I am one of the nine SHAF artists whose work will be on show at Harbour House for the Contemporary Passions exhibition.
- Teresa Barlow
- Nick Cotter
- Jane Davarian
- Crystel Dauth
- Brett Hornby
- Cherry Lyons
- Jane Mahood
- Elaine Sibley
- myself, Stephen Thomas
What’s my process?
I like to sketch and, indeed, this year, the formation of the SOS (Salcombe Outdoors Sketchers) group by members of the Salcombe Art Club has encouraged me to do more than I usually would. To date, we have visited several local beauty spots: Kingsbridge creek, Dartmouth (although it rained most of the day and we had to retreat to the pub), Torcross and Beesands, and Shipley Bridge up on the moors. As a result of these days out, I’ve produced great source material for the winter time when I spend less time in the garden and more time in my studio.
Most of my source material, though, is by way of photographs. I take thousands. Only this past weekend, the changing colours on Snapes as the sun sunk below the horizon were breathtaking – and captured for consideration at a later date.
I have a relatively expensive camera – a Nikon 7000 – with a zoom lens, but my smaller and more portable underwater camera, a Canon D10, is always to hand wherever we are. Even the iPad takes good enough photos.
Deciding what to paint
I’m always spoilt for choice. I have so much source material to hand: my sketch books and all my photographs. However, having already painted about 150 local scenes, I am keen to find new angles and new places of interest.
So, the question is more likely: what image will provide a fresh view of a place? Or, can I paint a new place altogether?
On top of this, I might be thinking about next year’s exhibitions. A group of SHAF artists, myself included, have just had our application for Contemporary Passions 2020 accepted. So, I need to be thinking how I can meet the brief we’ve agreed with the team at Harbour House.
Last, but not least, most of my paintings are destined to become fine art greetings cards, so I’m also aware of what ‘the market’ might want as a reminder of their visit to Devon.
Deciding which medium to use
I paint in oils, acrylics and watercolour.
Which one to use depends on my interpretation of the light and contrasting colours. If I choose acrylic, the colours will darken as they dry. With watercolours, as the painting dries, the colours fade somewhat. As for oil, colours are reasonably predictable but the medium can take forever to dry, so this is not a good option if I am up against deadlines!
I have been known to tackle an image three times, once in each of the media. Just for the fun of it, and to stretch myself …
When do I paint?
I paint most days of the year. Having had a long career in the city, my dream in retirement was to live in Salcombe and paint. I am living that dream, and painting is always one of my contemporary passions.
When the sun is shining, jobs in the garden do tempt me away. We are also a popular destination for visitors and my time is spent entertaining them.
However, particularly in the winter, the majority of my day is spent in the studio. If you’d like to see me at work, contact me to arrange a time to visit.