‘I have always drawn since I was a small child; it was how I seemed to make sense of the world, drawing was always far easier to me than words, often telling stories through images.’
This month dot-art catches up with Liverpool based artist Tom Wyatt. Working as an art teacher for nearly thirty years, Tom’s world focused on encouraging students to fulfil a passion for the arts, telling us that teaching ‘recaptured his thoughts and creativity, inspiring him and his practice every day.’ We ask Tom what inspires his work now, how he starts a painting and what he’s working on today.
Which medium do you work with and what do you like about it specifically?
I work with a wide variety of mediums, which gives me the flexibility to change and reconstruct my work with the constant changes of light and atmosphere.
Describe your style of art:
I find it difficult to define a specific style. However, I just respond to my environment and subject matter as instinctively and honestly as I possibly can.
Can you talk us through your process? Do you begin with a sketch, or do you just go straight in? How long do you spend on one piece? How do you know when it is finished?
Drawing is of paramount importance as I produce several initial studies before I start painting. Within the initial drawings, several reconstructions naturally take place, recording changes of light, mood, atmosphere and situations, until the painting naturally finds itself.
When did you begin your career in art?
I have always drawn since I was a small child; it was how I seemed to make sense of the world, drawing was always far easier to me than words, often telling stories through images. However, my serious artistic profession started at Liverpool Polytechnic (LJMU) in 1982.
Who or what inspires your art?
Memories of places, people and family are a constant source of subject matter and inspiration. My art is also inspired by my surroundings. The life room was a significant inspiration early on in my art education and I still feel the need to return to it today. Drawing in general is a key focus in order to resolve paintings and larger scale work.
What is one of your favourite pieces that you have done and why?
It’s difficult to select a specific piece of work but I am enjoying French landscape at present.
What are you working on at the moment?
I walk and draw every day and I am currently engrossed in French landscape and it is inspiring several works.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
Mike Knowles once said to me, ‘All the answers are always in front of you, we just need to understand how to look and record what we see.’ I’m still looking and trying to understand.
What’s your most unusual artistic habit/strangest technique which you have learnt?
On my daily walks I will constantly draw but also mix colours that I see; combining colour and interesting juxtapositions that evoke memories or moods. I never work directly onto a white canvas. Instead, I block a variety of colours on my canvas that have inspired me using acrylic as base, I usually use blue/green, violet/pink or blue/grey. If rain clouds become a feature of a painting, it is still important to have a hint of a blue; a reminder that clouds will eventually pass and restore some tranquillity.
What are your favourite things to listen to whilst painting? If anything!
I don’t listen to any music whilst working, as it can become a distraction. Often I work on location and so find the sounds of nature to be most rewarding. After a day in the studio or on location I can spend several hours reflecting on the outcome of the day, looking for reconstruction or changes that may need to be made. Whilst reflecting I often listen to; Chet Baker, Billy Holiday or Miles Davies. I am always looking forward to the next day on location or in the studio.