Tony Williams RSMA


Coming from a graphic arts background, Tony looks for design lead subjects which also lend to atmosphere. This philosophy results in many varied subjects found near his North Devon home, or further afield with composite dockland subjects, often inspired by black and white photographs he took in London in the 1960’s being a particular love. These are the pictures with large slabs of plain painting set against knots of detailed warps, chains, crane steelwork and cables which often interrupt a setting sun or rising moon. There is often room for a small distant atmospheric painting within the picture.  Working from a pochade sketch, pencil drawings and back up photographs, his painting is predominantly studio worked, sometimes alla prima, other times, dried between stages of further painting. Main areas of interest are Rural landscape, bullocks and cows, horses being shod, Marine subjects and surfaces beneath water.

Although the work has been figurative in a contemporary impressionist way to date, Tony is increasingly fascinated with the possibilities of abstracting the big scale industrial based subjects until they become distilled into a concentration of design, colour and texture.  


“I paint in oils onto plywood panels made with either a gesso only surface, or, gesso onto canvas which I have mounted on the plywood support. Increasingly, I make larger panels with a deeper square edge and similarly gessoed or mounted with canvas.  The surface texture is often an integral part of the painting. I will sometimes apply a ground colour in sympathy with the subject and dry this or, work wet onto a white support with a dark, loose mix of oil paint which I wipe out to draw a dynamic under painting which will dry before further work. The first few minutes of painting in this method will determine whether I continue or not. The image must excite the eye to drive the work onwards.  Very often I will produce a small sketch in oil, say, 6”x8” which is the pochade size. These can sometimes be hard to improve on later. 


1946 Born in Wimbledon, London

1961-63  Attended Sutton School of Art, studied life drawing and graphic design.

1964–72  Worked in Graphic Art studios in London and Exeter.

1973 Worked as Art Director, Graphic Art Studio.

1976–85 Worked as Creative Director in Graphic Art Studios.

2003  First started painting.


The South West Academy of Fine & Applied Arts

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