Philip Smith artwork for sale and artist biography
I grew up in Manchester, North West England, studied graphic art in the early 80's. I had a variety of jobs but was always involved in the arts in some ways in my spare time, usually painting, drawing or photography. The work I created was mainly figurative or landscape.
In the late 90s, I went back to university to study fine art at Manchester Metropolitan University. Here,... I experimented with abstraction but the more I worked, the more I returned to landscape and figuration.
After university, I took a teaching qualification, and taught art for a few years, until the birth of my first daughter. I gave up teaching to concentrate on raising my daughter and painting. Over the intervening years I have been able to hone my style and focus on landscape painting. In some respects these have developed more into "skyscapes". I also brought figuration into the landscape setting. As a counterpoint to the big, empty landscapes and skyscapes, I have also focused on cityscapes. Even though by definition the subject matter is cluttered;, I see them as essentially the same, using the backgrounds as an alternative narrative.
I paint in a near abstract way, working often without reference, creating from imagination, from memory; balancing colour, shape, tone and rhythm, trying to capture a transience, a certain mood. I work quite slowly, building the painting from a black or blue base, applying layers of decreasingly thick paint, until finally, on the topmost layer, it is often scrubbed on almost dry, to create a soft almost bruised look to the image.
I have certain themes - leaving, returning, uncertainty. There is often a loss to the characters that inhabit the landscapes, an introspection, a poignancy. They are like characters from scenes of which we are all familiar. I like to think their narrative is undetermined. The story is theirs. We may guess at their story, but we do not know. We may see them, but we cannot be sure.
Often the title will give an idea to the scene, but that is often more a starting point than a prescriptive, decisive outcome. A painting called "The Homecoming" only really tells the viewer that a character is in the process of return. Where they have been, what has brought them back and what welcome will greet them on their return, only they know, and they are not telling...