To enter to win Ken's painting, "Vision" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.
I was born in Sunderland, County Durham in 1952, educated in Reigate, Surrey, moved around the country and eventually settled to plan, with my wife Bev, to open a gallery and framing workshop in rural Nottinghamshire.
Although becoming one of the first in the UK to qualify as a Fine Art Trade Guild Commended Framer, my heart was in painting and, after thirteen years of framing and selling other artists work, we sold our business to concentrate on my own work.
After exhibiting and demonstrating for many years at Patchings Art Centre, I became a resident artist there in 2001/2, where I had my own studio, taught a few classes and generally enjoyed being involved with the place.
Giving demonstrations and workshops to art groups and societies was also a feature at this time. The aptly named Genesis Fine Arts was the first company to distribute my paintings nationwide. Solomon & Whitehead then published my work and used their extensive national gallery network to sell my originals.
I sell direct to the public these days. It's a lot easier!
My studio is in Brittany, France, where I live with my wife, Bev. (click to view gallery)
Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.
Like everyone else, it was in my youth way before responsibility robbed me of my time. The days were long and had to be filled with something. Art was one of those things, but I can't recall when or how it began. When I was ten, I sat before some school governors who were trying to determine if I was suitable to be admitted into their pretty exclusive boarding school in the south of England. They pulled out a painting of a ship that I had painted and forgotten about, and concluded I had sufficient talent. I was in! I soon became the darling of Miss Sinclair (my art teacher), who allowed me the exclusive use of oils, which was a great privilege. Everyone else had to use poster paint.
In truth, I only liked art at school because it was easier than maths. During one half term in the sixties, I was sitting at a table in the Coys house (a family I was staying with) and decided I wanted to paint something. They encouraged me, and so I began and, as I did so, was stung by a bee. A painful start to my first conscious desire to paint. In the late sixties, as I was about to leave school, I came across two old codgers sitting outside at their easels overlooking one of the lakes in the school grounds. It struck me that I would one day do the very same thing. Nothing was more certain. I never thought it would take so long, though.
(click to view)
Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Ken's interview.
Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?
Yes! All the time! Even now!! With fourteen grandkids, need to communicate often and a desire to travel and experience life in full, painting isn't always possible... but it is an important part of my life. I guess when I'm too old to travel (coming up quickly), I'll have more painting time. One thing is for sure... if my sight stays with me, I'll be painting to my last day if I'm able.
What mediums and genres have you experimented with?
I tried and loved watercolours but found them too unforgiving. Pastels seemed too messy for my liking. Acrylics at the time dried a different colour and weren't as vibrant and colour-fast as they are today. Oils afforded me the opportunity to scrape away mistakes or paint over, which was just up my street.
(click to view)
Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?
Oils for sure! If they are good enough for Monet, Munnings or Miro, they're good enough for me.
Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?
Has to be acrylics! Now that the quality is comparable to oils, I fancy a crack at them. I'm hoping they will allow me to really splash it around and produce some sensational intuitive paintings in an impressionist, abstract style, without time wasted for drying.
Who or what inspires you most?
I was originally drawn to the vibrant colour of Van Gogh; the technique and mood of Munnings and the subtle colour of Seago, but in truth there are too many to count and for many years I've gained inspiration by visiting galleries to see the modern masters... there are some fantastic artists out there who are still breathing, many of whom are not celebrated.
|Keith & Suzi's Little Rat|
(click to view)
What does procrastination look like for you?
It looks pretty good at the time as there is always something you would prefer to do and is perhaps more pressing. When I feel good, I think I can paint forever, but when I don't, I won't. The two hardest things for me are picking up a paintbrush and, when I do, putting it down again. I do, however, have a saying that helps me enormously... and I catch myself regularly quoting it out loud to myself... Do it! Do it right! Do it right now!
What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?
I have a dedicated painting area. It's essential to have my own space where everything is ready and waiting for me. Half the battle is won if you don't have to waste time preparing things. The only thing that stops me painting is me, and I think perhaps that's down to the fear of failure. It's a mental thing that every artist has to face and ultimately conquer as part of their progression. I know that once I start, I'm okay, so I ensure that all I have to do is pick up that brush.
(click to view)
How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?
I always carry a camera and use it to amass resource material. As I flick through the photos I choose something to paint based on how I feel at the time. I can't paint anything that I'm not in the mood for. So, in short, I don't think at all... I just look and make an instant decision. Then I squeeze the paint out and immediately get on with it.
How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?
Rotation of subject matter works for me. I generally lose motivation when I stick with one subject for longer than a week. This month (January) was quite a challenge to stay motivated as all the paintings were seascapes. I also force myself to move outside of my comfort zone from time to time, which helps. When you consider that after all the resource has been gathered and categorised and raw materials bought, and when all the paintings have been photographed, uploaded, sold, varnished, wrapped and dispatched, painting time is relatively short so I consider it as rest-time.. I'm ready for it. It's a time to sit down, relax and enjoy myself. Let's face it, if we aren't enjoying the experience, we won't be painting for much longer, will we?
|Siesta St Ives|
(click to view)
What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?
The need to keep things simple, perhaps... that atmosphere or mood is more important than detail and that it’s important, for me at least, to concentrate on colour, texture and intuitive touches. I’m learning to stand back and observe a lot more before applying paint, and when I do, apply it with confidence. Having said that, I have to say that this process isn’t instant... I’m a perpetual student.
What makes you happiest about your art?
When others show appreciation and say complimentary things about it... or better still, invest in it. I’m fortunate enough to have sold more of my art that Van Gogh ever did as a living artist and, as such, am a lot happier than he ever was. A quirky little fact that makes me smile.
© 2017 Sophie Marine