“It’s been said that all art, whether it’s abstract, landscape, still life or portraiture is all really just a self-portrait of the artist themselves,” comments Tim Mullins. “With this in mind, I’d like to think people would also see a bit of themselves in my work and maybe understand how their own lives, past, present and future may link with the landscape.”
Tim’s landscapes are an uncanny mix of the serene and the explosive – tranquil backgrounds revved up by foregrounds overlaid with brushstrokes and scratches that suggest the movement, changeability, and unpredictability any true vista is subject to.
“Coming from a very artistic family on my mother’s side, I was always given interesting advice on my work as well as encouragement to be creative and try new things,” Tim says. “I learnt from an early age that art wasn’t just about pretty pictures and colour but was also a way of expressing yourself in the same way as one could with poetry or music. For me, art is the creative medium through which to express my feelings or to capture fragments of memories of places and times.”
Rather than attempting to capture a particular landscape or scene, Tim aims to “use a landscape or scene to express an idea, feeling or emotion. So for me the idea comes first and then I’ll use my memory to find a scene with which I can best illustrate the idea, feeling or emotion.”
Although his paintings are expressionist rather than representational, Tim does sometimes like parts of them to be accurate. “I’ll use photos or sketches of the particular area to make sure the hills, trees or fields are as I remember them.” Other times, he explains, he’s “more interested in the ‘feel’ of an area or habitat maybe say downland or the sea shore, so the painting could be of any range of hills or any coastline. I rarely, if ever, paint in situ as I find that there is too much visual stimulation and a temptation to record what I see rather than recreate what I feel.”
Painting predominantly from memory in his studio, Tim is freed up to “allow my imagination to dominate reality. If I was to paint a typical downland scene one could change the whole mood and feel by simply having a very stormy sky. It would, of course, be up to the viewer to interpret the meaning of this and whether the storm was coming or going.”
This ambiguity is part of the satisfaction for Tim. “I hope my paintings evoke an emotional response, and encourage people to look at a landscape a little differently. I would also hope people would feel the power of nature and its elements and how hard it is for us to control or use them. This is why many of my paintings are of very wild places and the edges of cultivation – moorlands, mountains, shorelines and wastelands where people struggle to make a living.”
He admits that the character of his work means it can occasionally be a frustrating experience.
“Sometimes a painting just won’t work however hard I try,” he says. “My style of painting is vigorous and dynamic where paint can be applied carefully with a delicate brush or smeared on with a large palette knife or even thrown at the canvas. When it does work and it all comes together, there is a wonderful feeling of achievement. It’s very rewarding when an image successfully captures a memory and this is made all the better when other people gain pleasure from looking at them.”
Tim exhibits regularly at the Affordable Art Fair in both Bristol and London through the Mae Gallery. He also participates in Hampshire Open Studios each August when Artists open their studios to the public. “As my studio is attached to my home,” he says, “I am always happy for people to come and see my work and give me feedback.”
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