MEET THE FRIEND – Ian King
Other art societies you belong to:
Wisbech Art Society – I was President for several years, but resigned due to ill- health in 2010.
When did you start painting?
I was born in the Yorkshire Dales. Both my parents were painters, so my identical twin brother and I were raised in a perfect setting to learn painting at an early age. We grew up amongst fabulous scenery with loads of art materials at hand watching and learning from their skilled usage by our parents. The perfect creative start!
What led you to start painting AGAIN?
I left The Dales to study in Norwich, training to be an Art Teacher. I studied for 3 years visiting the Norwich Castle Art Gallery whenever possible – the works of The Norwich School of Painters being on permanent display. I was particularly drawn back to the works of John Crome, who began the Norwich School, and of his Successor, the famous John Sell Cotman. Their wide, open skies were a sharp contrast to my own Yorkshire Dales.
The Art of the Early 18th Century changed dramatically by those who studied together in Norwich and Norfolk , and began the watercolour developments for painters for years to come.
This was my future destiny! I stayed in Norfolk working as an Art teacher for many years. My move to become a full time painter was made possible by winning the Landscape Prize at Britains Painters 88 exhibition, at the Mall Galleries in London. I became a Product Demonstrator and Consultant for the French Company Canson and Arches Papers. I demonstrated painting throughout Britain, and at most of the major art shows.
What subject matter do you like to paint?
I paint in watercolour combined with ink drawings for most subjects. My favourite subjects are estuaries, creeks, boats and reflections. I like to paint architecture with loose washes, lined out with a stick and ink.
Do you have a preference for a painting style? If so, can you describe it?
My favourite method is my own “ 7 stage Landscapes and Seascapes “ I use a palette of the 5 earth colours plus 3 blues . This palette helps me to create opacity and transparency. I deploy opaque foregrounds and transparent backgrounds to show depth and distance, after the style of The Norwich School of Watercolour.
Are you a pure watercolourist? Or do you include other mediums in your paintings?
Usually, I use as few materials as possible to retain sharpness and light . Stick and Ink or a brush handle to engrave wet colour if needed. I allow myself about 5 minutes a stage. Over 7 stages that gives me a maximum of 35 minutes maximum working time, which helps to stop the painting becoming overworked, keeps the light and transparency in the background , and the opacity for solid forms in the foreground. This is a good technique to keep your work light and clean and to show depth.
Where do you paint? At home? Studio? Outside?
Everywhere I can and as often as I can. My work has taken me out on frequent filming trips where I got used to working fast and simply. Looking intensely first, painting alla prima as my favourite style, stops fiddling! The paint goes on and stays on, and remains clear.
Which artists inspire you and why?
Painters who change style and method when the subject demands it. This is not easily achieved away from your comfort zone but brings results to learn from! Painting is always evolving. Personally I stick to a palette of 8 colours only.
I admire those who leave their ‘comfort zone’ and try using an experimental approach.
What galleries do you like to visit?
Galleries that promote good painting, good display, and show respect for their artists work,and effort.
Where would you really like to travel to and paint? What is it about this place that inspires you?
I am very fortunate, I have tutored painting groups throughout Britain, In Normandy, Brittany, Venice, Delft, The Lake District, Scotland and my favourite of all – on Thames Spritsail-Sailing Barges at Sea .
What is your favourite colour to paint with?
French Ultramarine. It has strength, is clean and granulates fabulously for landscapes. It has remarkable capabilities, makes fabulous clean greens, and mixes to make spectacular skies!
What is your favourite brush?
Nothing beats my French Quill Mops … best brush ever created. They have the capacity to carry lots of wet content and come to a fine point. They put colour on lively and loosely …. and are a joy to use! But – keep them away from moths – they are a ready meal!
Do you have any artistic successes or achievements that you would like to share with readers?
Over the years my work with the public has led to my working with teaching art through the publication of several books and DVD’s.
It has also provided me with hours of working in TV. I have featured in 45 King and Country programmes to date for Anglia TV. Making these involved long hours and days, but it was such fun to be working on King and Country spreading the painting message to so many new aspiring painters…..best publicity for painting ever!
What is the best piece of advice you were ever given about art?
Painting is your gift, make it your statement!
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