I am very passionate about producing high-quality, conservation-grade paintings that will stand the test of time. To achieve this, I only use the best oil paint and canvas, with each painting carefully supported in a bespoke frame.
The oil paints I use are premium quality and very high in saturated pigments, giving unique rich colours. These top-grade oil paints have been carefully blended using the best pigments bound together with as few additives as possible, usually just poppy or linseed oil, ensuring longevity and stable colours.
I work in impasto with a palette knife, using paint direct from the tube without thinning it down with solvents or binders. I believe in working with paint in its purest form – this enables me to create very vibrant and tactile paintings. As my final product is so durable, I can leave the surface unglazed and unvarnished, so the colours are as immediate and impactful as you can get.
It can take many months for the oil paints to dry, although this depends on the particular pigment as they all have different drying qualities. Because I layer the paint on so thickly, I have to work more slowly than many of my peers, sometimes waiting for up to a year before I can ship a painting, but I believe the impactful texture is worth the wait. The durability of the finished surface, once dried, also means that a painting will last for many centuries if it is well looked after.
I use linen bespoke canvases made for me in Northern Ireland, which have been primed especially for oil paint. The wooden stretchers are of poplar and have stretcher wedges secured at each joint at the back of the canvas allowing for re-stretching (i.e. changing the tension of the canvas) if required. Re-stretching might be needed when a painting is housed in a different location where the temperature and humidity are very different. This is just the natural materials of the canvas adjusting, but this rarely happens and can be simply rectified. By using premium canvases that allow for this, I am safe-guarding my paintings against any potential future problems caused by their environment. Buying a painting is an investment, and I take pride in the fact that my work is a quality product.
I hand-make all my own solid-wood frames in my workshop, cutting the wood to size, carefully fitting it together and painting each one ready for hanging. This enables me to have full control over quality and finish. Currently I paint the frames in a high-quality eggshell wood paint in a neutral, off-white shade, which I find complements my vibrant saturated colours. I aim to make frames that look classic and timeless, that will enhance my paintings for many years to come.
Made to last
The majority of paintings will get irreparably damaged if they are hung in certain environments, like kitchens or sunny rooms. Many mediums, like watercolour or coloured inks, will fade in strong light, while paper surfaces will buckle if they are hung anywhere near steam or moisture.
My paintings are different. Because they are made from light-fast, durable oil paints and high-end canvases and frames, they are very resilient. My paintings are made for living with, and I have them in every room of my house, including a south-facing sunroom and my kitchen. But it is wise to add here that some pigments are considered toxic when digested and it is advisable not to let children pick away at the paint of any painting just in case it ends up where it shouldn’t. This is nothing new as oil paints have been around for a very long time adorning people’s houses, but we know so much more nowadays about materials and their content. Which is all for the good.
Very occasionally, I might have to give a painting a little gentle dusting, then I would use a soft 2cm artist’s brush and go with the paint direction, gently removing any dust that might have built up. And if needs be, a soft cloth slightly dampened with water and gently applied would remove any residues that might have accidently found their way on to the paint layers. My paintings are designed to last and to be passed down over the generations, so they should bring you joy for many years to come.