Thursday, November 28, 2019

DPW Spotlight Interview: John Shave

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win John's painting "A Touch of Spring" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From John's DPW Gallery Page:

John Shave paints in a modern impressionistic style, capturing atmosphere and mood, evocative of a place or a moment in time, such as the pause before dusk or the still calm of morning. John is a member of The Wapping Group of Artists and The East Anglian Marine Artists. In 2013 John won The Society of All Artists Professional Seascape Artist of the Year award and the Caran'd Ache award at the Patchings Art Festival. In previous years John has won The Pro-Arte and The Royal Tallens Award at Patchings.He regularly exhibits at The Mall Galleries London, at The Royal Society of Portrait Painters, The Royal Society of Marine Painters, The Wapping Group and The Royal Society of British Artists. (click to read more)

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

I first started painting by joining an adult's education painting class. The tutor was very complementary about my work and very encouraging. Which is, of course, one of the main assets of a good tutor and one that I try to bring to my own classes.

When I first started painting I was also holding down a full time job so my painting time was limited to evenings and weekends but this didn’t hold me back for too long. I started selling work and as I did, I cut back my other job until after about five years or so I found myself pretty much painting full time. I loved the idea and loved the regular painting trips I was now going on.

A Touch of Spring
(click to view)

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

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

I haven’t had any stops to my painting career, it seem to be just one upward fun spiral.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I started with watercolour and went to several tutors over a few years until I found the world's ultimate best tutor. He was Leonid Vasin, a refugee from China during the Communist uprising. A beautiful painter and a beautiful person and a fabulous tutor. Not always an easy combination to find. And from there my painting skills improved immensely.

Rocky Coast
(click to view)

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

I have included other mediums in my work. From watercolour to pastel and acrylics and on eventually to oils. I now work mainly in oil. After some time one gains a freedom with the constant use and application of a medium and after this becomes a natural process you can think about things like feeling and emotion in your work and I think that is when the fun really starts.

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

Well that’s an easy question to answer. Everything. I am looking forward to exploring different subjects. At the moment I am running classes on heading towards abstraction, it’s sort of the way my painting is heading and the class seems to be having lots of fun exploring it with me. In the classes we talk about a wide range of subjects, from painting landscape, seascape, animals, farms and farm machinery to portrait and life and still life. We not only talk about composition and tonal contrast but also about areal perspective and colour harmony. And recently, with the abstract realism classes we are drifting into stronger or enhanced colour with an emphasis on complementaries.

Abstract Autumn
(click to view)

Who or what inspires you most?

I am inspired quite often by the people in my classes. Every now an again someone will produce something wonderful and completely different and I find that totally exciting. And to think that I might have had a part to do with it is why I am teaching.

Of course I have lists of other artists I admire, as everyone does and I have the greatest fun and satisfaction exploring how other artists have handled and resolved their own personal problems. And like everyone I use their techniques to enhance my own work in my own way. I also love playing with new colour combinations and looking at other artists' work is also a massive source of inspiration. A chap in my class the other day was trying to figure out a colour for a section of his painting. He is colour blind to red and green and used Sap green and Cerulean blue. Thinking the blue was a red. The combination in his painting was fabulous. I have yet to try this myself. But I most definitely will.

All About Colour
(click to view)

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

I don’t even think about it. The classes keep me on my toes, thinking of new subjects constantly. When I go out painting I am thinking of the beauty that surrounds me and away I go. Sometimes successfully and sometimes not so much. Just like everyone else.

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

Over several decades the things I have learnt come, to a great degree, from my experience dealing with the people in my classes. I follow them in their trials and tribulations and occasionally their joy in producing wonderful paintings. It’s exhilarating and reminds me constantly what my artistic life has been. I love teaching. I get the greatest pleasure when someone has that revelation moment when things pull together and start to work.

Norfolk Landscape
(click to view)

What makes you happiest about your art?

What makes me happiest about painting is when I produce something that moves my soul. Which, of course, is few and far between. Just as it should be. But we still strive to get better.

Thanks, John!

© 2019 Sophie Marine

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