Independent artist and designer Paul Lovering creates vividly stunning works of art featuring some of the modern world’s most beloved faces.
What is it like living in Edinburgh? Did you grow up in Scotland? What are some of your most fond memories from those days?
Edinburgh is a beautiful city with lots of history. What I like most is being able to walk into town, which takes about 20 minutes and make a visit to one of the museums or art galleries, then have a quick drink and something to eat and a taxi home.
The down side of Edinburgh is the cold. I was brought up in Devon (and for a couple of years in Australia) and despite living here for over 30 years have never really got used to it.
We have not always lived in Edinburgh. I have fond memories of living near Pitlochry (small hamlet called Auld Clune). I used to run every day with my dog and we had two rescue cats (long gone now but much loved).
Who were some of your earliest influences?
Earliest influences for me was the impact of music, listening to Dylan, Bowie, The Beatles and the Stones, their lyrics painted pictures.
I also had a ring of school friends who were superb artists, we all seemed to be drawing and painting album cover art inspired compositions, I guess what with no internet, creating was as near as we could get to maybe being discovered in those halcyon days. None of us, especially including myself, were able to even think about going to art college. Back then (early 1970s) money was tight and working class parents guided you towards a “proper” job.
When did you first discover your love of art?
I had two really good art teachers at school. But, I was a bit of a rebel and really did not apply myself back then. I was more interested in sport, socialising and music. Instead of doing my homework I hung around with my friends and we played the albums we had all saved to buy. These were a big influence, as I loved the artwork on the album covers. So people like, Claus Voormann (Revolver), Peter Blake (Sergeant Pepper), Philip Travers (Moody Blues) were great influences… I was really disappointed when CDs replaced albums and we lost all that great artwork.
What are some of the most challenging things you face in working with watercolors?
The biggest challenge is controlling the paint having spent ages on my original sketch. But, I’m not too precious about it. If it doesn’t go the way I want, I go with it and if it doesn’t work it goes in my other gallery my bin. Another challenge is getting a commission. Normally I will paint away aiming to be as loose and flowing as I can. The minute I get a commission, especially a portrait, I get nervous which means the painting can get too tight. And, I never know when to finish it. I often want to do more but am afraid to spoil what I have already created.
What do you enjoy most about the art of creation?
Producing new and original images of iconic people that stand out is what excites me. Friends are always making suggestions of more contemporary people who will be more commercial. But, I enjoy painting my heroes for other people that feel the same way as I do. It probably makes me sound like an old but I can’t get excited about painting the latest rap artist (usually spelt with a silent “c”).
Why do you like recreating the human figure and faces in particular?
The human face and the eyes are the most important to me, I’m not looking for my work to be controversial or serious. I just want people to be grabbed by it as a reminder of something in the past, like a song or a concert. I want to keep it simple and positive.
How do you decide which images you are going to recreate?
It can be something as day to day as hearing a song, reading a news article or watching a film as long as it is someone that I am interested in.
Do you think the world needs more creative outlets in these modern times?
Absolutely. I want to celebrate all the arts in a positive way. I try to avoid the negatives even though I know that less money is going to the arts due to government cuts.
What do you think is key to a life well lived?
Health, Love and Happiness, and having your Dreams.
Is there a dream project you’d most like to bring into being?
Yes. I am planning to move from watercolor into large scale oil canvas portraits. If I can create something good that people like then I will hopefully make a few sales. I have several customers who have been asking me for years to produce big canvases.
Is there anything you’d like to say before you go?
You are never too old. I took up painting when I was 50 years old, so my dream came true.
Enjoy your art be bold and expressive.
And thank you Tina for your great work and the opportunity to answer your questions.