In the Picture

Roy Lang

In this issue we step into the studio of artist Roy Lang as he talks about his artistic journey

My interest in art started after watching Alwyn Crawshaw’s series on television, but it was when I saw the work of the late, great seascape artist E John Robinson that I was really hooked! I believe it’s a great advantage to have an understanding of and passion for your subject, and suddenly I had found a way of combining my love and knowledge of the sea with a potential new hobby.

After many hours of developing my techniques I became a member of the SAA, but little did I realise at that point that my membership fee would take me on a journey to a new career. In 2000 I was encouraged by the SAA to take part in the Artist of the Year competition, which I won! The judges had seen something in me that I could not and would not recognise myself.

It was only when I won again, in 2002, that I realised I had been given a golden opportunity that had to be taken - well you can’t rush into these things! Turning my hobby into a living has been interesting and rewarding, combining painting, demonstrating, and tutoring. But it’s definitely not as relaxing as when it was just a hobby. When I paint in my studio at home I often have music on, which stops me from tightening up my work. I have found that there has to be a fine balance between concentration and what I can only describe as fluidity of the mind, brush strokes and subsequently the paint.

So I go for stirring, dynamic classical music for a stormy sea or something more calming for a sunset beach. Working in your studio can be very isolating, so this is when I have Hancock, the Goons, or a play on Radio 4 extra to pass the time, but there are other days when I just want silence. I used to think that artists’ block was just bone idleness, but now I realise it’s a very real phenomenon, and one that becomes worse by forcing myself to sit at the easel and try to paint.

Inspiration can come from spending time observing a subject, or just diversion of my mind, but whatever I try it will take its own time. Sometimes I find that a really good sort out of my working area (which is not as roomy as I would ideally like) subsequently de-clutters my mind, which can start the flow again. Because my studio space is limited, I have had to make and adapt things to maximise the area. My easel fits onto a substantial chest of drawers in which I store materials, and my brush cleaning pots are set into my easel to eliminate the possibility of spillage, with a daylight lamp positioned over the easel.

I have designed the easel clamps to hold box canvases in a way that I can paint all four edges without obstruction, and have at times used a mirror to illuminate and view the edges when working a large canvas.

To minimise the smell of the most recent work I have a unit in the garden where I store canvases during work and on completion for a few days.

As well as wall space in there, I have made a storage system much like an angled toast rack, to avoid marking the face of each painting.

My subject matter comes from many sources: reality, memory, imagination, and mood, and inspiration comes from observation of the sea or seeing a new combination of colours. Reflections and refractions are predominant in seascapes, and I observe and study these a great deal in water and on any wet surfaces elsewhere.

I like to get up close to my work, but because of my subject matter, my medium and the perspective I use in the paintings, working on a beach or on wet rocks is not only dangerous, but impractical. The easel sinks in the wet sand, there’s the problem of wind-blown sand and sea spray, and you really don’t want to try walking along a windswept cliff top or across rocks with a canvas tucked under your arm acting like a sail!

Because of this I find sketching and photographs very useful reference materials, and I have a number of ways to study aspects that may only occur in the blink of the eye. All in all it is much easier to do my work in a studio rather than en plein air.

I have tried to explore different subjects and mediums other than oil, but when I’m regularly working towards exhibitions I don’t want to commit myself to them. Commercially it’s a chicken or egg situation for me with the changing economic climate, which is something that I can’t ignore.

I have noticed a widening gap between sales of small lower priced work, and sales at the upper end where people are also thinking of art as an investment. But putting all that aside, for me art is such an important part of my life that I can’t imagine not painting.

To enjoy more paintings by Roy and to
find out about his demonstrations and
workshop visit www.roylangartist.com


In the Picture

Roy Lang

In this issue we step into the studio of artist Roy Lang as he talks about his artistic journey

My interest in art started after watching Alwyn Crawshaw’s series on television, but it was when I saw the work of the late, great seascape artist E John Robinson that I was really hooked! I believe it’s a great advantage to have an understanding of and passion for your subject, and suddenly I had found a way of combining my love and knowledge of the sea with a potential new hobby.

After many hours of developing my techniques I became a member of the SAA, but little did I realise at that point that my membership fee would take me on a journey to a new career. In 2000 I was encouraged by the SAA to take part in the Artist of the Year competition, which I won! The judges had seen something in me that I could not and would not recognise myself.

It was only when I won again, in 2002, that I realised I had been given a golden opportunity that had to be taken - well you can’t rush into these things! Turning my hobby into a living has been interesting and rewarding, combining painting, demonstrating, and tutoring. But it’s definitely not as relaxing as when it was just a hobby. When I paint in my studio at home I often have music on, which stops me from tightening up my work. I have found that there has to be a fine balance between concentration and what I can only describe as fluidity of the mind, brush strokes and subsequently the paint.

So I go for stirring, dynamic classical music for a stormy sea or something more calming for a sunset beach. Working in your studio can be very isolating, so this is when I have Hancock, the Goons, or a play on Radio 4 extra to pass the time, but there are other days when I just want silence.

I used to think that artists’ block was just bone idleness, but now I realise it’s a very real phenomenon, and one that becomes worse by forcing myself to sit at the easel and try to paint.

Inspiration can come from spending time observing a subject, or just diversion of my mind, but whatever I try it will take its own time. Sometimes I find that a really good sort out of my working area (which is not as roomy as I would ideally like) subsequently de-clutters my mind, which can start the flow again. Because my studio space is limited, I have had to make and adapt things to maximise the area. My easel fits onto a substantial chest of drawers in which I store materials, and my brush cleaning pots are set into my easel to eliminate the possibility of spillage, with a daylight lamp positioned over the easel.

I have designed the easel clamps to hold box canvases in a way that I can paint all four edges without obstruction, and have at times used a mirror to illuminate and view the edges when working a large canvas.

To enjoy more paintings by Roy and to
find out about his demonstrations and
workshop visit www.roylangartist.com

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