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April 2002
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  Talking art
  Emma Devlin interviews Welshpaintings artist Neil Robertson  
Conwy Castle, evening by Neil Robertson
Watercolour, 1996
View paintings by Neil Robertson

Lake, oil, 2002


The Spire, oil, 1995



Emma Devlin: When and how did you develop your love for art, and has it always been a lifelong ambition to be an artist?
Neil Robertson:
It began too long ago to remember. I always drew maps and stuff as part of childhood adventures. As for ambition, I would like to paint a painting that speaks as strongly to me as it does to others.

ED: Which artists have inspired you and who influence your work?
Turner is the main one. He may be very out of date now, but in his day he was radical. He used to have himself tied to masts of ships for hours during storms so he could really see and feel what was going on. We have it easy these days. I have a car and can be anywhere in no time. Back in the 18 hundreds going anywhere was a major undertaking. And yet he produced thousands of paintings - it is that level of commitment which I really admire. I also love the less geometric works of Mondrian, such as The Red Tree.

ED: How did you gain recognition as an artist?
I'm still working on that. A friend recommended my work to a local gallery, but they closed soon after I began exhibiting there (nothing to do with me I hope!). I now exhibit online which could potentially gain an artist previously unheard of levels of exposure.

ED: How do you maintain your creativity?
I have many channels (painting, song-writing, poetry, graphic design etc) and I suppose one of them is always flowing to some extent, but a real effort is required to get up to speed.

ED: You work mainly in watercolour taking inspiration from the Snowdonian landscape; what other mediums do you work in and what else inspires you?
I've just started a series of paintings based on the prehistoric people of Snowdonia where rather than focusing on the landscape alone, I will take in people and their effect on the land. I'm using oil, often very dilute, on absorbent brown card. These paintings are large and I work by placing the card on the floor. I would like to explore new media - I know of one painting whose media is described as "charcoal, graphite, pastel, acrylic, bitumen, beeswax, straw and flower petals on paper."

ED: How would you describe your style?
I have two main styles, one bold and expressive, the other subtle and delicate, but I would like to get away from the idea of a style as it confers restrictions on what I produce.

ED: Where can we see your work and do you have any exhibitions coming up in the future?
My work can be seen at www.welshpaintings.co.uk, an on-line gallery set up to promote and sell the work of Welsh artists.

ED: Finally, any tips for an up and coming artist? (me!!!!!)
The best advice I've had is to get the brush moving.

welshpaintings 2002 | all paintings copyright of the artist | thanks to Emma Devlin