Alastair Proud – Artist Interview

Our next Artist interview is with Gallery Artist Alastair Proud.

Alastair Proud was born and educated in Dublin. Moving to Wales he attended Art College in Carmarthen leaving in 1978 to earn a living as an artist. While still at Art College he submitted work and was accepted for ‘The Society of Wildlife Artists’ annual exhibition. His work received the admiration of Sir Peter Scott, the then President of the society. He has exhibited with the Society annually at the Mall Galleries since then and became a full member in 1986.
Alastair has illustrated many books on the natural world and has work in private collections all over the world, including over 40 paintings in the collection of royalty. The Pembrokeshire coast and the islands are a constant source of inspiration for his work.

‘Shearwaters over the seventh Wave’

Here is the Interview:

·         Firstly how is the lockdown affecting your work?

In many ways lockdown has not affected my work in the studio as I seldom see people during the course of a day’s studio work; however I am finding that not being able to get to the coast or hills very frustrating as this time of year is particularly inspiring with Spring advancing and nature wakening. However, I have found that being confined to my local patch has definite pluses, for example I spent time locating a local red kites nest; I had suspected that kites were breeding in this particular wood but never spent the time to confirm this.

·         Where do you get most of your inspiration?

My inspiration comes mainly from the countryside of West wales [The coast] and Scotland.[The hills].

·         Do you have a favourite painting that you have done? If so which one?

I am not sure if I have a favourite painting of mine as one always sees the weaknesses of your own work, but some works , usually when you see them again after a period of time can give you a feeling of reasonable satisfaction, ‘Peregrine in his rock garden’, is possibly an example of this

Alastair Proud - 'In his rock garden - peregrine_1024x760
‘Peregrine in his rock Garden’

·         Where/ or what  is your favourite place/subject  to paint?

My favourite place is anywhere wild and with as little evidence of  human influence on the landscape as possible.

·         How do you find titles for your paintings, does the idea come before or after?

Some titles for work I know from the beginning of the painting, others I will struggle to find

‘Ghostly hunter of the salt marsh’

·         Who’s your favourite artist/artists?

I have many artists whose work I admire but if I were to have one painting of any artist [monetary value aside] I would choose a Keith Shackleton painting of the Southern ocean with a wandering albatross effortlessly moving over a stormy sea.

·         What could you not do without in your studio?

I would not be able to do without the large window that I have my easel next to

Alastair in his studio

·         How do you feel your work has changed over the years?

I like to think that after 40 years painting professionally I have improved and paint in a more relaxed and spontaneous way?

·         Is there a particular time/place or movement you feel influenced you the most?

I like the figurative paintings of the early 20th century, particularly the work of John Singer Sargent and William Orpen, perhaps this has been an influence.

·         What other work have you done apart from being an Artist?

I worked as a labourer on a building site before going to art college, this meant that I had some money saved to see me through Art College.

·         What is the best thing about being an artist for you?

Being able to experience things in the natural world and attempt to convey these experiences through painting.

Alastair Proud - Chough Exuberance-
‘Chough exuberance’

·         Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?

Ever since I was a child I wanted to paint but I am not sure I wanted to be an artist. This brings me in mind of the anecdote of the small child saying to it’s mother, ‘When I grow up I want to be an artist! and the thoughtful mother replying ‘Now son/daughter, you must decide, you can only do one or the other’.

·         What sort of painting are you working on at the moment?

I am presently working on a painting of a short-eared owl among molinia grasses, a subject I have undertaken several times in the past but always hope that I can improve on past efforts.

recently finished painting of short-eared owl

Another recently finished painting –
‘puffins on Skokholm island’

·         Can you show us some images from your sketchbook? 

sketchbook work
sketchbook work
sketchbook work

·          What is your favourite medium to work in and why?

My chosen medium for finished work is oil, watercolour and pencil for fieldwork sketching.

If you’d like to see some more paintings by Alastair Proud

– Please click here

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed! More Artists interviews to read below.