Thursday, August 25, 2016

DPW Spotlight Interview: Graham Townsend

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

To enter to win Graham's painting, "Noon-Day Wheat Field" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Graham's DPW Gallery:

My name is Graham Townsend, I live in Belgium with my wife Stephanie and our beautiful daughters Jaynevieve and Evangeline. Painting is the hobby that I try to squeeze into the few gaps that real life leaves in my schedule!

A keen scribbler as a youth, I was introduced to acrylics by my late step-grandmother, and exhibited a few paintings before the distractions of my teens. A brief hiatus of about 25 years followed, where I hardly painted at all, until 2008, when I decided to try my hand with oils. Finding that I enjoyed them, I have been painting ever since, and doing my best to improve. (click to read more)

You can also see more of Graham's art at his personal website here.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I loved drawing when I was a child, but didn't really get into painting until my early teens.  I owe a very big debt to my late step-grandmother, Meg, who introduced me to acrylics.  I then painted a little throughout my teens, until other pursuits became more distracting!  I still have a couple of my acrylic paintings from those days.  In my early twenties, I joined the armed forces, which led to a brief hiatus of about 20 years (!) before I started to paint in earnest again.  That was when, in my early 40's, I first began to experiment with oil paints.

Noon-Day Wheat Field
(click to view)

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

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I've briefly tried out watercolours and gouache, and certainly plan to use watercolours some more in the future.  But I need to work up the courage first - oils are far more forgiving.  In terms of genre I'm a bit of a traditionalist I suppose - I've always been a figurative painter, although I never strive for true realism.

Flagstaff Sunrise
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I find that a lot of my inspiration comes from the world around me - sometimes even the most mundane object can hit me in the eye and just cries out to be painted.  And I'm inspired by a number of great contemporary artists:  David Pilgrim, William Wray, David Shevlino, Jeremy Mann, Ken Howard, Karl Terry, Marc Dalessio, Roy Connelly, Trevor Chamberlain - I could go on and on!  Of course, I also love the masters such as Bunkall, Rockwell, Wyeth, Freud, many of the Impressionists...  There are really too many to list.

What does procrastination look like for you?

Many paintings that I've started (maybe most of them!) don't seem to work, or to go in the direction that I'd imagined them taking.  With some I'll persevere, but often they get shelved.  Sometimes I will revisit an old piece and give it another try - this often entails almost the whole thing being painted over from scratch.  And sometimes these pictures just seem to click the second time around; my painting of HMS Ark Royal worked out this way.

Blue Shutters
(click to view)

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

I find making time to paint really difficult.  I know that many advocate painting every day as the only way to truly improve - and I have a nasty suspicion that they maybe right - but I just can't manage that.  I work full time and have a young family, and am very fortunate to have an understanding wife who offers me huge support; but even so finding those rare free moments when spare time coincides with a flash of inspiration...  Ah, if only!  I do find that getting out to paint plein air helps me to focus though, and the practice is always invaluable, even if the results tend to be somewhat variable.

Hell's Mouth, Cornwall
(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

The ideas can come from pretty much anywhere.  Some appear out of the blue, others take a long time to gradually take shape in my mind.  The desire to produce a particular image waxes and wanes too - sometimes I will finally start work on an idea I've been harbouring for a long time, only to find that it's lost its appeal.

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

How to keep fresh - I wish I had the answer!  I'm always trying to loosen up and become more 'painterly', but I haven't managed it yet.  Shall just have to keep trying!

Cafe Diane
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

That rare and lovely moment when a picture just seems to click, and almost paints itself.  Magical.

Thanks, Graham!

© 2016 Sophie Marine

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