Thursday, December 30, 2021

DPW Spotlight Interview: Bob Langford

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

From Bob's DPW Gallery Page:

This photo was taken almost eighty years ago. I look slightly older now but I still have the smile. Many years were spent training to be a Biologist and then working in the Environmental Sciences in many places around the world. I was unbelievably fortunate to have seen and experienced so much in one lifetime.  

Natural history has been in my blood since birth so it was bound to seep out in my art when I started painting about thirty years ago. It started with a sketch club and figure drawing and then progressed to formal training at the Victoria College of Art.

Many different styles have emerged over time. Having explored each of these for many years my work shifted to doing plein air works but my interests have always been in colour, texture and line. This has led me back to abstract art forms experimenting with these themes. Most of my present works are derived using cold wax techniques of additive and subtractive painting. Once again I am exploring the beauty of colour, texture and line.

I hope you enjoy my works.

You can view my many earlier works on my Flickr site.

Safe Harbor
(click to view)

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

What did you want to be growing up?

My earliest goal was to become an oceanographer after reading a book on deep ocean life. This led me into the field of Biology eventually specializing in comparative physiology and biochemistry. I used my education to do environmental studies in many parts of the world but mainly in British Columbia BC.

When did your artistic journey begin?

Both my parents took art classes and painted sporadically for many years. My sister also became an accomplished artist. This led me to an interest in drawing and eventually painting. Group activities were important for me to keep interested and producing so I joined a sketch club and then plein air groups. I have drawn and painted for over thirty years.

(click to view)

Did you have long periods without creative expression? How did you get back on the horse?

I have never slowed down or stopped painting. My interest is kept alive by frequently changing styles and techniques. When I lose interest in one technique I try another.

Which mediums and genres do you gravitate toward? Which ones don’t appeal?

I have worked in water colour, encaustic, acrylic, pastel and oil and now explore cold wax techniques. Anything I learn in one material is used in future explorations.

(click to view)

What was the process like of pinpointing your personal style or finding your voice?

I often look at my path as following a string with stops to tie a knot and then move on to the next spot. Everything is connected and remembered from every knot. I can see my earliest influences in all the works I do now in completely different materials and styles.

Name an artist (or artists), well-known or not, who you admire. Why?

My greatest influence must be the Group of Seven, a famous Canadian group. Their expressive colours and impressionistic style gives the vibrancy and excitement that I admire and try to emulate.

Crowded Life
(click to view)

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger, creative self — what would that be?

Two things have made me what I am. The first is perseverance and the second is inquisitiveness. I learned perseverance at the piano and in the swimming pool. I swam competitively for five years. The first year I didn’t even come third, the second year I came third, the third year I came in second a few times. By the fifth year, I came first in every race. The same thing happened at the piano bench. It took more than eight years for me to get to the point that I could play well and play any popular pieces I wanted to.

Inquisitiveness is my second great asset. I am addicted to finding out things. I am always exploring and learning and trying to do new things. It never stops.

Do you utilize any habits or tricks for winning the distraction and procrastination battle?

My other great asset is the absence of a cell phone in my life.

(click to view)

In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you push forward?

As to self doubt, that seems to me to be an asset. I am never over confident but always willing to search, explore and overcome obstacles. I heard recently that it is imperative to keep your mind on the goal and put the feelings behind you. 

What are some of your long and short term goals for yourself or your art?

I do not really have a long term goal other than to continue on the path that I am on and enjoy the journey.

(click to view)

What does success mean to you personally?

I have also accepted that success is not measured in sales or pats on the back, it is an internal feeling of happiness and contentment at the progress and success that comes with working at something for a long time. Defeat comes from stopping too soon not from lack of skill or fame.

What is one of your proudest moments in your creative life?

My proudest moments come when I am satisfied by my accomplishments. I always put a new piece of art in a frame and hang it in a special place with a good light on it. Sitting back and letting the feeling of accomplishment wash over me is all I need. That keeps me wanting to do another one. In that I never have enough.

Hope this helps someone starting or part way along the path. Pick up a long string and see where it takes you.

Craigflower Gardens
(click to view)

Thanks, Bob!

© 2021 Sophie Marine

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