Artist of the Month: David Wiseman

We are delighted to introduce March’s Artist of the Month, David Wiseman. After leaving the Royal College of Art in 1975, David has exhibited widely both individually and in group exhibitions including shows at New Contemporaries, John Moores, RA Summer Exhibition and the Serpentine Gallery. His work is represented in private collections in all parts of the world and has completed 8 major public art works including large scale murals at Charing Cross, Frimley Park and Royal London and Ealing Hospitals.

We sat down with David to find out more about his work and process. Read the interview in full below and catch him taking over our Instagram 26th -30th March for ARTIQ Artist of the Month! Follow @ARTIQgram here.

Has any place or environment affected your work?
My work is dominated by places in the landscape that I love. Although spending a lot of time in Devon and the south coast I am equally inspired by local tree lined rivers and parklands close to my Ealing home. My paintings are about the rich contrasting elements in the landscape. The tree which takes on many guises in my paintings is often used as a contrast to the rivers and streams that have recently dominated my work. The relationship between the complex, crowded river bank and the fluid light and movement of the water is often an important part of my painting. There is a small wooded river in Ealing that has all the rich complex beauty that is enough for a thousand paintings.

Take us through the lifespan of creating a work of art.
Most of my works on canvas are made entirely in the studio whereas most of the works on paper are made outside in the landscape. The drawings are an important gathering together of information and are works in their own right. I never make a painting from a finished drawing. It is too tempting then to merely imitate , losing that initial spark the early stages of the painting need. I prefer to use quick sketches, photographs and memory to inform the paintings The paintings are started on the floor with a series of freely drawn, overlaid calligraphic marks, stains and textures using a wide variety of tools, roller, scraper, sponge, hand and a wide variety of brushes. The painting is then taken off the floor and stretched onto  its stretcher, which I always make myself. I have never bought a made up canvas. It is then worked on the wall sometimes for days, weeks or months depending on the painting.

How does material/medium inform your practice?
I have a real affinity with the physical stuff of paint and how it is applied. I use acrylic paint in all its many guises, tube, pot, and also make my own paint direct from pigment using a wide variety of acrylic mediums. As with most media, acrylic paint is at its best when its great variety and diversity is exploited fully. Acrylic paint is more like a robust version of watercolour rather than quick drying imitator of oil paint that many mistake it for. The quick drying aspect of acrylic should be exploited , allowing ease of overlaying glazes and marks.

I have used both acrylic and oil in my time , one is not better than the other but just very different. The superbly versatile medium of acrylic is best suited to my methods which involve the gradual accumulative layering of transparent stains and glazes. The surface is built up slowly, layer upon layer allowing the painting to reflect the glow and intense varied light of the landscape. Acrylic can be fluid and dilute for the calligraphic exploratory marks yet thick and opaque for flatter colours and for the later adjustments and fine details. Colour is made often by laying down transparent layers one above another creating new colours which mix on the canvas. I sometimes make a mark and bury it under several layers of thin paint as a stone may be seen through the rivers depths.

What artists have influenced your practice?
Of course the whole history of art has influenced my practice but there have been some more important for example Braque,  Ivon Hitchens, Miro, Bryan Wynter, Patrick Heron, Michael Honnor, Bonnard etc etc. although perhaps the most important influences have been from my contemporaries and friends throughout my career.

What’s the last exhibition you saw that made an impact on you?
Picasso 1932 at Tate Modern. Wonderful, celebratory, passionate, complex uplifting  How paint is transformed into visual poetry.

What is the one thing you cannot live without?
My family, my art and my studio. (I suppose that’s more than one thing!)

What art do you, or would you, collect?
Almost all the painting and sculpture  I have at home is  work I have swapped with friends and fellow artists whose work I love and respect. This is the best way of acquiring art for an artist.

What advice would you give a younger you?
Never be discouraged by making bad work. Indeed you have to make mistakes and experiment with inevitable failures before you can make good work. Not taking risks , especially early on means that you are only going to make work safely within your comfort zone. Love every minute of making art because it soon flashes by!