Reflections from the Artist | Cheryl Culver PPPS RBA

Culver-Cheryl-Pebble-Beach.jpg

The colours do not fade, works stay vibrant forever. Pastel is not a Second Class medium. We can trace the use of chalk back to the Cave Paintings.

Cheryl Culver PPPS RBA on the brands that make up her palette and why dry medium's longevity makes it the perfect medium for buyers. 


You and the Society

What does The Pastel Society mean to you?

I have been a Member since 2004 and in that time I have been Secretary, President and now Website Manager. It has been a huge part of my life.

Why should artists want to exhibit with the Society?

The Society is open to all creative approaches in Dry Medium. It has a modern attitude and is not what people expect from the name Pastel Society.

Why should people want to buy art from The Pastel Society?

Dry medium especially pastel has longevity in excess of most other mediums. The colours do not fade, works stay vibrant forever. Pastel is NOT a Second Class medium. We can trace the use of chalk back to the Cave Paintings.

Past or present, which artist from The Pastel Society do you most admire?

Halla Shafey

What is your favourite work in this year’s exhibition?

Standing Water on the Moor by Katrina Wallis-King.

Katrina Wallis-King Standing Water on the Moor £765

Buy Now


Your Materials

What brands make up your palette?

I use Unison & Schmincke mainly with a few Rembrandt and Faber Castell.

Do you frame your own work?

I frame my own work. Supplies come from Wessex Pictures at Ashford and Larson Juhl. I use UltraVue UV70 Anti Reflective Glass 48” x 36” and cut it myself.

What is your favourite art supplies store?

I mostly buy online from Jackson’s Art Supplies. Sometimes from Francis Iles in Rochester.


You, Your Work and Your Studio

What gallery did you first sell a work at?

Gould Gallery Sandwich 1980’s. Can’t remember the price.

Where do you produce your best work? Do you work en plein air and finish in the studio?

I work from drawings done in situ and then paint in my studio from these drawings. The paintings can take a number of days to complete.

Cheryl Culver PPPS RBA Pebble Beach £1,950

Buy Now

Do you have any rituals or routines when preparing and starting a painting?

So tempted to say I bow to the East three times. I do like to start the actual pastel work in the morning.

Where is your studio and what’s it like?

It is a wooden building in the garden. Insulated to a degree. Not huge, but big enough. It has a heater, an air-con unit for the summer and a music machine. No sink or water, but a water butt outside. Daylight strip lighting. It’s painted a lovely Eggshell blue/green.


Advice

What advice would you give a young artist starting out or wanting to join the Society?

To Thine Own Self Be True.

Don’t worry about what other people are doing, just be good at what you are trying to do. Keep your own identity.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

I wish the Art College I attended had been less interested in the bizarre and more informative about the nuts and bolts of art techniques.

It was so bad I almost changed tack and applied to University to study English.

In fact, I didn’t return to art in any serious way for many years. Too many years. The Federation of British Artists and the art societies were never mentioned at college. But I am talking about the late 60s. Trendy at the time!!

My final comment - I don’t regret the time I spent doing other things. The experiences and adventures have been extremely valuable. I am so glad I didn’t go from college straight into teaching and then into retirement.  



'Reflections from the Artist' is an ongoing series of reflection, advice from and insight into the practice of artists who exhibit at Mall Galleries. 

Discover the full series here.

Next Up... Norma Stephenson PS


Enter your email below and receive Reflections from the Artist as soon as they're published:

* indicates required

Reflections from the Artist | Martin Goold PS

Goold-Martin-Hound-Tor.jpg

There is no set pattern to work, sometimes I spend a lot of time looking and thinking, at other times there are bursts of intensive activity, or long periods trying to make something work

Matin Goold PS on the high standard of work in The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2021 and why buyers can feel confident in buying quality art from the exhibition



You and The Pastel Society

What does The Pastel Society mean to you?

In a profession that can at times feel quite isolating it is a huge support to belong to a forum and exhibiting platform that brings together genuine career artists who share a common interest in the potential of dry media.

Why should artists want to exhibit with the Society?

The annual exhibition tests an artist’s work alongside a high standard presentation, it forces us to be honest with ourselves about how we match up and should motivate us to push our work further. This is a valuable and healthy inducement bearing in mind that over time artists are prone to developing something of a fragile ego!

Martin Goold PS Sanguine Sky £750

Buy Now

Why should people want to buy art from The Pastel Society?

Recent years have seen a huge proliferation of online platforms and web sites for selling art; many artists now choose to self-promote through social media.

But how does the buyer navigate through all these possibilities and know the true worth of what they are buying?

Society exhibitions only show artworks that have passed a rigorous selection process, these are brought together in one place allowing the buyer to compare and consider.

Past or present, which artist from The Pastel Society do you most admire?

It is impossible to choose one artist; for me, the diversity and scope is the biggest inspiration. Each annual exhibition has its own character and highlights.

Last year I was particularly impressed by the atmospheric light of Norma Stephenson’s works, this year I am very attracted to Janine Baldwin’s landscapes with their spare colouration and feeling for drawn surface marks.

What is your favourite work in this year’s exhibition?

Society and academy exhibitions are often thought of as being too inward-looking and not selecting enough non-member work, this is definitely not the case in this exhibition with its especially strong representation of non-members such as Ann Dangerfield, Polly Dutton, Emma Fitzpatrick and Andy Thornley; I especially like Susie Prangnell’s ‘Dance of the Rebel’ for its adventure and energy.

Susie Prangnell Dance of the Rebel £540

Buy Now


Your Materials

What brands make up your palette?

I really like the superb colour range of Unison Pastels but my works in this year's exhibition have been made using Derwent Drawing Pencils, unlike most colour pencils these have a lovely soft waxy quality that enables rich textural overlaying.

Martin Goold PS Hound Tor £650

Buy Now

Do you frame your own work?

I get the frames made up and set the works in myself, I use Old Barn Framing in Sherborne, Dorset.

What is your favourite art supplies store?

I use Jackson's Art Supplies for large online orders and Frank Herring in Dorchester for things I want to select in person.


You, Your Work and Your Studio

What gallery did you first sell work at?

My first major sale was at The Warwick Arts Trust in Pimlico, London in 1984. As a recent graduate, it was a great opportunity to exhibit alongside artists such as John Hoyland and Albert Irvin.

Where do you produce your best work? Do you work en plein air and finish in the studio?

The starting point is making drawings on location; sketchbook work is not only a crucial stage but perhaps the side of work I enjoy the most for its spontaneity and directness. I then refer to my sketchbooks for larger studio work.

Martin Goold PS Dartmoor III £500

Buy Now

Do you have any rituals or routines when preparing and starting a painting?

There is no set pattern to work, sometimes I spend a lot of time looking and thinking, at other times there are bursts of intensive activity, or long periods trying to make something work. I probably ruin much more than I resolve because once I have achieved something I try to go further; I never want to fall into formulaic or repetitive work.

Where is your studio and what’s it like?

My studio is in a rural location on the Dorset Coast; the horizon line of the sea constantly reminds me of journey and possibility. I keep boxes of photographs and sketchbooks from travels over the years, and there are several books such as Turner paintings and Freya Stark travel writings lying around.


Advice

What advice would you give a young artist starting out or wanting to join the Society?

Make regular visits to the major collections such as The National Gallery so that you know what great art really looks like, humble yourself in front of these highest benchmarks. Find a mentor you respect. For artists wanting to join the Society, put forward your best work in the open exhibitions so that members can really see what you can do; resist the temptation to hold the best work back waiting for some ‘golden opportunity’ to appear.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career? 

To make the fullest possible use of the opportunities that arise while the chance is there.



'Reflections from the Artist' is an ongoing series of reflection, advice from and insight into the practice of artists who exhibit at Mall Galleries. 

Discover the full series here.

Next Up... Cheryl Culver PPPS RBA


Enter your email below and receive Reflections from the Artist as soon as they're published:

* indicates required

Image credit

Martin Goold PS Dartmoor III

Reflections from the Artist | Sarah Bee PS

Bee-Sarah-Reeds-To-Soar-Mill-Cove.jpg

I usually have the trigger of spotting something in the landscape that sparks ideas - often when out for reasons other than sketching. I then return for information in sketches and notes to take back to the studio


Sarah Bee PS on the brands that make up her palette, a good relationship with her framer and advice for artists on getting to know the members of The Pastel Society. 

Sarah Bee PS Stream, Cot Valley

You and The Pastel Society

What does The Pastel Society mean to you?

It is a long-established art society, elected membership of which is an honour. It is known that the membership is amongst the very best artists working with dry media, and a point of reference for those looking for such work.

Why should artists want to exhibit with the Society?

It is an accolade to have work hung amongst the elected members in the prestigious Mall Galleries...and potentially inspiration to seek membership

Why should people want to buy art from The Pastel Society?

A buyer can buy from the Society safe in the knowledge that it houses established and respected artists.

Past or present, which artist from The Pastel Society do you most admire?

Without a doubt, my admiration lies with the past President of The Pastel Society, John Blockley. Without his inspiration and encouragement, I wouldn’t have even considered working with pastel. His work was exemplary...and I owe him a great deal.

What is your favourite work in this year’s exhibition?

I have two favourite pieces in this year’s exhibition:

Cornish Pink by Jeannette Hayes PPS

September by Anne Magill 


Your Materials

What brands make up your palette?

I use Unison soft pastels with Conte a Paris and Caran D’Ache hard pastels and willow charcoal. I underpaint with several brands of acrylic paint.

Do you frame your own work? What framer do you use and do you always use the same framer?

I would not attempt to frame my own work, and have used the same framer here in Devon for several years. We have a very good working relationship...I appreciate his knowledge and perfectionism and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him

Jeremy Smith - Creeking Picture Framing

What is your favourite art supplies store?

Having no physical art supplies store near me I tend to buy from either Jackson's Art or Great Art, both online.


You, Your Work and Your Studio

Can you recall your first art sale at a gallery?

My first exhibition was of watercolours in the foyer space of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in 1999 and my excitement at selling the largest one for £400 was massive!

Where do you produce your best work? Do you work en plein air and finish in the studio?

I produce my paintings in my studio, having sketched and made notes out at the location. I find it helps me to produce the essence of what I have seen and felt, without the distraction of extraneous information.

Sarah Bee PS Reeds to Soar Mill Cove

Do you have any rituals or routines when preparing and starting a painting?

I usually have the trigger of spotting something in the landscape that sparks ideas - often when out for reasons other than sketching. I then return for information in sketches and notes to take back to the studio. Once there, and working, I do like music as a work accompaniment!

Where is your studio and what’s it like? Can you describe your studio space?

My studio is at the top of my garden and was once a garage space. It is therefore not huge, though perfectly adequate and with good daylight. Plans to enlarge it in 2020 had to be shelved. I have hopes it might happen in 2021.


Advice

What advice would you give a young artist starting out / wanting to join the Society?

Come to our exhibitions...study the varied work, and try different approaches. Follow PS member artists on social media and consider attending short courses that some of us teach. We occasionally also offer mentoring.

Then submit for the exhibition as a non-member. When you have had work accepted for a couple of years, you are eligible to apply for membership.

Importantly... don’t give up.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

I now know that the possibilities are endless... and there is no right and no wrong. The only wrong is lack of self-belief...easy to say, and I need constant reminders!



'Reflections from the Artist' is an ongoing series of reflection, advice from and insight into the practice of artists who exhibit at Mall Galleries. 

Discover the full series here.

Next Up...Martin Goold PS


Enter your email below and receive Reflections from the Artist as soon as they're published:

* indicates required

Reflections from the Artist | Adebanji Alade VPROI

Alade-Adebanji-TOO-EARLY.jpg

You must have a healthy, wholesome view of yourself, your works and what you can uniquely bring into the art world and be true to it!


Adebanji Alade VPROI on his favourite work in the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2020, his favourite art supplies store and the greatest asset an artist can have. 

Adebanji Alade VPROI Grey, Rainy, Gloomy Day, London

You and the ROI

Why did you want to join the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

I wanted to join the ROI because I love the oil medium and I wanted to belong to a society that parades the best artists in the medium.

Why should artists want to exhibit with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

It is a great opportunity to get your work recognised and seen alongside some of the best painters in the oil medium today.

Why should people want to buy art from the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

People should buy art from the ROI because you know for sure you are getting work from some of the best painters in the oil medium today. 

Trevor Chamberlain ROI RSMA Winter, Oak Trees in the Snow

Past or present, which artist from the ROI do you most admire?

For me, it’s Trevor Chamberlain. I’ve courted his works in books way back when I was in Nigeria. I love his consistency over the years and even after eight decades, his quality is still up there with the very, very best!

What is your favourite work in this year’s exhibition?

My favourite work in the exhibition is David Curtis’ piece titled, “Diffused Light, Jermyn Street”.

He uses a limited palette with such dexterity that it almost looks like he has used a full-blown palette, yet the mood atmosphere of this piece still comes across so vividly. It’s a masterpiece!

David Curtis ROI RSMA Diffused Light, Jermyn Street

Your Materials

What paints make up your palette? 

I couldn’t do it without them!

What framer do you use and do you always use the same framer? 

Two framers, Joe Alexander & Bijan!

Joe Alexander is a master framer with great precision and finishing.

Bijan is experienced in everything frames, I’ve used him since 1999.

What is your favourite art supplies store? 

My favourite supply store is Cass Art - they’ve taken way too much of my money but I get quality in return.


You, Your Work and Your Studio

What gallery did you first sell work at? When was it? How much did it sell for?

The first gallery to sell my work in London was the Mall Galleries. It was in 2006 at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters and I can’t remember how much it sold for (£400 according to our records).

It was titled, “The People I Sketch Every Day on Public Transport”

Where do you produce your best work? Do you work en plein air and finish in the studio?

I produce my best work on the go - sketches and plein air.

But then the more refined gallery work is started and finished in my studio. 

Adebanji Alade VPROI Too Early....?

Do you have any rituals or routines when preparing and starting a painting? 

Yes, I pray to God for inspiration - a touch of the Divine.

Where is your studio and what’s it like? / Can you describe your studio space?

My studio space is in Chelsea on Lots Road, it is a cluttered treasure of an organised junkie, filled with sketchbooks, paintings, books and over 500 art magazines!


Advice

What advice would you give a young artist starting out or wanting to join the ROI?

You are making the right decision. Oil is the most respected medium in the world and when you introduce yourself into the art world as a member of such a prestigious society you instantly gain respect and the doors of opportunity are bound to open for you! At least they did for me since being elected a full member in 2015!

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?   

I wish somebody had told me to believe more in myself and not let self-doubt consume me.

I believe self-confidence is the greatest asset any artist can have, once it’s gone, there’s not much you can do in a world where a million artists are all splashing their stuff on social media and galleries....and if you are not careful, you’ll compare yourself with too many and be swamped into complete utter despair. 

You must have a healthy, wholesome view of yourself, your works and what you can uniquely bring into the art world and be true to it!



'Reflections from the Artist' is an ongoing series of reflection, advice from and insight into the practice of artists who exhibit at Mall Galleries. 

Discover the full series here.

Next Up... Derek Daniells AROI


Enter your email below and receive Reflections from the Artist as soon as they're published:

* indicates required

Reflections from the Artist | David Pilgrim ROI

Pilgrim-David-Towards Gwynver, Sennen Cove.jpg

"Ken Howard is one of my painting heroes and as a young artist, I was inspired by his work and delighted in reading his books. His work is so uplifting."

David Pilgrim ROI on selling his first work at university, his Royal Institute of Oil Painters hero and the joys of painting en plein air. 

David Pilgrim ROI Low Tide, Treen Cove

David Pilgrim is a British painter with a passion for painting ‘en plein air’ which also compliments and informs his studio practice. Working on location, he strives to capture the very essence of that moment and create a personal response to the subject with energy and economy. In 2012, David was elected a full member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters


You and the ROI

Why did you want to join the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

I’ve had a passion for oil painting for many years and to me the ROI has always represented the highest of standards in oil painting. Many artists who I have long admired were members and upon entering for the first time back in 2006 (was it really that long ago!) I was delighted to discover what a friendly and open society the ROI really is.

Why should artists want to exhibit with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

The ROI represents the very best in oil painting today and it feels a great privilege to be able to exhibit with fellow oil painters of such a high calibre. There is a great tradition and history behind the society but we are also very forward-thinking and mindful to attract and showcase exciting new talent, irrespective of any style or genre.

Why should people want to buy art from the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

Buyers have the opportunity to purchase art from a diverse pool of artistic talent, ranging from well-established ROI members to emerging and new artists in the public submissions. The ROI has no ‘house style’ and aims to showcase the best work in oil painting today so there should be plenty of diversity to suit buyers’ tastes.

Ken Howard OBE Hon RBA PPNEAC RA ROI Logan Rock £5,000

Past or present, what artist from the ROI do you most admire?

Ken Howard is one of my painting heroes and as a young artist, I was inspired by his work and delighted in reading his books. His work is so uplifting and I share Ken’s passion for working tonally and painting the light. His work ethic and dedication to painting is an inspiration to us all.

What is your favourite work in this year’s exhibition?

Such a tough question, there are so many paintings that could be my favourite! I love the Reflected Sunset by Tim Benson PROI as it has such a powerful economy and harmony whilst evoking the essence of that beautiful sunset with such wonderful strokes of paint. A joyous painting!

Tim Benson PROI NEAC RP Reflected Sunset £2,000

Your Materials

For plein air work outdoors I tend to rely on oils using my Open Box-M (I have both the 12x16in and 11x14in models) mounted on a sturdy tripod. I use mediums such as Michael Harding oil paint medium, Roberson’s Glaze medium and pure turpentine in varied combinations and consistencies. Favourite brushes tend to be from Rosemary & Co together with Cornelissens hogs.

What paints make up your palette?

I prefer Winsor and Newton Artist Quality Oils on the whole but augment the range with a few additional colours from Michael Harding (e.g. Naples yellow which has a slightly deeper tone than Winsor and Newton).

David Pilgrim ROI Setting Sun over the River Ouse, Passenham £875

Do you frame your own work?

I tend to hand finish frames that I have made by my local framers in Stony Stratford (Skills Art Materials). I have a selection of preferred mouldings and use emulsion paints (sometimes with gilding wax) to achieve the final finish which is always sealed with polished finishing wax.

What is your favourite art supplies store?

It’s a tie between Jacksons and Cornelissens!


You, Your Work and Your Studio

What gallery did you first sell work at?

I think my first official sale was from my final year exhibition at Aberystwyth University in 1997. At the time I was inspired by Scandanavian interior artists such as Villhelm Hammershoi and painted the interior of a disused academic building, very much focused on the light and the quiet stillness within. The painting was titled ‘Between Two Rooms’ and I think it sold for something like £280 which seemed a lot to me at the time as a student!

Where do you produce your best work?

Outdoors on location, ideally by the sea!

David Pilgrim ROI Towards Gwynver, Sennen Cove £1,395

Do you have any rituals or routines when preparing and starting a painting?

I always lay my palette out in the same order and it tends to run from dark and cool on the left to warm and light on the right.

Where is your studio and what’s it like?

My current studio is a converted bedroom in a Victorian house with good high ceilings and north facing windows.


Advice

What advice would you give a young artist wanting to join the ROI?

Get involved as much as you can, the best learning is by doing and by showing your work you can get some invaluable feedback. Interact with other artists you admire, ask questions, be curious and build on your passions. Be prepared for difficulty/setbacks and don’t compare or judge yourself too harshly against others. Enjoy your painting and find your own unique voice.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

I wish I had discovered the joys and benefits of plein air painting earlier in my painting career.



'Reflections from the Artist' is an ongoing series of reflection, advice from and insight into the practice of artists who exhibit at Mall Galleries. 

Discover the full series here.


Enter your email below and receive Reflections from the Artist as soon as they're published:

* indicates required

Reflections from the Artist | Haidee-Jo Summers ROI RSMA

Summers-Haidee-Jo-So-Light-Is-Her-Footfall.jpg

"It’s a great encouragement when artists whose work you admire so much select your painting to hang in the exhibition, and then a real thrill and a boost to see it up on the wall at the private view"


Haidee-Jo Summers ROI RSMA on selling her first work at the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, her studio space and developing an abundance mindset

Haidee-Jo Summers ROI RSMA White Lilacs, Stocks and Apple Blossom, £2,100

You and the ROI

Why did you want to join the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

I first heard about the society when I was in my early twenties and was encouraged by a member to enter. That first time I entered I won a prize in the young artists' award and from then on I dared to hope that one day I might become a member. It became my driving ambition.

Why should artists want to exhibit with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

It’s a great encouragement when artists whose work you admire so much select your painting to hang in the exhibition, and then a real thrill and a boost to see it up on the wall at the private view.

I’ve seen time and again how the members are so warm and encouraging to new exhibitors. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of the ROI show.

Haidee-Jo Summers ROI RSMA Herd Immunity £2,000

Why should people want to buy art from the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

We are showing the best work of the year by many of the UK’s best oil painters, and have a fantastic array of subject matters and styles on display with a wide range of sizes and prices.

There are so many paintings to love, the hardest thing is narrowing down your choices!

Past or present, what artist from the ROI do you most admire?

This is a hard question because all my contemporaries are outstanding and it’s difficult to pick just a few! Past members I would say Laura Knight, Dorothea Sharp and Walter Sickert of course, plus Tony Merrick who is so much missed.

Of the current membership, Ken Howard and David Curtis have been the most inspirational to me. I should add Peter Brown for being such a powerhouse and Adebanji Alade who keeps everybody encouraged and smiling!

What is your favourite work in this year’s exhibition?

Can I pick two? Ice cream by Craig Lee and Paddy by Adam Ralston. Apart from being beautifully painted they both have that warm nostalgia for summers gone by and hopefully the summers yet to come when we get through this strange time!

Craig Lee Ice Cream £549

Your Materials

What paints make up your palette?

I use Michael Harding and Winsor & Newton Artists range mainly, but also some Old Holland, Rembrandt and Gamblin.

Do you frame your own work?

I used to hand paint all my frames but now I have a couple of framers and the frames arrive ready for me to pop the paintings in. I worked at a framer many years ago so I don’t mind doing the fitting part at all.

What is your favourite art supplies store?

It’s Jacksons Art that I always turn to. Living quite remotely in Lincolnshire they always seem to have everything I need and I love their bespoke oil primed linen canvasses. But my brushes always come from Rosemary & Co.


You, Your Work and Your Studio

What gallery did you first sell work at?

I did little local exhibitions straight after graduating and around the same time I had my first success exhibiting with the ROI in 1997 and the painting sold. It was around £300 (we've checked our records and it was £575!) which seemed like an absolute fortune to me, probably a month’s wages at the picture framers. 

All the other paintings I was selling at that time would have been priced between £20 and £100. I really wish I knew who bought that painting so I could have thanked them!

Haidee-Jo Summers ROI RSMA Vintage Caravan Sink

Where do you produce your best work? Do you work en plein air and finish in the studio?

I produce most of my work en plein air so I have to say that’s my best work, although I am really keen to explore other avenues in the studio, such as paintings being composed of many layers of paint as a contrast to the one shot alla prima ones.

I’d also like to do larger work outside in multiple sessions. There’s so much more I need to challenge myself with.

Do you have any rituals or routines when preparing and starting a painting?

Well in the studio I start the morning with a coffee and lighting the woodburning stove which is a lovely way to start to the day.

When I’m ready to start painting I put my apron on and that means business.

Where is your studio and what’s it like?

My studio is in our garden in Lincolnshire. It’s a huge 1970s concrete workshop which we’ve extended and remodelled to make a dry, well-insulated, airy space with a high ceiling and painted wooden beams and lots of windows.

I also have a mezzanine level at one end which is where I sit and read or sketch or work on my laptop with the cat and dog in front of the fire.

I paint from a model up here when I can, and have lots of fun props and cheerful fairy lights. I’m so lucky to have all this wonderful space to myself and I love it to bits.

Haidee-Jo Summers ROI RSMA Late Afternoon, Cherry Blossom

Advice

What advice would you give an artist wanting to join the ROI?

Have faith in your own voice and follow the ideas wherever they take you. Don’t try to emulate anybody else, we want to hear your authentic voice. When you paint what gets you fired up it shows in the work and that’s really exciting for us to see.

Save your best work throughout the year, put it to one side so that you’re not caught out when submission time rolls around again.

And I would say reach out to us members on social media or face to face at events and private views. We are a friendly bunch I promise, and we’ve ALL been in your shoes and want to help and encourage you.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

I learned early on that it was important to put your work forward and enter exhibitions and competitions. Don’t expect to always be selected or win a prize, just keep putting it out there and persevere. Celebrate the highs, shrug off the lows, there’s always another chance around the corner.

The other thing I’m glad I realised early on in my career because it was a big shift for my thinking, is that there really is enough room in this art world for all of us. You don’t want to waste your energies feeling envious of others success, there are plenty of opportunities for all.

They call it an abundance mindset and it’s well worth cultivating one!

Discover the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2020



'Reflections from the Artist' is an ongoing series of reflection, advice from and insight into the practice of artists who exhibit at Mall Galleries. 

Discover the full series here.

Next Up... David Pilgrim ROI


Enter your email below and receive Reflections from the Artist as soon as they're published:

* indicates required

Image credit

Haidee-Jo Summers ROI RSMA So Light is Her Footfall

Reflections from the Artist | Tim Benson PROI NEAC RP

Square-Benson-Tim-Reflected-Sunset.jpg

"I absolutely love the work of Luis Morris, I think he has the deftest of touches with the brush and he insinuates rather than spells things out."

Tim Benson, President of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters on the need for a cup of tea, a deep breath and a few stern words with himself. 


You and the ROI

What does the Royal Institute of Oil Painters mean to you?

For me, the ROI represents the best oil painters working in the UK today and I wanted to show alongside them.

Why should artists want to exhibit with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

To bring your work to the attention of some great artists and a very wide audience. There is also a real sense of achievement when you see your work up on the walls (or website) at Mall Galleries.

Why should people want to buy art from the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

There really is something for everyone on display. We don’t champion one style of painting over another.

Past or present, what artist from the ROI do you most admire?

I absolutely love the work of Luis Morris, I think he has the deftest of touches with the brush and he insinuates rather than spells things out.

Luis Morris ROI Man with an Owl

What is your favourite work in this year’s exhibition?

So many to choose from but if pushed I would say ‘Rooftop View of St Petersburg’ by Thomas Arthurton. It is a beautifully balanced, economical piece of painting that is simultaneously unassuming and jewel-like.

Thomas Arthurton Rooftop View of St Petersburg

Your Materials

What paints make up your palette?

I use ‘Winton’ by Winsor and Newton, Cass Art Oils and ‘Georgian’ by Daler Rowney.

I have the same 7 colours on my palette for any painting:

  • Cadmium Red
  • Lemon Yellow
  • Burnt Umber
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Titanium White

Tim Benson PROI NEAC RP Summer Stream

Do you frame your own work?

I frame my smaller paintings and any that are painted on board. I’ve used the same framer for years because he is a master craftsman and crucially, offers a great service!

What is your favourite art supplies store?

Cass Art in Islington.


You, Your Work and Your Studio

What gallery did you first sell a work at?

Vertigo in Great Eastern Street, Old Street in 2001, £1,000.

Where do you produce your best work?

I wouldn’t say that my best work happens in any given environment; I’ve produced paintings that I’m very happy with en plein air and in my studio. I don’t, however, work outside and then finish off in my studio, all work is done in one hit.

Tim Benson PROI NEAC RP Reflected Sunset

Do you have any rituals or routines when preparing and starting a painting?

A cup of tea, a deep breath and a few stern words with myself.

Where is your studio and what’s it like?

My studio is in Wood Green, North London. It’s about 10 minutes walk from my home so really convenient. It’s a small, modest room in an ex-council office block. It’s not pretty but it does the job!


Advice

What advice would you give an artist wanting to join the ROI?

Submit work that you believe in, not something that you think would ‘fit’.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

That we’re all in this together and that good things come to those who wait.



'Reflections from the Artist' is an ongoing series of advice from and insight into the practice of artists who exhibit at Mall Galleries. 

Discover the full series here.

Next Up... Haidee-Jo Summers ROI RSMA


Enter your email below and receive Reflections from the Artist posts as soon as they're published:

* indicates required

Reflections from the Artist | John Walsom ROI ARSMA

Square-.jpg

"If you paint in oils, this is the ultimate shop window for the best that the medium has to offer. To get a chance to exhibit alongside such artists is invaluable."


John Walsom ROI ARSMA on working en plein air, his advice for young artists entering Open Exhibitions and selling his first work for a fiver.

John Walsom ROI ARSMA Cavell Street £3,200

John is renowned for his paintings of landscapes and architectural subjects. He is a council member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters and an associate member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. When he's not painting he's the guitarist in the soul band The Detectives.


You and the ROI

Why did you want to join the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

For a long time, going to the annual ROI exhibition, I felt like a kid pressing my nose on a toy shop window -  so many beautiful, unattainable things. There’s no more profound compliment than the approval of your heroes, which is why I was so happy to have been made a member.

Why should artists want to exhibit with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

If you paint in oils, this is the ultimate shop window for the best that the medium has to offer. To get a chance to exhibit alongside such artists is invaluable.

Why should people want to buy art from the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

You can be confident that the paintings in this exhibition are the best works of some of the finest oil painters in the world, or have been selected by them to be worthy of sharing the same walls.

Past or present, what artist from the ROI do you most admire?

I'm in awe of all the current members.

What is your favourite work in this year’s exhibition?

Linda by Jane French is a painting I could look at for a long time, it has enormous compassion and warmth while using paint in a confident skilful way.

Jane French Linda

Your Materials

What paints make up your palette?

Mostly Winsor & Newton and Michael Harding, depending on which shop I can get to.

Do you frame your own work?

Nowadays I make most of my own frames, up to about 30 x 40 inches. I previously used Period Frames in Surbiton, who I can strongly recommend for affordable hand-finished frames.

John Walsom ROI ARSMA Commercial Road, E1 £3,200

What is your favourite art supplies store?

I'm lucky to have a studio right across the road from Pullingers Art Shop in Kingston. They've always been helpful and knowledgeable.


You, Your Work and Your Studio

What gallery did you first sell a work at?

In 1977 I had a regular pitch every Sunday on the railings of Kensington Gardens, on the Bayswater Road.  I sold my first painting there for £5, and I've still got the fiver.

Where do you produce your best work?

Most of my oils are completed en plein air, and I think I paint better under the pressure of working on the spot. 

Sometimes I do some "adjustments" later in the studio, usually to emphasize some darks which looked strong when they were wet, in the daylight, but sink in a bit as they dry, and under indoor light.  I also make bigger studio versions of some of these.

John Walsom ROI ARSMA Under the Fallen Trees £4,800

Do you have any rituals or routines when preparing and starting a painting?

Only to make sure I'm excited about the subject, otherwise, I can realise halfway through that my heart's not in it, and it's best to start another.

Where is your studio and what’s it like?

It's an office space over the shops in the middle of Kingston. It's much too small.


Advice

What advice would you give a young artist starting out?

Persevere. Don't think that not being selected is a rejection of your work, most members spent years having their first work accepted.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

Painting outdoors speeds up your pace of learning by several times. 


Discover the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2020



'Reflections from the Artist' is an ongoing series of reflection, advice from and insight into the practice of artists who exhibit at Mall Galleries. 

Discover the full series here.

Next Up...Tim Benson PROI RP NEAC


Enter your email below and receive Reflections from the Artist as soon as they're published:

* indicates required

Reflections from the Artist | Lucy McKie ROI

McKie-Lucy-Irises-In-Bulb-Vase.jpg

"The ROI to me represents a shared passion for painting and real friendships. I hope that artists wishing to join the ROI will feel that too"


Lucy McKie ROI on visiting Mall Galleries as a teenager, the colours on her palette and what she wishes she'd known at the start of her career 

Lucy McKie ROI Irises in Bulb Vase £2,150

Born into an artistic family, Lucy decided early in life to be a painter. She was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 2011 and serves as a council member for the society.  Lucy's work focuses on intricate detail and capturing beauty, natural light and form. She aims to reflect a serene and uplifting feeling within her compositions, and really capture a moment in time.


You and the ROI

What does the Royal Institute of Oil Painters mean to you?

I first visited the Mall Galleries as a teenager and always really hoped to exhibit a painting with the ROI one day - I didn’t expect to become a member. The ROI to me represents a shared passion for painting and real friendships. I hope that artists wishing to join the ROI will feel that too.

 

Why should artists want to exhibit with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

I feel that the ROI is a very positive, friendly society that wants to see a range of art from all kinds of painters. All the members have a real enthusiasm for the medium and are very passionate about encouraging other artists.

 

Why should people want to buy art from the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

If you love oil paintings, the ROI has a broad and eclectic range of styles and subjects to choose from. You can see a very wide and varied choice of art in one show.

June Mendoza AO OBE RP ROI HON SWA David Morgan Hewitt

Past or present, what artist from the ROI do you most admire?

June Mendoza is someone who I have admired for as long as I can remember. I love her work, her wonderful quality and amazing skill. Her portraiture always captures sitters perfectly.

 

What is your favourite work in this year’s exhibition?

My favourite painting in the show this year is “Late Snow, The Farm” by Michael John Ashcroft AROI. It’s very subtle, thoughtful and atmospheric. The colours are beautiful.

Michael John Ashcroft AROI Late Snow, The Farm, £1,650

Your Materials

What paints make up your palette?

I use the Winsor and Newton Artists Range. The colours that I use most frequently are Titanium White, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, French Ultramarine, Payne’s Gray, Yellow Ochre, Winsor Yellow, Winsor Violet, Winsor Orange, Cadmium Red and Sap Green.

 

What framer do you use and do you always use the same framer?

I use a local framer that is based near me, and I nearly always have frames that are white or off white, as they seem to distract less from the painting.

 

What is your favourite art supplies store?

I love the bespoke canvasses made by Jackson's Art. They are beautifully made. I tend to get a lot of my art supplies from Jackson’s Art.


You, Your Work and Your Studio

What gallery did you first sell work at?

For many years I used to mainly do portraiture commissions so I think it was actually quite a long time until I starting selling work in a gallery.

 

Where do you produce your best work?

I do all of my work in the studio. I like to build the paintings up steadily and spend a lot of time on detail, so it’s the best place to quietly work on the paintings gradually.

Lucy McKie ROI Still Life with Late Summer Light

Do you have any rituals or routines when preparing and starting a painting?

I always spend a lot of time sketching the initial composition, and changing things around until I’m happy enough to start in paint. I’ve noticed that if I think the painting will be quite a challenge, I’ll find myself avoiding starting the actual painting and distracting myself with all kinds of other things I think need doing!

 

Where is your studio and what’s it like?

My studio is very small and if I’m honest, not very tidy. It is filled with canvasses and all sorts of bits and bobs I’ve collected over the years. Certainly not one of the lovely spacious studios that I see other artists painting in!


Advice

What advice would you give a young artist starting out or wanting to join the ROI?

Go to the annual exhibition and have a really good honest look at the show. Then do what you do as well as you can and keep on submitting. We’ve all faced many rejections and it is hard, but it’s also part of the process.

What is important is that you continue to paint and keep your own uniqueness, because ultimately that is what will stand out. It is essential to love what you do.

Keep painting and if you can, talk to the members and realise that everyone shares the love of painting and understands the challenges - the ROI is a very friendly group.

 

What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

That virtually everyone has times of self-doubt and impostor syndrome even if they pretend they don’t! I thought I was the only one until I started to get to know so many artists and realised it can happen to us all.

Perhaps we do need it to an extent to assess our work truthfully, but you also need to love the process and have faith in what you are doing.

 

Discover the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2020



'Reflections from the Artist' is an ongoing series of advice from and insight into the practice of artists who exhibit at Mall Galleries. 

Discover the full series here.

Next Up... John Walsom ROI ARSMA


Enter your email below and receive Reflections from the Artist as soon as they're published:

* indicates required

Image credit

Lucy McKie ROI