They say a picture tells a thousand words. In addition to a synopsis of my personal background I’ve added some relevant images. It’s not strictly a pictorial biography, it's my character, likes and interests expressed in pictures.
In 2018, Disenchanted with corporate and unrewarding job roles I decided to become self employed and adopted a back to basics approach to life in order to peruse my creative aspirations.
I was born in Cambridge and currently live just outside the city bordering the Fens. The relative tranquility is conducive to painting but I don't find the level horizons and large skies particularly inspiring to paint. Devoid of significant geological features, compositions without man made elements tend to be rather generic. I do occasionally paint some local scenes and they can be viewed in the galleries section.
I've always been creative. Being enthusiastic about art and craft related disciplines, its no surprise I followed the typical academic path of studying art, fine art and design. I don’t recall compulsory education or A Level Fine Art being particularly educational. Drawing endless ‘still life’ bowls of fruit while tutors covertly worked on private art commissions was hardly an arena for creativity and perpetual improvement but I guess it did kindle my recognisable creative style.
Post A level education I worked for an engineering company as a Design Engineer/Draughtsman. After 3 years and the transition from drawing board to CAD the profession had totally changed so I looked to broaden my horizons by studying design at the University of Salford.
My degree specialised in Design Management and 3D Product Design. Working and studying in these fields to tight tolerances and accuracy have been influences on my creative style and are still highly evident in the work I produce today. I tend to only work in a loose technique if I’m sketching or in a rush but I may have a dabble at a different technique at some point.
In addition to painting I also like to design and make my own furniture and 'Tiffany' style stained glass lamps. In the future I'd like to further my craft skills by diversifying into ceramics, blacksmithing and metal casting. I also like gardening, cycling, and spending time at the RSPB Nature Reserve in the village.
The majority of my works are a celebration of the match day experience and of stadium architecture. These tribal, passion fuelled occasions are always atmospheric, They are entertaining, euphoric, frustrating, disappointing and an outlet for primitive emotion. The significance of football and other sports in popular culture is truly phenomenal and its importance to some is epitomised by the great Bill Shankly. “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that”.
I have plenty of ideas for future paintings, football related, sport related and otherwise so I shall be sharing news and new artwork on my website blog and my andrewrobinsonart Instagram account on a regular basis.
I hope you enjoy looking at my work. Thank you for showing an interest in me and my art.
BLACK CAT MAKERS MARK
Craftspeople and artisans have incorporated maker’s marks to their finished work for thousands of years and are some of the earliest forms of trademarking.
Makers marks are created to help identify different artists and craftsmen’s work and to also ensure the pieces authenticity. Whether complex or simple in design the mark reveals the who, what, when, where and how of the finished piece.
Some of the earliest examples of makers marks have been found on ancient Greek pottery but they've been adopted by artists, jewellers, metal workers, stonemasons and woodworkers etc throughout the ages.
In each of my paintings you will find my black cat makers mark. He’s not always in the same pose or the same size. Sometimes he’s clearly visible and sometimes obscured but he is evident in every piece of my work. Find him if you can.
Every artist has their own personal preferences/favourites when it comes to the materials and tools they use.
Most of my preferences are chosen on a range of criteria which include, performance, usability, durability, results, and cost/value for money.
As with most things, what suits one person won’t necessarily suit another so this is purely an insight into what I use and why. If I was to impart any advice regarding materials and tools I would recommend that you buy the best you can afford. If you select products from the long established brands you do generally get what you pay for.
Its easy to purchase materials online but I like to also support my nearest art shop. There's nothing better than physically choosing and comparing products. Decent art shops with staff that have good product knowledge are getting thin on the ground so its a case of use it or lose it.
I’ve experimented with various papers and my personal favourite is Saunders Waterford (Hot Pressed).
Saunders Waterford is the superior quality watercolour paper made at St. Cuthbert’s Mill in Wells, Somerset and it comes with the Royal Watercolour Society’s endorsement.
Made from 100% cotton and sized with gelatine it’s resilient to rubbing out pencil, reworking gouache paint, applying masking fluid and tape.
Apart from using a wash for some skies I work in quite a dry manner. Such is the stability of the paper there is negligible cockling (wrinkling) so I don’t bother with the whole drama of pre stretching the paper.
GOUACHE & WATERCOLOUR PAINT
The unique characteristics of gouache, (opaque, water based, matt finish, bold, and vibrant) are just what I’m after in my works.
I use Winsor & Newton Designers Gouache as it has a high pigment content and is easy to use. The best gouache paints are manufactured with high amounts of quality pigments to gain their opacity. Cheaper gouache, made with lower quantity/quality pigments are made opaque by the addition of white extenders like calcium carbonate (Chalk). This decreases the potential colour palette and vibrancy of colours.
Due to the high pigment content, each individual paint colour in Winsor & Newtons range does perform slightly differently when mixing, applying and drying but knowledge is gained with experience.
On occasions I use a little Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colour when applying sky washes for greater translucency as its finer.
I use a mixture of brushes for all my works. (Synthetic, Goat, Squirrel, Sable, and Kolinsky Sable)
Daler Rowney Aquafine (Synthetic)
Daler Rowney Aquafine (Sable)
Winsor & Newton Cotman (Synthetic)
Winsor & Newton Professional Water Colour (Pure Squirrel)
Winsor & Newton Series 7 (Kolinsky Sable)
I’m not overly precious about brushes when working with Gouache. Kolinsky sable brushes are the nicest to use but I can’t square the price differential v’s performance and results, especially in the larger brush sizes.
I favour replacing synthetic brushes on regular basis to ensure a sharp point and greater accuracy rather than spending a fortune on a single brush with maybe only a 5% performance advantage.