Colin Steed dropped off a new collection of artwork last Saturday 5th March 2022 and while Colin was in the gallery we have a conversation around life as an artist and his artwork
Colin can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got started as an artist?
I have been creative for as long as I can remember. As a child I would attempt to make wooden items from scrapes of wood. I was in my teens before creating with brush and paint really inspired me. My art teacher gave me the task of painting the backdrops for the end of year productions and from then on I wanted to be a professional artist. This became a reality much later in life after twenty-two years working in engineering, I took the plunge and went full time. I sold my work from home, galleries and anywhere that I could display them. I developed my own painting school, demonstrated to club’s and societies, was asked to write articles for ‘Leisure Painter’ magazine, became an F.S.C. tutor at Flatford Mill and was a guest tutor on many painting holidays touring France and Spain. I have my own YouTube channel where I can be seen painting plein-air recording the mood of the day.
Your work is mostly watercolour. What is it about the medium that particularly attracts you?
Watercolour is so quick, clean, and easy to use. Working plein-air most of the time it enables me to capture that fleeting moment of light on landscape in a matter of minutes.
Can you tell me about your process? How do you go from your initial idea (and how does that come to you) through to the end result?
I tour the countryside and when I see a scene that inspires me, I immediately start sketching using water soluble graphite pencils. Once happy with the composition I start work on watercolour paper to capture that moment in time.
I know you go out on location to start of some of your artwork, but what’s your favourite part of the process?
Painting plein-air on location is the best, the buzz that I get when I start with a clean piece of white paper and attempt to create that elusive masterpiece in colour.
Nature seems to be a big inspiration behind your work. Do you find you work according to the season?
I paint all year round because, to me every season has its own beauty. Even a wet rainy day should inspire a true landscape artist.
Are there any little tips or tricks you’ve learned over the years, that would help or inspire budding artists?
Sketch using pencil as often as possible. You learn, form, shape, and tone when sketching. When painting it’s not so much the colour you use it’s the tone values that make or break a painting.
I know you are learning to play the drums as well as being an artist, but do you listen to music when you are painting if so, what are you currently listen to?
Funny enough I normal only listen to music when playing my drum kit. When painting I need to hear the place, the birds, people, water flowing and even the silence. They all tell you something about a place. That helps me to feel inspired.
What is the highlight of your career so far, or your proudest moment?
Just being able to make a living out of my passion for painting.
Who is your favourite artist, and why?
James Fletcher Watson. He passed away some years ago but in my early days I regularly visited him at his home where he staged an annual exhibition of his work. We spoke about his work and techniques that I endeavour to replicate in my own style.
What is your favourite piece in your collection that is arriving at Wonky Wheel Gallery, and why?
I would like you to write a short note to your younger self and give them one piece of advice about being an artist (something you have learned along the way or even something they should do, if so why)?
Paint what inspires you and not to follow the trend of the moment. Trends change and don’t last, a totally inspire piece of artwork will be admired for ever.