Interview with Jonathan Newey
Jonathan Newey is a Reading based artist and here he talks about his painting process and inspiration.
SG: Where do you get your inspiration from?
JN: As a general rule all of my work is inspired by nature but the abstract expressionism paintings are influenced by looking at nature up close or from afar; either from under a microscope or from photographs of the cosmos and earth from space. The patterns come from a variety of sources such as cracks in a wall, tree bark and in some cases patterns in the paint of other less successful work. I start by sketching with pencil or pen to establish pattern and composition. These sketches are then worked up into color with oil pastel. The colors come from photos of earth from space, photos of star nebulas taken by the Hubble telescope and microscopic images of animals, minerals and vegetation. The most important aspect of my work for me is that the sketches are an idea of what I want to end up with but not a set of rules that I must stick to.
SG: What are you working on at the moment?
JN: My abstract work is constantly on the go. Because of the fluid, wet nature of the paint it can take up to 4 weeks for the paint to dry so I have other, more representational work in progress at the same time. I have been experimenting with painting horse portraits with oil and have always done drawings of animals with pencil so have a couple of these on the go as well.
SG: Is there a specific theme or concept you keep in all of your work or does it change with each series?
JN: Most of my work is inspired by nature. I try not to stick to a theme such as landscapes or specific parts of nature but sometimes I do a series of abstract work that has a colour theme to it such as predominantly red or blue.
SG: Are you a part of any artists groups or organisations that have been beneficial (to your work in general or career as an artist)?
JN: I am a member of David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, Reading Guild of Artists and Wokingham Art Group all of which have selected my work for their exhibitions. I have been artist in resident at the Cyprus College of Art (now Carnaro Institute, Larnaca), Limassol, Cyprus and have recently won 3rd place in the International Artist magazine Art Challenge No.94 with the prize being a one page editorial in American Art Collector Magazine.
SG: If you could own one work of art what would it be?
JN: There are many artists and works of art that I am influenced by such as Turner, Monet, Cezanne and some of the Abstract Expressionists such as Willem De Kooning and Mark Rothko. If I were to choose then I would probably like to own one of Mark Rothko’s paintings.
SG: What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?
JN: People often ask me what my paintings represent but I always hope that they notice something that other people, including myself, have not noticed. I would like my art to engage the viewer in a conversation and to influence their opinion, emotion and connection with the piece. My ideas as to what the paintings should represent before I start painting do not necessarily mean the paintings will end up that way. Due to the way the paint moves the work has a tendency to paint itself and the end result can be quite different.