Published on 12/09/2018
CHRIS FORSEY'S FIRST MEMORY of drawing is with his grandad, who lived downstairs from him in London, when he was a boy.
Chris would spend the morning with his grandad and pestering him for something to do, he gave him some paper that meat had been delivered in, and a pencil. The paper was covered in blood, which had dried, but Chris took the pencil and joined the dots, making shapes and little stick men. That first gave him the realisation that he could make images from nothing.
At school, art was what he enjoyed best. His heart sang when the teacher said it was time to get out the paints. Being an artist is the “best job in the universe for me”. There is nothing he would rather do.
Chris’s background is in illustration. His first job was in a publisher's studio after studying art and graphics in Bristol. When he began to paint more seriously, he taught himself techniques by studying other artists including Turner, John Piper and Roland Hilder. He wanted to know, “how has he done that”? And he would experiment until he found out. He uses unconventional methods and mixed media — what excites him is never knowing what is going to happen, how a painting is going to turn out. The adventure with the media is a thrill in itself.
Capturing the moment is what it is all about. When he goes on holiday, Chris has no interest in bringing back a souvenir. He likes to come back with a sketch book full of pictures, that’s the prize he has captured, he has captured the place.
And painting is an extension of that sketchbook experience.
He describes the process, “I look, I draw, I make a mark, I put some paint on…that’s the landscape. It’s that moment I want to capture, when the light’s changing, the sunlight hitting a patch of field, storm clouds gathering…that’s the moment. I now own that moment in the landscape.”
Moments of atmosphere, weather, changing light, an evocation of what makes the landscape what it is at that moment, that is what he is strives for. And that is what he succeeds in capturing so well.
Chris Forsey’s exhibition continues until Tuesday 25 September.