Meet Kent Life Landscape Painter winner Peter Day
- Credit: Archant
Winner of the Kent Life Landscape Painter competition, Peter Day, on his art and inspiration
Peter Day is a familiar figure in Broadstairs, having displayed his paintings on the railings for the past 20 years.
Winner of the recent Kent Life Landscape Painter competition, Peter has had several local mixed exhibitions, plus a one-man exhibition at various libraries. He has also won a competition at the House of Lords. His work is on view at the Harbourside Gallery in Ramsgate.
Peter has been in Broadstairs for 30 years, having moved from Hayes in Middlesex. He has worked in the paper and printing industries, after doing a degree in Chemistry, and he studied Art at O- and A-level, but had no subsequent training.
On the subject of formal art training, he says: “Art is a practical skill and skill comes from ‘doing’. Nowhere is the saying ‘those that can do, those that can’t teach’ more true.”
His study is a small, rather untidy box room, shared with computer, printer and scanner with a north-facing window. In the evening he uses a daylight lamp and a tungsten lamp, preferring to paint in the morning en plein air.
Peter used oils for 25 years before discovering watercolour. His oil paintings were always painted outside in situ, usually quite large pieces of 20 x 30 inches and they took about three hours.
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He adds: “I was inspired to change by a TV series with Alwyn Crawshaw, A Brush with Art. My watercolours, again mostly done outside, only take an hour or two. I guess I have become less patient and watercolour is more direct and spontaneous. Many people say my paintings remind them of the old railway posters.”
Despite the dearth of formal art training, Peter has always painted, and sold his first oil painting to his headmaster at the age of 14. To the question of how long a painting takes, despite his earlier answer, he declares: “This one has taken 67 years (his age) and the next one will certainly take longer.” So a lifetime apprenticeship, then!
Peter’s style is impressionistic: “Paintings shouldn’t be photographic. I paint anything and everything and am as pleased to paint a house or a dog.”
But a good painting has to have the elements of the hand, the head and the heart. “If it’s just the hand, it’s craft. If it is just the head, it is not anything, it needs the heart, it needs you in it.”
Painting on Saunders Waterford 300 gsm Not, Half Imperial Rag watercolour paper, Peter mounts these on 20 x 30 frames, which allows him to change frames as required for his seafront exhibitions.
He paints outside with a board on his lap. Often so absorbed that he gets totally cold, Peter rejects people’s comments that the work must be “so relaxing.”
Somewhat circumspect about the nature of his projects, he says: “I have an idea where I am going, a particular beach for instance, and I will look for the best view depending on where the sun is, or the light. Yesterday it was very grey, but atmospheric.”
But he has also said “I don’t do projects, my art is instantaneous” and also admits to doing series of sketches. For instance, on a recent trip to Como in Italy, there were plans for paintings, comprised of his sketches.
Peter enjoys colour and when pressed, says he likes to use violet as his neutral colour, and while admitting it can be overpowering, he finds it “a lovely mixer with blue and green.”
For him, art is important, but he notes that many walk past his exhibitions without even stopping to look.
On the other hand, his advice to students is just to paint. “That is how you learn. Be yourself, don’t copy. Interesting is what you should try to achieve, not accuracy.”
His list of artistic heroes includes David Curtis, Alvaro Castagnet, Trevor Chamberlain and John Yardley, and he believes that the art being produced today is the finest that has ever been painted.
His future plans are to continue his seafront exhibitions in Broadstairs, where Kent Life readers can see his work.
Get in touch
Contact Peter to see his work on 01843 862885, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.peterdayartist.com