This week Brighton Journal spoke to local visual artist, Rollison David. Rollison’s vibrant work is inspired by city scenes, bodies of water, landscapes and 1940s photographs. He also works as an Ultrasonic Rail Tester for Network Rail, based in Brighton, taking him to beautiful landscapes and locations across the country that frequently prompt his paintings. We discussed Rollison’s ongoing projects, as well as his preparation towards a Pop Up Art exhibition, scheduled for later this year. Take a look.
What are you doing today?
Painting a watercolour and practising to measure and cut mounts for framing them.
Describe where you do most of your creative work.
I paint in the lounge or in the garden as I don’t have a studio. I don’t need too much space, just the mood.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve worked on?
I think it has to be a toss up between two paintings. The first being an acrylic one for my girlfriend of a sun lounger on a beach in Cuba, copied from one of her holiday photos. She brought some of the sand back from that beach which I mixed with the paint so the sand in the painting has a reality to it.
The other was an oil painting of my girlfriend’s niece and 2 children on a beach in Australia which looks exactly like the photo it was copied from.
Both paintings are equally exciting and hard to separate!
What made you decide to become an artist?
In 2008 I went for a break to Cornwall and took some lovely photos of St. Ives. While there we went on a day trip to Padstow where there was an artist doing local paintings. After asking her if she could do a commission painting of one of the photos I had taken in St. Ives, she quoted me a price which I thought too high.
I left there thinking if she can do it I can as well. So, on my return to London I went to the pound shop and bought a £1.00 canvas size 20″ x 16″ and a £1.00 set of 10 x 12ml acrylic paints. I got home, printed the photo taken in St. Ives and painted it exactly the same as the photo….
Since then I’ve launched my website rolysamazingart.com where my paintings can be seen and purchased.
I’ve not looked back since!
What are you currently working on?
A number of paintings, both oil and watercolour. The latter which has been one of my most expressive mediums.
I’m also preparing for a Pop Up Art gallery for later in the year, all being well with the current situation.
What are the key themes in your work?
I used to paint mainly scenes where there is a body of water such as a lake but lately I have copied black and white photos of 1940’s era.
I seem to paint as my heart feels so there’s no real theme as such now.
What would you like people to notice about your work?
Hopefully they can see detail in my oil paintings that show simple but effective brushstrokes. Also sometimes the lack of detail when stood close but from a distance the painting shows a remarkable perception of detail!
In the watercolour paintings I like it when the painting shows few brush touches. These trick the mind of the person looking at the painting into seeing what is not there. The next person who looks will see something completely different or even more than the last.
Hopefully the viewer can notice complete flow control of what the watercolour paint has delicately done.
What attracts you to the medium you work in?
With acrylic paint I can achieve a range of textures which stands out in the painting. Such as a pebbled beach.
When using oil, I like the array of infinite colours that can be created and the brushstrokes can be seen. Also, I think oil paintings command an age old ‘Mystique’.
Watercolours have an amazing way of colour flow that no other medium has. It requires great skill to master this one. Due to that fact decision making has to be quick and decisive. It also has a delicate ‘Mystical’ attraction.
What equipment could you not do without?
Water, paint brushes, paint and imagination. But imagination cannot be purchased as it comes from within.
Who or what inspires you?
For me I’ve always loved the beach or the ocean. I get such an energy from the sight of the waves or water on the beach. It’s just incredible and immense.
How is your work affected by living in this area?
I’m lucky to be able to see the ocean from our lounge! When driving along the coast road I always say the same thing to my girlfriend. Especially on approaching Saltdean or Rottingdean. “Look at the ocean, it’s just amazing!” Irrespective of weather. Brighton also has many tiny streets that are unique as well as the beach.
I work as an Ultrasonic Rail Tester for Network Rail and this allowed me to see some of the most beautiful landscape scenery in the country. The South Downs and Windsor are a few places that will prompt a painting. Watch this space!
What’s your favourite thing to do locally?
Go to the beach or county pub gardens with my girlfriend! Treating her to a nice Gin while I have a Fruit Shoot! Sometimes I take snap photos in and around Brighton with a view to painting them.
What’s your favourite gallery (or place to see/experience art)?
Musée du Louvre and Montmartre – Paris. The amazing thing about the Musée du Louvre is not just the brilliant paintings and artwork. It’s the walls and architectural design which compliments the paintings. I think it’s this that gives it such a unique captivating aura!
If you could collaborate with one artist, from any time, who would it be and why?
Canaletto, because his painting named “A Regatta on the Grand Canal” is amazing. The boats on the Pthalo Blue water and the thousands of people in the boats at the water’s edge is something I’ve always contemplated painting.
What’s your favourite colour?
Red and also turquoise, the colour of the ocean on the coast.
To find out more about Rollison and his work, take a look at his website.