Nathan is a Manchester based artist, specialising in oil painting. He is influenced by his own digital photography for the subject matter, lighting and composition in his paintings. Often focusing on Glastonbury, his work has a contemporary approach to realism.
Tell us how you first discovered your love of art and when you know oils were your medium.
Before I had even barely learnt to write you would always find me with a paintbrush or pencil in my hand creating some kind of artwork. My first and main inspiration has always been my mum. She is a talented artist as well as a teacher of 40 years and has always encouraged me to follow my passion which in turn lead to me taking art all the way to degree level and beyond.
My school art teacher introduced me to oil paints when I was 14 and I’ve never looked back since. I can still remember the smell of oil paint and terps, staying behind after school in my GCSE years working my way through canvas after canvas. I must have cost the school a fortune is oil paints! I actually recently sold a canvas that I finally finished earlier this year that I had originally started work on in that art room 14 years ago!
Did you find there were many barriers to being a working artist?
I guess I was always too afraid to delve into the business side of it and frankly didn’t have time to teach myself how to. I left my job at Manchester United after 11 years and started a 9-5 office job in March, two weeks later COVID hit and I found myself unemployed for the first time in my life. With no wage and nothing but time on my hands I had no choice but to finally give self-employment a shot. I spent the first few months of lockdown working 12-hour days learning about business and marketing, making a website and building and online presence. I launched at the end of June and made more money in my first month than I’ve ever made in any other single month in my life!
Can you put into words the reasons why you love your art-form.
Painting has always been something I get a lot of enjoyment out of. That feeling of starting a new piece of work, putting my heart and soul into it and being rewarded with what I consider to be a successful end result never gets old. Seeing client’s reactions after I’ve completed a commission and knowing that my work hangs proudly in someone else’s home really is a feeling that can't be rivalled!
What advice would you offer to artists who are thinking of taking up painting?
For some reason many beginners seem to shy away from oil paint and opt for the more readily available acrylics or watercolour. Oils aren’t as cheap (and might be a lot harder to clean) but for me I find it difficult to work with anything else now. I love how malleable it is, you can start work on a painting one week and make a complete U-turn the next and oils will completely allow it. So I guess my advice would be get yourself a little starter pack, give it a go and I’m sure you’ll never look back. That and don’t put you terps cup next to your teacup, I’ve lost many a brew to paintbrushes over the years!
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