Artist profile - Paul Bennett
PUBLISHED: 00:00 24 September 2018
Harry George Johnson
Kendal artist Paul Bennett is exhibiting work in galleries from Belfast to New York. He spoke to Mike Glover
EVEN for a self-confessed workaholic, fine artist Paul Bennett has embarked on a challenging eight months, with six exhibitions, five of them back to back in galleries from London to New York, each displaying about 20 of his distinctive semi-abstract seascape and landscape oil paintings.
Already selling world-wide, 42-year-old Paul starts his paintings by going out and about in the wilderness, often taking photographs. As he lives in Kendal the Lake District is an obvious source, but he also loves the west coast of Scotland and has been as far as Thailand to collect images.
‘I do not use the pictures as reference material,’ explains Paul. ‘Taking pictures makes me stop and take in the environment and see how the light works. It helps me capture the moment and digest the way the sky and coast look, the composition and the angles.’
Paul takes these visions of the land and sea back to his studio where he applies oils using brush and palette knife to build up paintings. He can be working on five canvases at a time, switching from one to another waiting for the paint to dry.
Paul used to be a multi-media graphic designer in the financial sector, creating videos, presentations, pamphlets and company reports. But the work lacked any challenge and encouraged him to fall back on his college training in fine art.
There is no doubt that this knowledge has helped him market his paintings. Early in his career he spent hours hunting down gallery contact details before approaching each one individually urging them to display his work. Now they come to him.
Paul has been in ArtFinder’s top ten selling artists in each of the five years it has been running. He also does well on Saatchi Art, and has been invited to Japan and China as resident artist. Of the 120 paintings a year he creates, roughly half sell abroad.
He tends to paint in the mornings and all the other tasks involved in running his business are fitted in around that late into the evening. He can be at this computer at 6am and then again until 10pm with gaps created for family – wife Kathy, seven year-old Lily and Ben, three.
Apart from the skyscapes his other genre is portraits, but again they are not of individual people. He likes to cut photographs from magazines and use them as starting points for his imagination.
He is halfway through his busy schedule with Cornwall, Hitchin and New York already ticked off. Catch his work this month at the Gallery Different in London, Belfast in November and Firth of Clyde early next year.
For more of Paul’s work see: www.paul-bennett.co.uk. Prices about £2,000