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An Artist´s Life | Scottish Landscape Art - Scottish Landscape Paintings

Interesting Times: An Artist´s Life

Work in progressIt’s been an interesting day today, partly because of the weather and partly because of the work.

I realised this morning that it has been just over five months since I picked up the Jolomo award …and of course the financial reward that came with it.  But you know, it’s been strange because I’ve actually found it difficult spending some of the prize.

I’ve been working as an artist on a full or part time basis all my adult life …certainly since leaving art school back in the mid 1980’s …..and typically, almost all of that time, I’ve been near enough skint.

In Newcastle upon Tyne where I had my first studio after leaving Falmouth School of Art, I had so little cash that all my work was made out of the contents of skips.  I worked as a sculptor then and the local builders working on Grey St, used to leave out any half decent bits of wood for me.  My drawings were all done on the back of old vinyl wall paper (I still have some of these …and they’ll probably last longer than the normal bits of white cartridge).

Even when I was working full time (doing a ‘proper’ job as my father put it) I still had little or no cash to spend on expensive art materials ..the type of jobs I could get with an art degree being somewhat limited in west Wales in the early 1990’s.  For most of these years my sketch books were the cheapest of kiddies drawing pads ..soft grainy yellow absorbent paper ….wonderful stuff, although you just had not to mind the pictures of Tom and Jerry on the cover!

By the mid nineties I’d had to give up my job as my sight was so bad …and for the next few years I carried on using the cheapest of materials, a veritable recycler even in those days, painting boards from the skip, paint, often left over from decorating.

Acrylic paints and big brushes

And so ….suddenly I can go out and buy whatever materials I like.  Well that’s the theory anyway.  The thing is that I’ve been so used to making do with as little as possible that it seemed quite odd today when it dawned on my that I needn’t worry about using a lot of paint …I could just go order some more.  It’s great to be in this position but in a way I’m glad that I’ve learnt to make do in the past …you really don’t need the complete contents of the art shop to do your work …not if you really want to do it.  You can always find something to use.  That said, I’m off now to order some more pots of heavy bodied acrylic paint …fantastic sticky stuff packed full of pigment.  This I guess is what the award is all about …giving you the freedom to develop your work, risk more experimental work and above all, not worry about it! Relax…

From the studio door ...high tideOh yer, the weather.  It poured all day …and is still pouring.   From my studio door I could watch the high tide racing in and completely covering the saltings opposite.  It was a wonderful spectacle,.  An interesting place to work …in very interesting times.



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One Response to “Interesting Times: An Artist´s Life”

  1. IOTA says:

    Well hallo! so nice to see that there are still people who believe that beautifull things can be done even if one hasn’t got the greatest materials. We should do the best with what we have and now that you have more than before you can apriciate it.

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