Seeking, loving, flying
I am a 51 year old accountant/artist/writer. Thirty years ago I was only 21. I am still working on that.
I loved painting birds when I was a boy. I went on an activity holiday in Greece when I was 34 and picked up a paint brush again not knowing what to expect. The workshop leader, Robert Venosa, a man of few words, didn't say Goodbye at the end of the course, he just said "Paint!"
Mainly oil paint, though acrylic is good for fast portraits and I love pencil and charcoal. Watercolour is creeping up on me.
Technique and process
Somewhere in the tension between fidelity to subject and daring to be unfaithful but only in ways that work is the heart of the challenge.
Beauty and Truth
Why do you make art?
How often do you create?
It varies, sometimes you need breaks, sometimes life intercedes
What is the best artwork you ever created?
I often think my latest is the best but when I look back at old work I realise unrefined youth can do amazing things maturity cannot. Like WB Yeats, I struggle against the onset of old age. I will be a disgraceful OAP if I can still manage it!
What role does the artist play in society?
Unimaginably important although the current climate treats most of us as hobbyists and too much limelight goes to bad work.
Do you make a living with your art?
No although I have tried to. I don't like parting with work for a fraction of the value it means to me. In many cases I don't wish to part with it at all. It is like never seeing your children again.
My website, and Linked In discussions I have recently tapped into offer new avenues, like this.
I adore Van Gogh and Rembrandt, the first vibrates away from precision yet still holds it, Rembrandt is so precise in form but he adds infinite expression in depth. I love the French Impressionists for daring to be colourful and honour purity of emotion. I like Freud's self portraits. There is often some amazing work at Petley Fine Art in Cork Street. I am most inspired by emotional connection. WB Yeats is a huge influence in my life as a poet and I think that shows in my recent paintings of Yeats country. Part of this is having in common an unrequited love for an Irish beauty. No one else ever moved me that deeply, the greatest joy and the greatest tragedy of my life.
Please recommend a contemporary artist?
I enjoyed the Grayson Perry exhibition at the British Museum, the most seemless integration of humour and art in one place and still daring to be beautiful (frock or no frock!)
Please tell us some interesting events in your life.
I travelled through India and Nepal in 2008/09, an amazing, though stressful experience. There is so much that needs to be done to improve peoples' lives, yet there is something magical and defiant in the rawness of it. I adore the many people I met. I only had room to carry a few small canvases but made them into jewels.
Did you ever feel like giving up being an artist?
No, not since returning to it aged 34.
Advice for emerging artists?
Put yourself on the line and fight the system
Website: Justin Barnard
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