The Guest Artist section is a place for artists to talk about their work, techniques and materials. I am sure that one artist explaining how they solved a problem will help other artists and I hope that a community evolves where artists will assist each other with their artistic dilemmas, share ideas and technical information as well as make connections and give each other friendly support.
To join the conversation please add your comment below. It will be great to have some interaction!
Here today to share his art with us is Peter Reeds, who paints in Chatham, UK. Thanks Peter!
JA: Please tell us a little about yourself.
PR: I am an established artist, living in Rochester with a studio in Chatham. I studied Fine art at the Medway College of Art, which is now the University for the Creative Arts, from 1964 to 1968. I began my professional life as a portrait painter but went on to gather life experience through further study and various other careers as I believe that in order to be artist you should live life holistically. I returned to painting a few years ago, with a broader and more experienced understanding of life, which I believe, has helped me grow as an artist.
JA: What materials and techniques did you use in making the art work you are showing here?
PR: Acrylic on canvas is my preferred medium and although I miss the smell of oils I like the versatility of acrylics. I can either attack the canvas with vigour, really working the paint or I can gently caress the canvas, exploring all the colours, tints and tones with my palette. Colour is extremely important in my work, I really enjoy using its magic to draw in the eye of the beholder creating illusions of depth, space, warmth and texture.
JA: What challenges (if any) did you face in making this work and can you give other artists any tips for solving similar problems?
PR: When producing the nudes the most obvious challenge is to capture or reflect the subtle nuances in skin, hair, lips and eye tones that differ from person to person as well as just in one person. As acrylics dry a lot quicker than oils you don’t have the same time as with oils so speed is most important which suits me perfectly as I have little patience and enjoy the excitement of seeing the painting appear quickly.
From the start I like to totally take over the whole of the canvas very quickly by drawing and filling the shapes with rough colours and tones. As I develop the painting I am continually correcting the drawing and building up the depth of paint. My training was, I am pleased to say, very traditional and over the years I have developed the confidence to break many of the rules that I learned as a student, things such as never using black and standardising texture over the whole painting.
JA: Please tell us something about the idea behind the work you are showing here.
PR: These paintings are from a series of nudes that I developed, striving to make the nude more interesting as a painting. There are many beautiful life paintings out there but I feel that many of them are just very high quality exam pieces. I decided that to help me add that something special that I was looking for I would use square canvases which I have never used before and I hoped that the challenge of fitting a nude into a square would help and it did. I had to search for views that would fit into a square and I am quite excited with the results.
JA: How does this work relate to your artistic practice, how you approach art over-all?
PR: I love people; without them we would not have much to paint as even landscapes don’t really exist without people to discover them. If I am doing portraits I like to get to know my subject – this is important if you want to capture who they really are, otherwise you are merely capturing an impression of them which may not be strictly true. I work mostly from photographs now as I discovered that long term posing produces unnatural strains. I take all my own photos, which is important as I need to have been to the places or spent time with the people and recorded that perfect moment that encompasses the essence of the subject.
I try not to think too much whilst painting; once I have the basis of the painting I like it to evolve more with feeling than intellect.
JA: Do you have any art advice you would like to share?
PR: Live and fully involve yourself in your surroundings, take every experience as a learning opportunity and use it to inform and shape the art that you do. Try not to stick to the same style or subject matter, explore different things that look difficult but interesting, if you relax and enjoy then your own signature style will come through and prevail. Paint for yourself primarily and try not to worry about perfection and as you will never complete a piece – know when to stop.
JA: What is your favourite art material?
Peter Reeds is a subject in this portrait of artists
project by Rikard Osterlund: There is a Storm Coming