An Interview with Artist Richard Wilson
Central Art Gallery has represented New Zealand Artist Richard Wilson for over nine years.
This talented painter started painting at just 10 years old, taking a few lessons from his uncle, Tim Wilson, at 12 years old.
During his teenage years, Richard painted every day and worked hard to perfect the ethereal landscapes he’s now known for. He sold his first painting when he was 14 years old.
“While other kids were out playing with marbles, I was painting,” he jokes.
How would you describe what you do?
I wouldn’t say I have a job title – I’m making a living out of a passion. It’s a lifestyle, really, something I have to do.
I might be out with friends and I’ll get the itch to paint, I have to paint every day or I feel ill! I suppose it’s like a relationship.
How would you describe your work?
That’s a hard question, because my painting is my outlet and expression! But the words I’d choose are; impressionistic, expressive, and realistic.
I want my paintings to be as close to nature as possible. I want to capture what I see as close to how it really happens as possible; the changing sky, the way the light hits the bush.
When I started painting at the age of 10, that style was already there. I grew up around early 1900s paintings that focussed on nature. When you’re young, you’re influenced by what you’re surrounded by.
I’m from a family with a long history in the traditional painting process. I try to bring those traditions into the modern age, using modern techniques.
You sound like you’re interested in modern materials too…
Yes, I like to keep up to date with advances in technology and explore what’s on offer now. I look at what’s in the paint; it’s safer and lasts longer than it did in the past. It’s just a better product, a better paint. I like to know what every linen does, what it’s like to work with. My preference is for Belgian linen; it’s considered the best.
I think it’s important to feel comfortable with what you’re working with. If all your tools work in harmony, it will help you produce what you want.
What are your key influences?
The way the light touches the landscape, and the elements; earth, bush, water, land forms… they are the most basic things which surround us. It’s all about tying it all together into a painting.
What do you aim to do through your painting?
I’m also influenced by the morning and evening, that’s when the light is at its best, but it’s also very peaceful, there’s a quietness. Today’s world is so busy and complicated; we want to relax. I aim to recreate that natural quietness and peace in my paintings. People want to come home and escape, so I wouldn’t want to paint a busy or complicated scene – why would you want that on your wall at home?
It’s a form of meditation for people, that’s a healthy thing and a healing thing.
When I’ve finished a painting, I need to feel that I’m there, at the river, relaxing and enjoying the landscape – that’s what gets me excited.
See a full range of Richard’s stunning landscapes in our Gallery at 71 Beach Street.
Central Art Gallery is one of the oldest galleries in New Zealand and we have a large range of artworks from local and international artists.