Monday, July 10, 2017

an interview with artist mj forster

M J Forster is an established British water-colorist. Born in 1975, he has drawn and painted since childhood. With no formal education in the arts, he is self taught and still learning.

Having traveled extensively, he has explored a huge range of subjects in both traditional and abstract styles.

Currently working from his Studio Gallery in Hexham Northumberland, he is currently engrossed in the development of watercolor as the ultimate medium of both technical innovation and total expression.

When did you start painting?

My first memory was drawing a Brio train at around age 3. I suppose I’ve always been an artist. I just love the focus that being creative gives me and the way the time passes. So I used to draw and copy everything I saw. I started painting in watercolor when I was 12 and sold my first painting a year later for £25. That was 1988; I never really looked back from there.

What kind of materials do you use primarily for your work?
I have used a variety of materials over the years. I think I really know what I’m doing now and my materials have naturally reduced down to just three primary colors, a range of brush sizes, a pencil and rubber, lots of paper towels and the stretched paper itself. Oh... and a hair dryer to speed things up a little. You really need nothing more.

What is your work space like?
I have a studio gallery in Northumberland. My studio is fairly small and yes a little messy. The main requirement with watercolor is simply natural light. It’s crucial to gaining consistency with  the colors.

How has your art changed over the years?
My art changes all the time. I really paint for my own enjoyment. It just so happens that people like most of what I do. I’m perhaps best known for landscape painting although my real and increasing love is for more abstract work that reflects the same contrasts in light and tone that my landscape work does. Currently I’m producing a very limited hand made artist's book on this work that I’m crowd funding on Kick Starter (here is a link to my latest campaign). 

What / who are you inspired by artistically?

I'm always inspired by new ways of thinking and anyone who is brave and experimental. I've always been a big fan of the impressionists. It is hard to appreciate now how radical the changes they made to painting were. It’s hard to conceive of such a dramatic shift again. I recently saw a small collection of Seurat's Work and was astounded at the level of detail involved. They were simply incredible.

How do you know when your work is done?
Knowing when a piece is finished is the hardest thing. Many of my landscapes arguably aren't. It's easy to ruin a watercolor with just that final stroke. My recent color contrast work has a far more definite conclusion to each piece. Although I increasingly don't view a single painting in isolation. They are all linked to the previous works and the possibilities involved with the next on, this is what keeps me painting.

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