Timothy Smith

Burnham-on-Sea, United Kingdom

I enjoy working in various mediums including watercolours, oils, acrylics, gouache, pastels and photography. A family thing, both my...

Art is a wonderful thing, but not easy to define. Apparently, when Picasso was asked to explain it, he said, “What isn’t art?” The author Saul Bellow said, “Art has something to do with the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos…an arrest of attention in the midst of distraction;” and it is true that art skillfully executed is definitely calming. Another writer even went as far as to say that appreciating beauty keeps one young!

All my life I have been interested in art. My grandmother taught me to paint in oil paints when I was very small. My great-grandmother was also an accomplished artist. Until recently, I had largely taught myself and viewed my artistic pursuit as just a hobby. Pursuing it more seriously in latter years, I have honed my skills through various courses and workshops. I now paint predominantly in watercolours, but also use the disciplines of oils, pastels, acrylics, gouache, pen & ink, charcoal and so on – it keeps you fresh to be versatile.

Toulla Hadjigeorgiou, an artist, says: “I feel you will always have a successful painting when you have an interest in a particular subject. Many people say to me, ‘I wish I could paint,’ and I tell them that if they enjoy art they are halfway there.” Colin Pethick, another artist asserted: ”I strongly support confidence and belief, building creative expression through practised technique and controlled experimentation. Regular constructive feedback is also vital. Most importantly, though, painting should always be fun.” I also believe in what artist Gill Minter says: “I need to like what I’m painting,” and Suzy Sharpe: “I am inclined to believe that there should be no ‘wrong’ way to paint.”

I love to try various things, it is true, but my particular artistic style includes focusing on beauty that might otherwise be overlooked, looking beyond the obvious. I can identify with the artist Gording Benningfield when he said: “I feel that my job is to create moods and atmospheres and sometimes to paint things as I would like them to be….Above all, it is the ordinary things that move me most."

My wife and I live on the old Rosewood Farm site in Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset and I feel passionate about this picturesque area of England. After all, as artist Gustrave Courbet said: “To paint a bit of country, one has got to know it”! I enjoy painting landscapes – scenes such as Brent Knoll, the Mendips and the Quantocks, as well as townscapes – buildings around Burnham and my birthplace, Bridgwater and further afield – Bristol and Bath. Drawing on what my grandfather used to say, “Somerset has a lot to offer!”

It has been exciting to explore various parts of Britain and I lived for a time in Ireland, all of this inspiring my work, in addition to other parts of the globe. An avid photographer, I work both from photos and drawing in situ. Further to what has been mentioned, maybe with “farming blood” in me, I enjoy painting animals. I have also received various commissions – from painting people’s homes, pets or favourite flowers to a friend’s beloved mini. I constantly enjoy new challenges and tasks and find inspiration from various areas.

If asked to chose my favourite artist, I suppose in recent times it would be Alan Ingham and David Curtis. From the past, I can’t help but be impressed with the capture of light, mood and spontaneity of Claude Monet. The work of Sally Maltby, Glyn & Philip Martin, Edward Seago, James Fletcher-Watson, John and Ann Blockley and Joe Francis-Dowden are also inspiring; and these few mentioned are by no means an exhaustive list!

It is amazing what a sponge, a piece of cut up tea towel, a knife, a candle, a coin, a piece of rolled up tissue, cling film, bubble wrap, tin foil, salt – even a piece of an old credit card, can achieve when mixed with paint! Mad? Perhaps, but one artist even made use of his jumper to press into the paint with amazing effect! And no artist would be without the trusty old hairdryer!

Echoing the feelings of many, art is surely calming and peaceful, but it can also be arresting and exciting – all of which improves the quality of our lives, whether we are the producer or the recipient. Naturally, I draught scenes which have special meaning to me, but I hope the warmth I feel is imparted to the viewer. Both before and during the project, an artist is, in effect, taking a journey, but it continues after its completion – great reward is to be had from the knowledge that someone else may be appreciating the finished result. Yes, a picture can be treasured for a lifetime when someone else’s mind and heart has, perhaps, engaged with the artist’s. Nonetheless, as artist Kay Smith puts it: ‘Remember, good art won’t necessarily match your sofa!’
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  • Joined: February 2010
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