Monday, October 26, 2009

David Berridge

I am very happy to welcome the first featured artist, David Berridge, to The Oil Pastel Review. He is an accomplished oil pastelist and First Prize winner in the Professional division of the Oil Pastel Society's 2009 Members Show, "Transformation".

David is a very accomplished draftsman with a broad range of artwork, from pencil drawings to colorful contemporary paintings to moody, dramatic landscapes.

His responses to the questions that I posed to him are shown below.

Q. Hi David, and welcome to The Oil Pastel Review. What would you say were your major art influences?
A. I can't remember when I started drawing....pencil work when I was a kid - just wanted to draw stuff.
About 40 years ago (when I first started having my work in galleries) I

was working on a cattle ranch in Arizona, when I would get home I'd put
a cutting board on my lap and start drawing western scenes, inspired by
my surroundings. My main art influence has always been
nature itself.

Q. What inspires you to do art - is it a passion?
A. The inspiration for me, is that I want to share, or express the feeling
I have about what I'm thinking or seeing.
More than a passion, my art is quite literally my therapy, giving me
purpose.When I'm doing a painting, there is always something or some spot in the image that is a little mysterious or compelling, at least to me. Usually, it's very subtle. These are the things that draw me into the work. It may be a distant road, just a hint of a pasture off in the distance, it might be just a little piece of the sky, but whatever it is, I like to enhance that little magical place, just a bit, in hopes that the viewer will not miss it and will see and feel what I did in the creation of the work.

Q. Are you self-taught or have you studied art?

A. I am self-taught.

Q. Could you describe your method of working?

A. Of course I always have an idea of what I want to do first. Sometimes I'll do a little sketching, but most of the time I'll just start working directly on the support that will be the finished work. I rough out what I want in a dark color, much like one would do with a charcoal drawing, and then just keep working on top of that color.
The mood of the work determines the underlying color.
Usually, at least for me, a very dark brown (Sennelier Sepia) works well. Sometimes a dark blue. Either of those two will get an end result I want.

Q. What attracted to you to oil pastel? A. Oil pastel is perfect for me, having come from a drawing background.

For me it's just drawing with paint. The oil pastel also gives me a "close" connection with the work. What I mean is, I don't care for the "distance" of working with tools. The oil pastel is just an extension of my fingers.

Q. Do you have a favorite palette, or palettes or particular colors that you like to use?
A. Particular colors: wow, I’ve been asked that before and I start thinking "oh yes, I really like this and that and the other ", and by the time I get done thinking about it, I have so many favorites - I like them all! Even if it doesn't show, I have colors under dolors under colors. I know they're there. The way I paint, ie.,: classical look with the mellow tone of color or more contemporary with more vibrant color, is totally determined by my mood and how I’m feeling about what I want to depict. That’s it in a nut shell. The same goes for the method of application. Sometimes I want to just grind the colors in as quick as I can with my thumb, and other times it’s a soft tender blending. It’s like music, classical and rock. They are both great, but your very being reacts differently, not that one is better than the other....just different.The way I depict a scene is totally dependent on my mood.
Q. Do you work in other media, as well?

A. Pencil, pen and ink, some oil and acrylic, but for the past 15 or more years I've just been working with oil pastel.

Q. What are your favorite brands of oil pastels?

A. The two brands I work with are, Sennelier and Caran D'Ache Neopastel. I probably use 70% Sennelier to 30% Caran D'Ache. The Neopastel has some colors I really like but more than that I find it very useful in that it is much more solid than the Sennelier and I can blend and scrub through other colors with it. I just about always work the two together. That doesn't mean to say I wouldn't like some of the others out there, I'm just stuck in my ways.

Q. What supports do you use?
A. Everything I do these days is on Arches #300 hot pressed watercolor
Q. How do you frame your oil pastels? I find framing to be a bit of a problem.
A. Framing is a little different for me. My wife, Karen, (of 42 years I
might add) is always on the lookout for antique frames at garage sales,
antique shops, thrift shops,etc.
I refurbish the frames, rebuild them, stain them, whatever I have to do
to get them back to what they should be. Then I do a painting for the
frame. Kind of backwards I suppose, but we've always been recyclers and
the beautiful old frames are just crying out for some art!
The gallery here locally has a point of interest to tell customers in
regards to the framing, and folks like it.
Every now and then I'll do a piece that I special order a frame for, but most of
the time it's the antique frames.
Also most of my work I frame without glass. It's always an option of the client to get glass if they want. I finish the work with a combination of fixatives that results in a very good secure finished surface. It just bothers the heck out of me trying to look at a piece of art under glass.
Q. Is it difficult to find galleries that will handle oil pastels?
A. I've never had any problem with it.
Q. Which galleries carry your work?
A. The galleries are linked on my website.
Q. What do you plan for your art future?
A.Nearly 10 yrs ago I suffered a head injury that changed a lot of things in my life. Had quite an impact on my artwork, not nearly as spontaneous as the old days, can't work as long, on and on. Anyway, my work and way of working changed considerably because of it. But the important thing is, I keep on plugging away, and will till I drop! That's the why I always say, my art is my "great therapy." So, that's a big reason for the mostly softer mood nowadays compared to earlier.

Thank you, David, for visiting The Oil Pastel Review and sharing your insights with us. Your work is wonderful!



Paintings by Patricia said...

Congratulations, David. Wonderful work and thanks so much Connie for starting this blog.

Connie said...

Thanks so much, Patricia, for visiting The Oil Pastel Review!

Anonymous said...

It's a great interview. I just started getting into oil pastels, having working with oils for decades and was excited to come across your blog. Keep up the good work!

Peggy Feltmate said...

Thank you so much Connie for starting this blog! You are right that finding information about oil pastel is not easy. David's work is beautiful and he has provided me with much food for thought, and with inspiration. Thanks!

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