BELCHAM, Leigh [LXB]
I’ve been painting on and off for about 20 years. But it was in 2002, following a move from Coventry to Suffolk, that East Anglia’s waterscapes and wide skies became the inspiration for much of my work – often during time spent sailing on the beautiful River Deben.
However, as you’ll see from more recent paintings, a move back inland to Warwick in 2016 has led me to consider a much wider variety of subjects – from Warwick itself to the USA, North Wales to the Fens.
I’ve always painted using pastels. Not oil pastels, which always remind me of the wax crayons we used as children. I mean chalk pastels, which are sold as either soft or hard.
Unlike watercolour and other paints, chalk pastels are not first mixed on a palette but only after they’ve been applied to the special pastel paper or card. The pigments are satisfyingly direct in their application and don’t fade over time.
Careful blending with a finger or hard India rubber can produce some wonderful cloud effects. Skies are an extremely important part of any landscape, and determine much of what happens elsewhere. Apart from being at least two-thirds of many landscape paintings, each is unique and usually the only part of our planet we haven’t messed up!
Another advantage of pastels is that marks made in error – and there are many – are relatively easy to remove and correct. More than once I’ve even erased an entire painting and started again!
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