I was born in ’55 and grew up in the sleepy mid-Beds village of Barton-le-Cley. With strong passion for the countryside and wildlife, I began illustrating (birds especially) from childhood. Though I took a graphic design diploma course and worked later in related industries (including 6 years doing illlustration and animation for computer games), the guitar had become my obsession since the age of 14, and I did not truly take up painting per se again until my mid-30s. I read every book on the subject for years whilst swinging between watercolour and oil, unable to master either to my satisfaction. Constant practice yields results; I duly settled for oil painting as the way to go.
I began to develop my compositional skills by painting still life. Composition is paramount for me. A painting must have strength in this department or it is a flippancy. Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin (1699 – 1779) is the premier master of still life painting in my estimation, a great colourist too, like another great master Paul Cezanne (1839-1906), whose work was influenced to a degree by his fellow countryman. The other great colourist and composer who stands out most for me (although I am thrilled by many artists’ works), is Jan Vermeer of Delft (1632-1664), whose quiet works intrigue to the soul.
I am sensitive to many principles whilst arranging my still life objects. Balance must be attained in the relative disposition of major and minor masses, as well as in colour, tone, texture, function, etc. Feeling is the magistrate of this, and takes time to acquire. Sometimes I am not happy with an arrangement for a full three days – which is better than having spent three painting a poor picture.
Having started to paint, I proceed along relatively traditional lines – transparent darks, impasto light – and paint all shadow parts in a warm monochrome. The mid and light tones are added more solidly, and the highlights are fattest in layer. Colour is gradually realised by a sequence of glazes and scumbles, and finally the fine details are attended.
I have exhibited widely in galleries around South East England, as well as in various solo shows locally and nationally and have been the recipient of several arts prizes. l sell many prints of local watercolours, and am variously commissioned to paint animals, people and places. I currently sell most of my still life paintings in the United States where, happily for me, such works seem to be popular.
Alan Hunnisett, August 2011.
If you are interested in commissioning or purchasing a painting, please contact him here.