Kevin Line PS
I have always found that what I observe is more interesting than what I imagine. Portraiture is my natural home as an artist. It enables me to study people. Great portraits can be looked at again and again and still yield something new and fresh with each viewing. They represent a moment of truth as seen by the artist. The way a personality is captured can tell us something about the subject, the artist, ourselves and the human race all at once.
‘Being an Artist’ is, I believe, a condition that could be described as a state of slow looking. To draw one has to observe the subject and do so intimately. In effect, drawing gives you the license to stare at something, or someone, in a way that might normally be considered socially unacceptable. Through drawing you can hone observational skills and through observation comes comprehension and knowledge.
Drawing is a non-verbal thinking process. It frees up thought. It is time consuming. but it is also time slowing, isolating but self fulfilling at the same time. For me it is a part of my life, but also a metaphor for how life should be - everything in its place, every pattern clear, every rhyme exact and every goal near. I have always thought with a pencil in my hand and that is vital to me and who I am.
Method of working:
I am something of a throwback and would have felt very at home in the Arts and Crafts Movement. Working with just charcoal pencils and heavyweight cartridge paper and using my fingers to smudge and blend the tones, I build complex and highly detailed drawings. Turning to fine art late in life, I struggle with very limited eyesight. Life drawing is not possible so I get round this by using photography to capture a wealth of data which I can study on big screens or print out and pin around the drawing board in the studio.
For me the most difficult part of what I do is finding sitters and situations that hold my attention. About which I want and need to know more. I set up photographic sessions sometimes in situ sometimes in the studio. Most importantly I need to control light [the artists primary tool] and for this I often use large theatre spots.
The drawings are all entirely freehand and I use only black. Highlights have to come through from the underlying paper. The technique, grisaille, requires that using only tones of grey you create an image in 2 dimensions that feels 3 dimensional. If you feel you could reach in and put your hands around the subject you have succeeded.
Born in 1948 in London and whilst at the local Grammar School, latent artistic talent was very evident. But, there did not seem to be much of a living to be made from that talent, and a living had to be made, so I put it aside … and regretted it.
I spent a long period in industry and commerce and then 20 years as a freelance garden designer, during which time I also designed and built my own home and occasionally pieces of furniture. Finally after decades of prevarication, in 2009 I returned to my first love, fine art.
As a designer, builder, carpenter, gardener and artist I am entirely self taught. I now live in rural North Cotswolds.
Oxford Art Society [2011- ]
Royal Birmingham Society of Artists [2012-2023]
Abbreviated Exhibition history:
Pastel Society - 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023
Royal Society of Portrait Painters - 2013, 2014, 2017
Royal West of England Academy Autumn Exhibition - 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022.
Royal West of England Academy Drawn - 2016, 2017
Royal Society of British Artists - 2017
Royal Society of Marine Artists - 2017.
Society of Graphic Fine Art - 2016, 2018.
Royal Birmingham Society of Artists - Several exhibitions per year since 2010
Pastel Society 2017 - Faber-Castell/West Design Award
Royal West of England Academy 2013 - UWE Bristol Drawing Award
Royal Birmingham Society of Artists 2011 - Lawrence Prize
Royal Birmingham Society of Artists 2014 - Alec Morison Memorial Prize
Royal Birmingham Society of Artists 2016 - The Artist Magazine Prize
Royal Birmingham Society of Artists 2019 - Peoples choice award
Featured artist on the Film ‘A 108 Portraits’ curated by the RP/ Mall Galleries 2013
Imperfect 10 - Paintings by Kevin Line
The Jackdaw No 149 Jan/Feb 2020