MEET THE FRIEND – George Grayland
When did you start painting?
Other than my art O level and a single oil painting many years ago, it was only on holidays in France that I managed a few watercolours. My first paints/paper came from a French supermarket as an impulse buy. I still have my first watercolour painting. After a few annual holidays I started attending adult evening classes and that went on for many years. It was both a break from work and encouraged me to paint regularly even if it was only a couple of hours a week. More recently, I added in the occasional painting holiday. My idea was one day to have more time to paint regularly.
What led you to start painting AGAIN?
After retirement I put my idea into action and have been a regular painter over the last few years.
How long have you been a Friend of the SEAW and what attracted you to join?
I became a Friend of the SEAW in September 2017 after attending a Stephie Butler workshop in July that year. One of Stephie’s workshops back in 2014 was one of my earlier painting holidays.
What subject matter do you like to paint?
I find I go through phases on subjects but enjoy most subjects except landscapes !
Initially a lot of my evening classes focussed on still-life but I have more recently concentrated on wildlife and am now very much in a portrait phase.
Do you have a preference for a painting style? If so, can you describe it?
My preference is to paint quite loosely with lots of water and with quite contemporary colours.
Are you a pure watercolourist? Or do you include other mediums in your paintings?
Other than masking I normally stick to pure watercolour pigments and water but am happy to experiment. I am particularly interested in using and creating different surfaces for watercolour so have tried everything from clay to canvas and am still finding new surfaces.
Where do you paint? At home? Studio? Outside?
I have a small area in the conservatory at home that has become my studio. It has lots of light and is normally warm enough for my work to dry relatively quickly. I also paint at the SEAW Atelier days and hope to keep attending workshops and events.
Which artists inspire you and why?
I particularly like the portraits of Jean-Luc Decron, a French watercolourist, and I like the rather abstract portraits by Benjamin Bjorklund. Jean-Luc uses great colour combinations, is loose yet captures lots of emotion and detail in his work.
What galleries do you like to visit?
I think the Royal Academy is my favourite gallery, but I also like The Mall Galleries and always seem to end up at Bankside when I am in London.
Where would you really like to travel to and paint? What is it about this place that inspires you?
As I am usually painting from photos or sitters then the place is less important. That said, I love the light in southern France which is always so inspiring.
What is your favourite colour to paint with?
I think I would have to say Rose Madder but Manganese Blue Hue is a close second. I was introduced to both colours by David Poxon during a workshop and have loved them ever since.
What is your favourite brush?
A pure squirrel Pro-Arte Series 50. I have both a large and a medium and I swap between them. At the same David Poxon workshop, I watched someone achieve huge washes with this brush while I struggled to cover half the sheet. After getting one I was hooked as they hold an amazing amount of water/paint mixture.
Do you have any artistic successes or achievements that you would like to share with readers?
I think it is only in the last few months that I have produced work that I am now happy with. I had a piece selected for Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Week in February and am looking forward to being able to share more of my work over the coming months. I have quite an enthusiastic Instagram following but I think watercolours need to be seen in person rather than on-line as they are difficult to photograph in a way that captures the light, which is the whole point.
I will have pieces this year in The Bury St Edmunds Art Society exhibition in July and hopefully others.
What is the best piece of advice you were ever given about art?
I was not given this, but it would be my key learning. Borrow relentlessly!
I have taken many techniques/tips/ideas from teachers/others over my watercolour journey, always given freely. Some I have learned from ‘accidents’ by myself.
I try to make every painting an experiment in something new and keep moving my painting forward.
- Instagram: @graylandart
- Also a member of Bury St Edmunds Art Society