McBain's new exhibition marks 20 years of Chichester shows

West Sussex artist Clive McBain is celebrating 20 years of exhibitions at Chichester's Oxmarket Gallery with a new show at the gallery running until September 9.

Tuesday, 28th August 2018, 8:26 am
Updated Monday, 3rd September 2018, 12:19 pm

For Clive, the story really begins when he was five and the Second World War was coming to an end.

“I lived with my parents in a sad little house in Torquay, south Devon. Rather than play with the others I would sit myself at a table and spend hours copying pictures out of newspapers and magazines. When I was seven we moved to London and lived in a prefab. My father gave me lots of encouragement to continue drawing. My first taste of recognition as an artist was a pencil drawing I did of a robin. My father entered it in a competition for children’s art run by one of the tabloids. It won third prize and I won two and sixpence!”

By the age of 16, Clive had left school and had no idea what to do with his life: “A lucky meeting with an art student changed all that. She encouraged me to apply to the Willesden College of Art to study fine art, and I was accepted only to have my studies cut short by an illness which put me in a coma for six weeks. The doctors advised my parents to move to the coast where the air was cleaner. We moved to Sussex and my father landed a job as manager of a pub in Brighton. Once again, I applied and was accepted at Brighton College of Art to study fine art.

“It was during these early days as an art student that I met Sidonie who worked in an art shop in East Street, Brighton. I married Sidonie in 1962 and we have been inseparable ever since!

“Eventually I joined the graphic diploma department because I found fine art dull. I went on to win three national poster competitions and on graduating with an NDD made the natural transition into advertising as an art director in a leading London advertising agency.

“In 1972 I set up my own design consultancy based in London. In 1987 the company was taken over by AMV plc. In 1992 I took the major decision to devote myself entirely to painting. By this time Sidonie and I were living near Petworth. As a retirement present Sidonie gave me a presentation box of paints. The box remained unopened for two years as I feared that my dream of being a painter would be dashed if the paintings did not live up to my expectations.

“Between 1994 and 1998 I was commissioned to design and illustrate wine labels worldwide. These labels allowed me to indulge my passion for detail, a passion which that remains to this day

“In 1998, the Oxmarket Centre of Arts gave me the opportunity to show my work to the public. It was a successful exhibition with some lovely comments. I plucked up enough courage to approach The Observer newspaper in Chichester to show my work, and wow, what a reception they gave me!

“Over the past 20 years I have had several exhibitions at the Oxmarket and across the south. I’ve had six two-week solo exhibitions at Petworth House to great acclaim selling pictures worldwide.

“My representational work is well known and well documented. At this celebration I will be exhibiting over 40 representational paintings, work done over a period of five years.

“Joining me will be my daughter Tabitha exhibiting her beautiful and highly-decorative paintings in the foyer gallery. The other three galleries will be exhibiting my work.”