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Artists CV    artwork
Andy Cook

Thoughts on painting

Never painting directly from real life, my paintings are a combination of memories and feelings of past experiences. I try to capture the moment by intuitively letting the painting evolve on canvas without the use of preliminary sketches.

I have never really wanted to paint directly from real life, for me, that would just seem a pointless and rather sterile representation of what ever I saw. I personally think a good painting is when I am able to interpret the world around me with colour and form that is able to hold and connects to the viewer on an emotional level.


It always takes me a while to actually get started on a new painting, and I will find any old excuse to delay the start of a new work. It's almost as if scared of something, possibly failure? I do worry about painting, sometimes I feel as if I can't do it and when this happens I get terribly depressed. But when a painting works well, I get so overwhelmed I could almost cry.

To initiate the process I have to throw myself into a work This normally comes out in a burst of energy. Usually by sketching a vague landscape and just see where it takes me. I'm sure a more self-disciplined approach would be more beneficial, but that just isn't me. An hour or so later the landscape can easily have evolved into a still life.

As one might guess, I don't work from sketches, though having said that, I will often reach for my pencil and pad if I find that I have painted myself into a corner, like, for example, if the painting doesn't balance. I find that if one sketches quickly and freely the intellect becomes disengaged and the heart takes over, and it's at this particular time that I can make good progress. That's fine regarding shape and form, but often when dealing with colour or the accent of a picture, the same approach will only work on the painting itself. It's at this time that painting can become very scary indeed. This is when hours of work can be destroyed in a single moment. Some times huge areas of a painting will have to be obliterated to enable it to breathe. I often scrape off more paint than I put on. Many paintings come to life in the process, but unfortunately, many have been lost the same way and I have often mourned the loss of a painting for many days after.

I think an intelligent artist will have the ability to benefit from his experiences on canvas. I like to think that I can be objective regarding my work, but just as important I know I have to be brave and take chances.

Moran UK Limited
Guildhall City of London
Langtree Group
Swinton Insurance
British Airways
Industrial Bank of Japan
Library of Foreign Literature, Moscow
Proctor and Gamble


Norton Rose, London
Corporation of London
Baily and Garner, London
Guildhall Library, London