Each month, Yeovil Creatives are going to present to you one of our members. A close-up of their actual artworks, projects, and preoccupations.
Mark joined Yeovil Creatives in 2020. An established but part-time artist, he moved to the area 4 years ago following his retirement from an office career to concentrate on his art. Recently he has been painting larger pieces, up to 1500cm, exploring traditional oil painting methods. He has followed da Vinci, Rubens, Jan Steen and Victorian artists in recent works, using their techniques but adapting their subject matter into scenes featuring, for instance, Daisy the cow, a popular model who features in several of his works.
The photos show two of these, both finished in March. The Bride in Death is loosely based on a Thomas Barker painting in the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath. Three Gold Coins even more loosely follows a Jan Steen bar scene. For the latter, the process is illustrated by four photos showing the original idea, initial sketch on the canvas, work in progress and nearly final piece on the easel.
His normal oil painting process though is a little different from that of The Masters. He often lays a vivid pink or yellow background on the canvas in acrylic paint and then, when dry, draws out his subject in oil paint which is about as thin with medium as possible. Sometimes the acrylic is left to show through an oil varnish in places so that the finished work is strictly “mixed media”. More often, it is covered completely but the colour helps him deal with his dislike of bright white canvas while working. He keeps preparatory sketches or drawings loose and to a minimum and varies the picture’s form on the canvas itself until he is happy. He prefers to have several paintings in progress at the same time, using the same quite restricted palette, and taking time to stand back and consider each one.
Part of his learning experience, he says, has been to slow down and truly consider what remains to finish a work and also to identify that exact moment when it is “done”.
At the moment he is experimenting with pointillism (referencing Seurat) and with a mixed media Klimt interpretation, both also featuring Daisy.
Mark is participating in Dorset Art Weeks 22 May – 6 June this year, and would love you to visit his studio in Sherborne, which will be open every day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (pandemic rules applying of course). You can find out more on the DAW website or the supplement accompanying the latest edition of Evolver.
And he has a virtual gallery to explore, accessible through his website www.markpender-art.com.
Find more about the artist on his Yeovil creative’s profile page here.
Step-by-step of “Tree Gold Coins“, oil on canvas, 60x42cm and inspired by the Dutch Masters but featuring Daisy the cow.