Illumine is the title as Arundel’s Andy Waite offers a home-town exhibition at Arundel Contemporary, 53 High Street, Arundel, running until June 3.
“It just means to lighten or to lighten up,” explains Andy. “It is about coming out of the dark, and you can take that in a literal way or in a more metaphorical way.
“I am inspired when there is a lot of drama in the sky.
“I love to have a nice sunny day, but what really gets me going is when there are storm clouds coming in from one side of the sky and there is still light on the other side… because really that can be a metaphor for life.
“I think we are always looking for the light in the dark.
“I love painting landscapes, but I think if you look a bit deeper, the painting is probably about myself and my own feelings. I think the paintings become landscapes of the soul. They are based on places, but in terms of times of the year and times of the day, they can become a bit blurred.
“By the time, I have done some sketching and maybe taken some photos and worked up the painting, it can have changed a lot. They are based in reality, but other things come in along the way.
“What appeals to me most in art are the things that seep into the consciousness slowly, that aren’t obvious, that perhaps you only get a suggestion of initially, but which at the same time intrigue and move you to explore further while also giving you a deeper perception of what it is to be human and alive on earth.
“ With these paintings, I hope to share something of this experience.
“I do seem to have become largely a landscape artist. I have lived in Arundel for 40 years, and really started out with the Arundel Gallery Trail.
“That was really how I got going. At the time I was doing a certain amount of freelance design and sign-writing, and when they had the idea for the first of the gallery trails, they were looking for people to join in. It is the 30th anniversary this year, and I have done every single one. I may be the only one who has.
“But back in the early days, when the gallery trail asked me to do something, I thought about what I should do.
“I started out doing watercolours and used to paint still lifes with fruit and flowers and that went very well for me. But around the turn of the century, I made a conscious effort to stop doing what I knew how to do and what was successful for me… it just wasn’t challenging me anymore.
“Around the turn of the century, I made the conscious decision, almost overnight, to stop working in that way and to make a radical change.
“ I switched from water colour to oil. I had always done a few landscapes, and I evolved into this, but it has become more abstracted.
“I am not one for photo-realism or even close realism. Some people will say ‘What is that?’ Others will see the horizon. It can be quite moody, but I am wary now of getting stuck in working in a certain way.
“If I look back five years, it was still landscape and still abstracted, but a lot different to now.
“Five years ago, my horizons were quite high and I was looking at the shapes of fields and patterns, but now my horizons are lower and I am more interested in the skies.
“Watercolour was great, but oil has got a certain gravitas and depth that watercolour doesn’t have. Before I changed, I hadn’t really experimented with oils, and it was quite a struggle for a year until I knew which direction I could go in. Oils play very differently.
“They have more depth. They feel a bit more grown-up, though avid water-colourists would hate me for saying so.
“But I feel oils lend themselves much more to landscapes.”
More details about the exhibition are available on www.arundelcontemporary.com. Opening times are 10am-5pm; Sunday 11am-4pm; Wednesday closed.
For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2