|In the classroom at Oyston Mill, with the essential colour wheel.|
It’s a great mystery to me that so many lovely people are interested in my art and life. I have a reluctance to share details which seem to me so mundane. Then I think of Ben Aronson. An amazing painter, I find myself regularly checking his facebook page to see if there is anything new.
So the following are five questions I would like to ask Ben, turned on myself!
Age, children, family
I will be 39 in 8 days time. There is a quote somewhere about how commonplace it is to see promising young artists, but “show me one at 40.” I do feel that this is a whole new challenging stage for me. Art takes energy, self examination and lots of time.
I have a fabulous American wife, Lindsey, who is an artist as well as an amazing Mom to Boston (2) and Jasper (3 months). When I paint at home, Boston sits next to me and fills pages of his big sketchbook with the most mysterious drawings ever.
|Brushes at the Mill studio|
Teachers, where you studied and main influences
Blackpool and Fylde College was my first experience of full immersion in Art. I still love the objective drawing style taught by Norman Travis. At Newcastle University, Alan Turnbull nurtured my desire towards representational painting in an environment where this was not greatly encouraged.
Meeting George Nick at the Vermont Studio Center in 2006 was a career changer. His work and influence opened up to me the powerful tradition of representation painting in the US. His suggestion led to me spending a year at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, where Scott Noel was a generous and most supportive teacher.
Rembrandt started it for me and remains so important for his technical skill coupled with human feeling. Degas is amazing for his restless experimentation. I feel much closer to him than to artists who seem to have an unchanging method.
|Current Cafe drawings|
What are you working on NOW?
It was a very difficult transition period, finishing the works for the London show and searching for a new project. I wrote, sketched, looked at artwork online and made a few copies of paintings by other artists.
One of my favourite things is to spend an afternoon drawing in Caffe Nero. I feel it’s a subject with a lot of mileage. It has human interest and the figures are lit by both exterior and interior light.
So that’s what I’m on with. It’s very slow, starting. Lots of drawing. Lots of erasing. But I’ve started a couple of small oil studies, so that makes me feel better.
|Cafe Drawings- ink and pencil|
|Works in progress, Home studio|
Who are your art friends and what do you talk about?
Most recently, I went to the opening of a MAFA exhibition with Michael Ashcroft, Ian Norris and Steve Smith. Prior to that, it was Indian night organized by Chris McLoughlin. We always say how isolated it is in the studio and how refreshing it is to get together and grumble about galleries or share opinions on artists.
I often bring questions to the table. Like “How do you know when a painting should be large, medium or small?”
Being with artists, it’s nice to be able to get openly excited about a subject, such as the light and space in a location, and not get blank looks.
|Sorting through paintings at the Mill studio|