A short insight into the artistic side of Andy Beck
Andy is almost totally self-taught with only an O level in Art as his formal training. He mostly uses watercolours at this time but soon hopes to return to some oil painting in his work when time allows.
After completing the major undertaking of The Wainwrights in Colour I am now back to working on a variety of subjects and even an exciting new project or two.
Considering the variety of Andy’s work there is one thing in common with them all – his love of the outdoors, especially the British countryside. From the landscapes of the Scottish high mountains to the studies of the lane side hedgerows all have been observed first hand by Andy ” I tend to paint only what I have studied in the field which I hope gives a sense of authenticity to my work. This means for example that the painting of ptarmigan on a Scottish hill has identifiable references and I can connect with the painting and hopefully pass that on to the observer.”
When ever possible Andy produces simple field sketches with watercolour notes, these are supplemented by photographs which help in the studio to provide extra details. Between the initial sketch and the finished final painting Andy tests out the colour, composition and lighting of an idea by completing a mid-stage sketch, these are the “sketches” that are for sale here on the website. Andy works in both oils and watercolours “certain subjects require the strength of colour and texture that can be achieved with oils whereas watercolours are more suited to the more delicate work.”
Which ever medium, Andy tries to be fairly traditional in his approach using very little body colour in his watercolours letting the paper provide the highlights. “My main aim is to paint a picture that is better than the last.”
Pencil Sketches: These are normally produced quickly in the field to record a subject as a reminder or they are produced in the studio as an initial thumbnail for a full painting. The idea is just use pencil sketches as basic notes.
Watercolour Sketches: If time allows then this stage enables colour notes to be added to field work. No requirement for details, just a sketch to record the hue of the overall scene.
Pen and Ink: This style is not a regular technique for me but it is a discipline which I enjoy. I have used this recently to try and understand the way Wainwright worked when he illustrated the Pictorial Guides.
Watercolour Painting: This is my normal medium which I use almost all the time. I don’t claim to be the best artist but watercolour continues to be a learning curve for me. All of the work for The Wainwrights in Colour has been produced in watercolour.
Oil Painting: I enjoy using oils as the strength of colour lends itself to many subjects. It has been some time since I used oils and hope to get back to them shortly.
Andy enjoys portraying the wildlife and landscapes that he observes on his travels throughout the country. As you would expect, many of these landscapes feature the high and remote uplands of the UK.
“Of course it would be easy here to fill space with artistic waffle of how I like to capture the light and sense of space etc. but to be honest I hope that my artwork speaks for itself and I would rather you just go and take a look and hopefully enjoy my efforts.”
“I am very lucky being able to earn my income from passions which many people see as hobbies -walking, painting and photography. It’s not easy but for me, quality of life beats a big pot of money.”