Duncan Palmar was born and educated in Hampshire and now lives in Surrey. He started painting professionally in 1983 at the age of 19 and had his first major exhibition that same year. Soon after this he gave up painting to study Architecture in London, but eventually returned to pursue his career as an artist.
I paint in both oil and watercolour and tend to apply similar techniques to both mediums, but at the same time try to retain the individual charm that each medium incorporates.
Most of my paintings are on either canvas or paper. But from a desire to try a new surface and medium I began to work in acrylic on gesso boards with tinted grounds. The rapid drying qualities of the paint forced me to work very vigorously giving the painting a looser and more lively appearance. For someone who had, up until that point only painted in a detailed way, I found it a very liberating and satisfying feeling, a real breath of fresh air, ideally suited to capturing a beach with the movement of sea in its diverse moods, rhythms and space. I now work with oil in the same fashion, and have begun not only produce beach scenes, but also harbours, estuaries and landscapes.
I now enjoy the best of both worlds, as one moment I could be working in my loose style on a painting of a beach with paint flying across the board, and the next painstakingly working on a highly detailed intimate watercolour of a harbour scene. Variety is the spice of life!
I often begin my working day with the Beatles or any other contemporary or classical music blasting out from the stereo. Well, that is after I have got the kids up, dressed, breakfasted, dropped off at school and nursery (on the days my wife works) walked our two chocolate Labradors, come back, opened the post, sat down and had a cup of tea! I love my early morning walks as it gives me a chance to be quiet and contemplative. I am never satisfied with the finished result of a painting and always strive for perfection and tell myself to do better next time! I think in order to progress and grow as an artist you need to feel that way, and when those feelings stop I think it is time to give up. My studio is located at the bottom of the garden, and is as far away from the house as possible. Once there, I am able to focus purely on the painting or paintings that are on the go at the time, where it is just myself, my music and my art. I try and spend at least seven hours a day in the studio but this varies according to the time of year. I try not to work with artificial light as I find it corrupts the colours too much, even though I have daylight corrected lamps, which I am forced to use during the winter months when so often the light seems to go after lunch.
I love to look at the work of other artists past and present. It fascinates me to see how they have portrayed a particular subject and very often one that I am trying to come to grips with myself. I am particularly inspired, for instance, when painting landscapes, by the Victorian watercolorists. Similarly, when I am painting an intimate harbour scene I find the same applies to the work of the Newlyn School of Painters From 1882-1947. When painting in my loose style I tend to look at the work of William Turner, the Impressionists and that of Edward Seago. I feel very privileged to be able to paint every day, and although the demands of every day life and a growing family make it increasingly hard to earn a living from the very precarious occupation of art, it is something that I am very passionate about, and am determined to continue for as long as I can.”
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