FRONT COVER ARTIST

PAINTING PEOPLE in their ENVIRONMENTS

Name: Paul Alcock
Age: 51
Lives: Southend on Sea, Essex
Medium: Oils
Cover Picture: Milsom Street

Did you paint Milsom Street in situ or from a photograph?

I painted it entirely on location, to enter the Plein Air category of the Bath Prize. I've grown to love working directly from the subject whenever I can.

Why did you choose this particular scene?

The competition organisers gave me Milsom Street as my location. I walked up and down and considered different views, but opted for this one as I liked the light and thought it would make a strong composition with its juxtaposition of people and buildings. This was the first time I'd painted in a busy environment with people on the move, but my nerves soon subsided as I got absorbed in the painting process. I spent about 11 hours on the piece over three consecutive days.

Your work is very varied - people, landscapes, boats, nudes, still life – do you have a favourite subject?

I love painting people in their environments. But I'm interested in a range of subjects and love exploring painting in response to the world around me; I follow my instincts and paint what I'm attracted to. I admire artists like Hockney and Picasso who tackle a wide range of subjects in different styles.

What inspires you to paint?
I often find myself mentally composing paintings and stop to make drawings or take photos of something that catches my eye. Drawing and painting from life gives me an opportunity to slow down, stand still and appreciate the beauty of what is in front of me.

When did you start painting?
By the time I was eight I realised I was good at drawing, and got a set of oils when I was 10. I still remember liking the smell of the turps and painting my first picture in oils, of a peacock.

How long have you been a professional artist?
I went to art school in the 1980s and then did various jobs to make a living, some art-related. Ten years ago I started teaching and now combine it with painting as a career. I've met some fascinating people through teaching art and I've enjoyed being able to share my knowledge and love of painting with them.

How and where do you work best?
I used to enjoy working on a large scale in the studio from photos, but a couple of years ago I tried taking my oils to a life drawing session and got such a buzz from painting quick half-hour oil sketches directly from the model that I've gradually moved over to working on a smaller scale and whenever possible working in front of the subject. Often painting sessions are just an hour or two between classes. I always carry a camera and a sketchbook with me so if there isn't time to paint I'll draw. I usually sketch using a fine line pen to which I then add tones with a series of grey brush pens. Lately I've been sketching in a brown paper pad. I've enjoyed starting with a mid tone then adding greys and finally white highlights with a Conté crayon.

What is it that attracts you to oils?
I love the smooth buttery feel of them and the slow drying time. I like the fact that I can pop down a paint mark and leave it as it is or come back later and work more paint in or blend it. It's such a versatile medium and for me by far the easiest to work with.

How long have you been a member of the SAA?
I joined eight years ago because I needed insurance for running my workshops. Last year being a member brought me the unique opportunity of painting live during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Thames River Pageant where I was one of 20 SAA artists selected to paint on the Millennium Bridge as part of the BBC's coverage of the event. I've also had the opportunity to build relationships with many new students and art groups in Essex who have made contact with me via the SAA.

To enjoy more paintings by Paul and to find out about his teaching activities visit www.paulalcock.co.uk or his saa webpages at www.saa.co.uk/art/paulalcock


FRONT COVER ARTIST

PAINTING PEOPLE in their ENVIRONMENTS

Name: Paul Alcock
Age: 51
Lives: Southend on Sea, Essex
Medium: Oils
Cover Picture: Milsom Street

Did you paint Milsom Street in situ or from a photograph?

I painted it entirely on location, to enter the Plein Air category of the Bath Prize. I've grown to love working directly from the subject whenever I can.

Why did you choose this particular scene?

The competition organisers gave me Milsom Street as my location. I walked up and down and considered different views, but opted for this one as I liked the light and thought it would make a strong composition with its juxtaposition of people and buildings. This was the first time I'd painted in a busy environment with people on the move, but my nerves soon subsided as I got absorbed in the painting process. I spent about 11 hours on the piece over three consecutive days.

Your work is very varied - people, landscapes, boats, nudes, still life – do you have a favourite subject?

I love painting people in their environments. But I'm interested in a range of subjects and love exploring painting in response to the world around me; I follow my instincts and paint what I'm attracted to. I admire artists like Hockney and Picasso who tackle a wide range of subjects in different styles.

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