Nigel Shipley

Leonardo da Vinci urged artists to search for inspiration in the dirt on walls or the streaked patterns in stones.  In the same way I have found that the accidental blot, the chance mark, or the naturally occurring stain can be a starting point for my art.  

 I work on several paintings at a time, sometimes over several months.   The key moment when I make decisions about what to do next is in the moment when I see a half finished painting for the first time after a break of a day or so.  At that moment my view of it is fresh,  but after working on it for an hour or two I can loose that objectivity.  Also, by coming back to a painting after a few days when the paint has dried, new layers can be added which may be part of the creation of a sense of depth.

 Controlled accidents play a part in my paintings.  Sometimes I allow oil and water based paints to react so as to create a natural fracturing.  This process creates patterns through a natural process which echo those found in nature such as the splitting of a lighting bolt, or the way in which a river delta splits into many different streams.   Other controlled accidents occur when paint is allowed to dribble down, or is splashed on a surface.  

Painting an abstract image is like feeling your way in the dark.  Each stage of the painting process must be carefully though through before it is executed.  For example, when choosing colour combinations I will make several small sketches to try out various colour options, and then pick the one that is best.  Before a splash of paint is added I will experiment with different ways of splashing paint on scraps of paper to find a way of achieving the effect that I want.  

I am continually looking for ideas for paintings, for example by photographing fragments of the Bristol landscape, or studying how other artists have created abstract paintings.  These ideas are saved in scrap books which can be studied when searching for how to proceed with a painting.  

 My website:    


 Telephone: 07909 874586


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