I've been thinking about all night. I probably have too many ideas. I wouldn't mind if they were all good! It's the separating the good from the bad that takes time.

I know that if I wake up one morning and I don't want to paint I'd think it was time to give
up... but I wouldn't.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

That's an easy one, my dear wife Jill. It wouldn't work without her. When we meet new people and I say what I do, they then ask,“What do you do, Jill?” and the answer to that question is “Everything!” I'm pretty useless at any DIY and Jill is asking me for power tools for birthdays now... should I be worried?

We work as a team... and it seems to work well.

Caring Mum
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I always have a sketch book with me where ever I go. I find that ideas come at the most inconvenient times and if I don't get something down on paper then and there I forget. I gets worse the older I am so it's essential! A must! Sitting in the evenings quietly with the sketch book and a pen poised for action is normal in our house, even when viewing T.V.

If I have say, a harbour in mind, I will scan it like a film; 'fly' around the harbour looking at the different views until I find one I think will work. I have painted a lot of aerial views of this sort.

How do you keep art 'fresh?' What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your
work vibrant and engaging?

Good question. There are always those days where nothing works. You know it's going to be a bad day and you think you can master it, work through it and come out the other side with a good painting. I think at the first sign of burnout one should leave the studio immediately and do something that is the opposite of painting and outside if possible like a run, a walk (with a camera), and get as far away from the studio as possible.

I found martial arts a good ploy. I did judo then moved on to aikido and now tai chi. It has to
be something physical. If I have a really bad burnout, I take a trip somewhere and don't take my
paints.

Jugged Puss
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

Another good question! I do find painting exciting and a never ending learning experience. I'm always trying to paint in a looser style. My years as an illustrator had made my work very tight so getting rid of that is a learning curve. I have been painting from life more which I was told years ago by my friend John Stobart is the quickest way to learn to paint... and he is right!

Carol says the same in her book. It is strange you get told something that could change your life and you don't get around to doing it, maybe for years. I guess there is too much information out there and it's hard to filter the right information for yourself.

What makes you happiest about your art?

Getting to the studio and closing the door, shutting out the outside world and then it's all up to me in my own world. I have all my 'things' about me to make paintings and with luck I'll know what I'm going to do. Sitting and sipping tea and thinking about what I'm about to paint and then doing it... ah blissful happiness.

Thanks, Toni!

© 2015 Sophie Marine

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