AN EXHIBITION OF ARTWORK AT NEVILL HALL HOSPITAL (AUGUST-OCTOBER 2018)
SAATCHI GALLERY MAGAZINE – AUTUMN 2016
by the country
(Feature from Wales and Borders Magazine)
Phil was born and raised in Brecon, Powys, and has lived a double life as a theatre director and an artist for many years. He now lives between Brecon and Llangors Lake.
Brecon Beacons from Talgarth
“I was returning over the back road from Hay Literary Festival when I saw this view, stopped the car, and painted it on the spot. I was just parked in a layby looking at the view thinking how beautiful it is. I’m fascinated by foregrounds – how they lead you into a picture to tell the story.”
I work half as a visual artist and half as a theatre driector. I can’t do one without the other – they feed each other. The joy of being a visual artist is you’re not dependent on anyone else, and I can just sit in a field and make my own art. That solitude is something very precious to me. Being brought up in mid-Wales, I’ve realised how important the landscape of Brecon and the borders are to me. I love cities and I go all over the world working, but my heart comes back to Wales and the borders every time – it’s at the heart of me and is a very important part of my life. Wherever I’m working, my art equipment is always in the car with me.
Journey along the River Severn
“This is a monoprint – a one-off, as no two monoprints are ever the same. You don’t know how it will look until the very end, which is fantastic. Your heart is in your mouth. I become like a child in a sweet shop. The picture’s from a journey along the really tidal part of the Severn from Newport to Gloucester. The light on it was just glorious as the sun rose in the morning.”
“Twelve years ago I broke my ankle and was housebound for six weeks. That’s when I started seriously painting flowers and I became obsessed with it. It allowed me to deal with colour in strong ways, using the medium of acrylic, gouache and watercolour. On this occasion everything I picked from the hedgerows was pink. I love walking along and saying, ‘I’ll do a yellow walk, or a green walk,’ – you look at hedgerows in a different way.”
Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal
“The walks along the canal are just beautiful. Painting canals is like painting a mirror, as opposed to a river, which moves and changes all the time. Autumn around here is just glorious. I find the colours so emotional and breathtaking.”
Towards Llangors Lake from Llangynidr Mountain
“It’s an enormous, breathtaking view from the mountain. As I was driving over I had to stop and paint there and then. This is about the enormity of landscape, and trying to capture that on paper is a real challenge. This is painted with gouache – an opaque watercolour – on black paper. It’s my preferred style because you’re dealing with solid colour that dries immediately. You see colour straight away and if you make a mistake it’s easy to put right.”
More from Phil