This month dot-art speaks to artist Mike Westall.
Mike Westall studied Fine Art Painting at Brighton Art College from 1973 to 1976, and achieved a BA (Hons) Degree. A year later, he qualified as a secondary school art teacher and taught for nine years in Sussex and London. In 1986, Mike took on the role of Head of Creative Arts in a school for British service children in Cyprus, working there until August 2021, when he retired and relocated to Liverpool.
Mike has won several awards for his paintings, and he has exhibited his work in many one-man and joint exhibitions in the UK and Cyprus. He has sold his work all over the world. Now that Mike has retired, he can focus on his love of painting. He says: ‘I paint the world that I see around me and endeavour to represent people and scenes with passion and sensitivity.’
How would you describe your style?
I would describe my style as figurative.
Can you talk us through your process?
I generally work by deciding on a theme or a subject to paint. For instance, I might decide to work on ‘beach scenes, or produce work based on ‘local people’. I then produce a number of preparatory sketches and painted studies and generally work from these. Knowing when a piece of art work is finished is never easy, but generally I would say it is when I have achieved something close to what I wanted to achieve.
When did you begin your career in art?
I have always been interested in the creative process from as far back as I can remember. After school I completed a number of degree courses and after working in the Construction Industry for a couple of years, I went into art teaching in Secondary Schools. I retired from teaching in 2021.
Why is art and creativity so important to you?
Art gives me meaning and helps me make sense of the world and who I am.
What are you working on at the moment?
Having recently moved back to the UK from Cyrpus and settling in to Liverpool over the past 6 months I have started working on a number of local landscapes, figuring out this new environment through my paintings.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?