There has to be a reason to paint, could be great shadows, extraordinary light, a great shape, amazing atmospherics, or an observed conversation.
I am primarily a plein air painter but my chosen medium of watercolour can make that impractical. A winter morning sunrise can take until lunchtime to dry and then there’s rain.
When en plein air I paint mainly on stretched Millford paper at a slight angle and with great speed. It always starts with a pencil drawing. Drawing is the most important process. I think in terms of tonal values and use the drawing to plan the watercolour stages showing areas of light and dark as I work with paper white. If an object is moving I try to describe that as if it were a long exposure with a softness to edges and a lack of definition. Water and reflections are favourite subjects and I watch and study the flows and shapes made as reflections dance and water undulates. I chase shadows, they add such structure and dynamics to your work.
In the studio I work on action watercolours, for example a yacht tearing across a bay on a beam reach. Video is my favourite reference though my trusty Nikon usually gets it. I try to capture that moment maybe when the skipper calls to go about and everyone starts to shift. Or when a flock of geese make a high speed and splashy landing.
My colour palette is simple and I paint in pure watercolour style using natural translucency.
1960 Born on 18 November, Rochford, Essex
1979 Foundation at Farnham Art College
1980-83 Degree in Illustration at Bower Ashton, Bristol
1984-90 Worked as an Art Director in advertising
1991-2018 Turned Freelance as an Illustrator and Designer
2018 Became full time artist
2022 Elected an Associate Member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists
Mark now lives in a small village in Sussex and spends his time painting and playing guitar, piano and trying to stop the garden from becoming too wild.