Since early childhood I've been interested in art. My first experience with art was with cigarette packets which had artwork on the packs. I was amazed at how someone could with nothing more than paint and canvas create the illusion of clothes, metal and flesh. On these packs were examples of "The Laughing Cavalier" by Frans Hals painted in 1624 and other great works.

At school we were dished out acrylic paints and brushes nearly 15mm across and told to paint "something". I tried but couldn't emulate my artistic heroes and so I decided to buy my own paints, brushes and canvas. The theory was sound, surely with better tools I could start to paint better and I did. With my trusty Foster's books I painted a few portraits and even a few landscapes. When I took them to school for "Show and tell" I was told that the work was not my own. I persisted and bought my first oil colours, then came adulthood and a job and the paints were placed in boxes not to be seen for years.

I did find myself wanting more and out came those paints, some now rock hard, others still useable. I bought some books on art and I found some references to how the old masters would paint by glazing... something that for me has a very natural feel to it. I enjoy painting layer over layer to work towards the final painting.

As I read, I became aware of other artists and enjoy studying their work. I think that's why I'm not just a portrait artist. I guess Frans Hals can take credit for why I like to paint portraits. John Seerey Lester and Robert Bateman can share my gratitude whenever I paint animals. Robert Taylor is responsible for why I love aviation art and Boris Vallejo piqued my interest in fantasy art. I love the works of Banksy and dozens of others and so now I paint what I like or sometimes what I get asked to paint.

I now look for the way light plays across a subject and see how shadow and form are created by it.

As an artist I have only just started to grow. I now strive towards highly realistic paintings and where I'll end up artistically I delight in saying "I have no idea".


Rob Kennedy