Introducing raw talent from England

Recently I included in the blog a drawing of St Christopher done by an English artist and teacher Chris Gibson from Kent in England. This wonderful self portrait has captured the creative gaze of a young man with exceptional talent.

I have been following the art works created by Chris of Kent for some time and I thought you would all like to come with me to the coal face and see an artist at work in the real world. I will let Chris tell you about his journey who has so generously let you into his thought processes. My comments will continue to be highlighted in yellow.

So, dropped art when I did my GCSE choices over here. Took DT as my more creative subject (I like doing things). By the time I was in year 11 (taking exams) I would doodle and draw silly cartoons in the back of all my exercise books and really liked the idea of being a newspaper cartoonist or (later) an online comic artist. Chris' post on Instagram stresses how important comics are not only in terms of learning to draw but for reading development. Comics were the gateway for him into reading and I must add also for me which will shock a lot of people who know that I ended up as a senior lecturer in English at an Australian University. Please take our advice and embrace comics as part of your child's reading diet.

Here is another of Chris' ventures into the cartoonist's world with Oo de Lally! a watercolour painting from his favourite Disney film.

However I struggled to consistently come up with cartoon ideas beyond silly stick man drawings so ended up leaving this behind for a while. Due to subject conflicts I ended up studying all 3 sciences at A-Level and went off to university to do a degree in biology. Really enjoyed drawing anatomical studies and love illustrated biology at this time. Ended up taking a masters in forensic science and falling into science teaching. The caption for this painting reads Last Day of Term. Fixed Grin, Tired Eyes. Those of us who have been teachers know that feeling!

Eventually I tried creating some bike art but then I met my wife who runs an art studio (mostly pottery, painting). From this I really kicked into gear getting my art back, front and centre.

The only bike art that I could find from Chris was his favicon which you will see when I feature some of his work. Being an artist is like climbing a very steep mountain each time you ignite the creative juices. But the view from the other side is fabulous.

So far I have experimented with abstract colour field work. Chris’ comments about the painting below reads: Layers and texture. I love the canvas coming through and the way the paint struggles and breaks revealing colours below.

Here are some more of the abstract works he was creating back in 2016. This shows the first painting for the year and the last.

...which moved into landscape painting. He recalls: One of my earliest attempts at painting with oils. This one looks rather amateurish, however I still love the textures within. I was still solely using a pallette knife at this point. If I was to reattempt this I would now most likely use a brush and take a lot more time. I would also more than likely base it off actual images rather than just make it up as I go. Oils are still high on my list of mediums to revisit and use again, maybe during the Christmas holiday I will get a good run at them. One last point, I really miss mountains! Then from this I moved into figurative landscape work. Here is an industrial landscape of Rugeley Power Station showing the process Chris has taken towards the end result. And below we can share some of his thoughts.

Rugeley power station at night. This needs a bit more detail adding when the main part has dried. Wanted to share it now because it's shaping up pretty well. Just you know, now not to ruin it! I've wanted to paint Rugeley power station for ages. Whenever I visit my parents I don't feel like I'm home until I see the station. The sad thing is there are plans to demolish it next year. I understand progress etc but it's still gutting to think of such a part of my childhood's landscape will no longer exist in a few months.

I particularly like the landscape shown below and Chris’ comment is so pithy: Started off trying a Bob Ross technique, I think I ended up channeling William Blake. Bob Ross is an on-line artist you can follow through his YouTube videos. William Blake was an C18th English poet and painter.

This is another painting by Chris that is a favourite of mine.

Chris of Kent continues his recounting All the time my wife kept telling me to draw more and do more still life work. I particularly like this vase of flowers which as Chris said: to celebrate Christmas here's a picture I painted with my mum in the summer.

Eventually I took a few courses on oil painting and recently cubism theory as well as starting the GCSE art course. From this I have been working on a loose and sketchy drawing style, particularly in charcoal which is something I have not used since I was a child but am really loving. And I agree that this style suits Chris’ approach to creativity. Some of my favourite artists were cubists.
And below is the winner! This image exemplifies how important it is to control line and colour for an effective result!

Lately I have been trying to ramp up my art work by including more subtext and imagery and this has lead me to religious iconography. Which was all started by finding a copy of *The Trinity by Rublev in a charity shop.* This is the icon Chris is referring to.

In the St. Christopher image I have tried to include the feeling of the weight of the Christ child, the struggle against the tide but also include touches like turning the bag he is carrying into a globe to symoblise (quite literally) the weight of the world on his back. In most of my images of Christ he is not only blessing and exalting but also in a suspiciously cruciform pose. The images below show the drawing from rough sketch to larger blow up sketch through final image and then framing.

And here are two of his charcoal images of the Madonna and Child. I love the subtle spirituality that is defining the figure of Mary.

To emphasise the extent of his talent Chris also makes pottery pieces some of which I will showcase soon.

If you would like to follow Chris Gibson on Instagram you will find him as leapinggazelleart

His Twitter handle is @gibsonc85

Thank your Chris for allowing me to share some of your artistic journey with the blog subscribers. Your style is so vibrant, so individualistic. It will be exciting to watch to see which of your many styles emerges as your signature view of the world.

Anne Newman

Oil Painter in realistic genre style, predominantly buildings and people. To continue the discussion contact Anne on anewman@netspace.net.au or phone +61 407 516 522

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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