Until the age of 40 I worked in media but attended a life-drawing class once a week. I almost always worked in charcoal, learning to blend with my fingers, rags and sponges. All my work was monochrome, focusing purely on tone and form.
When I left media I signed up for a one-year course at Heatherleys School of Art in London, where I learnt painting, sculpture and printmaking. At the end of the course I couldn’t face another office job and started to develop my life as an artist – taking on a number of other jobs (decorating, van-driving, anything really) to keep up with the bills.
As my skills developed so did my success and I got a break when I was accepted into a local art gallery in London. Things gradually developed and 5 years ago I could afford to focus all my attention on my art.
My yellow paintings are probably my most popular. The yellow was inspired after decorating the actress Anna Friel’s house. We sat down and chose a Farrow & Ball paint together and I spent a week painting walls with this mustard yellow.
When I’d finished the job I was thinking about introducing colour into my work and tried out some charcoals on paper primed in yellow. It all developed from here and the technique in achieving such a luminous yellow on my recent work is quite intricate (and a secret recipe). ~ Patrick Palmer
Absence 2020 (monochrome) medium resolution
Crying Lightly Graphite (low res)
“Dance” original red chalk
Where Nobody Knows (charcoal)
“Prettiest Girl in Town” Oil Painting. Medium Resolution.
Where Nobody Knows, oil painting
I work from photographs these days as my work can take months. I book an hour’s shoot at a local photography studios with models I like. I usually end up with 3-400 photos of which around 15 may make it to my studio.
I tend to have a number of paintings on the go at any one time as I get bored easily (and stuck sometimes too). I like to think that things I learn from one image can be used on another.
The paintings are built up with loads and loads of very thin layers, they can be quite fiddly and intricate at first but it’s very important to try to keep them looking spontaneous and free.
It’s very important not to just fill a painting in and in my opinion what makes a picture a work of art, is the decisions the maker makes along the way – for example, playing down or omitting unimportant bits and focusing on more important areas. This way you can change the balance of the image – detail from less interesting parts do not compete with the more interesting/important parts. I have learnt that the mind tends to fill in blank parts as long as it is given enough information and knowing the moment when you get to this point is key. The less is more principal.
At the end of each day I use up all my leftover paint on experimental canvases – no restrictions, just playing and experimenting.