Inspiration takes many different forms.
In the next of our interviews with the 11 unique local artists exhibiting at The Barn for this year’s Bucks Art Weeks, today we take a closer look at local painter Graham Jefford, his inspirations and his journey.
What are you most looking forward to about this year’s Bucks Art Weeks?
Whether as an exhibiting artist or as a visitor, I enjoy meeting and chatting with like-minded people. In particular I'm interested in learning how other artists approach their work.
When did you know that you wanted to become an artist?
I've drawn and painted as a hobby on and off since childhood, but a few years before I retired I realised that I wanted to use the opportunity to take my art to a new level.
How did you end up creating oil paintings?
I came by oils via a circuitous route: starting with charcoal drawing I ventured into pastels and watercolour before attending an oil workshop with Varvara Neiman, after which I was pretty well hooked and have concentrated on oils ever since. But I still love dabbling with other media and have plans to get into print making at some stage. During lockdown I have also experimented with acrylic. I find that these occasional forays into other media help one's development by unlocking ideas and perhaps suggesting solutions to problems.
What inspires you?
Probably seeing the work of my favourite contemporary artists is what most drives me to create art – the “oh how I wish I could do that” syndrome. I have also found during lockdown that there are some wonderful Youtube channels by practicing artists who discuss their approach and demonstrate their processes. I have found some of these inspirational and thought provoking.
Who is your favourite artist of all time and why?
I could not narrow it down to any one artist, there are just too many. One thing I will say is that I rarely like everything by any one artist. We are tempted to believe that because an artist is famous, and their work found in museums and books, that all of those works are by definition 'masterpieces'. Many are just a stepping stone along the route. If there is a common thread in many of my favourite works it is that I am often drawn to paintings about people; not simply portraits but paintings of people going about their daily lives. These works arouse my curiosity.
If money was no object and you could buy any piece of art that had ever existed, what would you choose and why?
I've really no idea. The one thing I would say is that it would be by a contemporary artist (see previous question) – who would appreciate the money more than a dead artist. When I buy a work of art I ask myself the question - “if this was hanging at the foot of my stairs, and it was the first thing I saw when coming down each morning, would it lift my spirits for the day, and would it continue to do so ?”
Do you have any other shows planned for this year?
Yes. Having had two significant (for me) exhibitions closed down by Covid, and being reliant on a few online opportunities, I am keen to get back to exhibiting 'in the flesh', so to speak. I will be exhibiting with Bucks Art Society in Beaconsfield during September, and hopefully with Wendover Art Club at some time before the end of the year