Background

Nick-Andrew-Oct-2015Nick studied art and graphic design in Oxford, London and Cheltenham. Since graduating in 1979, he has been working as a painter and lecturer. He has exhibited his work in galleries throughout the UK, mainland Europe, and the USA.

Nick’s home and studio is in part of a watermill on the upper reaches of the River Wylye in South Wiltshire.

Over the past decade he has worked on commissions for St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London; P&O; BHHI Hospital, London; Royal London Hospital; Broadgate Estates; Barnet Hospital; Prudential Assurance; Salisbury Hospital; HQ Properties; St. Georges Hospital, Tooting; Tatchbury Mount Hospital, Southampton.

Nick has paintings in a range of public and private collections including Scottish Equitable, Shell UK, Lloyd’s Bank, Weetabix, North Sea Ferries, Cable and Wireless, Hilton International, Texaco, Hampshire County Council, Houses of Parliament, Longleat Estate, Sainsburys plc, Prudential Assurance.

Nick was the founder and, until 2013, the co- ordinator for the Wylye Valley Art Trail, the largest visual arts event in Wiltshire, involving over 280 artists and craftspeople. 

Nick describes his work as follows :

“I’m drawn to quiet and secluded places within my immediate landscape and have spent much of the past 2 decades working from this beautiful area, with river, ponds, water-meadows and woodland close to where I live and work on the banks of the River Wylye, South Wiltshire

I observe the changes from day to day and season to season. I find it constantly compelling and am attracted in particular by the abstract qualities in the landscape: patterns in the river flow, multi- layering and reflectivity; also the textures, contrasts and depths in the forest and the movement, rhythms and colours of field grasses and plant life. I would like to think that I convey through my paintings a sense of the movement, life and my own ‘solitary involvement’ with this landscape.”

From an Interview :

What skills or beliefs do you think a person should have when first becoming an artist?

“A curiosity about the world, an almost obsessive need to make ideas visible and an intuitive sense of when things are right visually.”

When did you first believe that becoming an artist was the right career choice for you?

“I had known since childhood that I wanted to design. This began with an ambition to become an architect, changed to graphic design, which I studied. I then went on to study fine art when I realised that my main passion was drawing.”

Who are your favourite artists and why?

“I find something inspiring in almost every exhibition I visit, of both past and contemporary artists. My favourite artists are mostly British landscape painters including: Samuel Palmer for his vision and mastery of materials; William Gilllies for his innovative use of colour themes; Graham Sutherland for his emotional response to nature and Ivon Hitchins for his wonderful gestural brushwork.  But my tutor at art college, Len McComb RA and how he breathes life into the subject through drawing, has been the most influential on my work as an artist.”

Is there anything in particular that influences or inspires you when creating art?

“I love the natural world, particularly transitory aspects of light and colour and movement. More than this though, is my joy of the physical nature of painting, making marks and seeing colours interacting.”

How would you describe your style?

“Gestural, pastoral, colourist.”

When creating your art, do you stick to purely painting or do you use an array of different materials?

“I mostly use acrylic- I’ve used it since college so tend to be fairly intuitive with how I paint with it. Occasionally I use oil. Only in my sketchbook do I use a wider range of materials: watercolour, oil pastel, pencil, gouache and ink.”

Do you draw from life, use pictures or create the images purely from imagination?

“A bit of all of these. I like to get out into the landscape with a sketchbook, because I think it’s only when you’re out there drawing that you truly absorb everything around you.  But because most of my paintings are dealing with momentary things and because the painting process I follow takes quite a long time, then I take and use a lot of photos. However, the final character of each painting depends quite a lot on interesting and unexpected things that happen with the paint and how I might develop them using memory and imagination.

What is the most difficult part of producing work?

“I like to allow an intuitive response to my subject to prevail, the most difficult thing is stopping myself being too cerebral and self- conscious about the process.”

Of all of your paintings, which is your favourite and why?

“Always the piece I’m currently working on, because for me the activity of painting itself gives me far more pleasure than looking at pictures! When it’s finished I can appreciate any qualities it may have, but by this time my interest has already moved on to the next piece being worked on in the studio.”

How do you see your work developing in the future?

” I aim to continue exploring, experimenting and developing my approach to natural themes.”