Art: Obsession or Drug?

I have been asked to put a few words together to run through the thought processes that I go through before putting paint to canvas!

Firstly, art to me is both obsession and a drug. It is a challenge that needs to be met all the time, and a need to be better than the last painting on the easel. Something I feel will never be achieved, but never-the-less that need is still there. I am constantly thinking about the next painting and what subject should it be.

I have a rather strange way of looking at the world of colour. To me it’s not about which colour compliments another, it’s more about what colour can I get away with, after all the eye can be tricked in many ways.

The whole process of painting can be quite complicated depending on the subject that one chooses. Sometimes it’s just a question of seeing something on the TV, freeze framing it, photographing and then painting it. Of course, there is the drawing process to go through. Other times it’s spending hours going through thousands of photos on the internet, looking for inspiration. Again, other times it could be something that a fellow artist has done that gives you some inspiration.

Size always matters, as it determines how much detail can be achieved. I always try to use an 800 x 600mm canvas which gives a 4:3 ratio, whether in landscape or portrait.
Depending on the chosen subject, I avoid landscapes that are devoid of animals and people. Research can also play a massive part. If, for instance, I have chosen to paint a military aircraft, then everything from correct colouring to the right squadron, and location of the scene has to be researched, and then you can always find some expert that tells you that you have got it totally wrong and there are not enough rivets on an engine cowling!!!


You can end up with a lot of photographs to work from to get the final result

You can end up with a lot of photographs to work from to get the final result

When it come to my paintings of yachts, it’s pretty easy for me as I just have to find the right photo from a portfolio of a photographer that has given their permission to use their work. Then I reset a few things before the drawing process, for instance, remove another yacht or land mass that appears in the original photo. Then it’s all about the drawing, which can take upwards of six hours to complete to the point w here painting can commence. Whatever the subject, the initial drawing is an integral part of the process, and the individual has to decide on the amount of detail that is required. In some cases, this can be quite minimal.

Once drawing is complete, it may be necessary to mask off the main subject. For acrylics I use ordinary masking tape prior to painting any background. Now this is where you can run into conflict. Do you paint the whole background, or part, and some of the main subject? Again, this will depend on the subject.

In short, the process I use varies greatly, depending on the subject. No subject is out of bounds to me, except the standard landscape with no life! Don’t get me wrong there are so many amazing landscape artists out there, but I’ll never be one of them.

Terence Rogers