"I am not interested in pure representation; my work is about responses to the moods and atmospheres generated by landscape, still life or interior.
I take an everyday scene and, through a subtle approach and through focusing on light, colour and tone, I try to give the motif an elevated atmosphere. My subjects are often oriented around the mood of the sea, skies, harbours, ships and figures; I am constantly absorbing everything that is around me.
I am interested in new ideas and art forms. My philosophy is that the more I work the more I discover.
Drawing is essential as a tool of discovery; Skill and mastery of technique are also essential, but only as a vocabulary and a means towards an idea.
As Degas once said, “drawing is not about what one sees, it’s about what one makes others see”.Biographical Details:Education/Career
My passion will always be landscape. It is why I became an artist. I want to share my vision of the world, I see. I have lived and worked in several locations in the last 20 years painting what I see around me from small Cornish fishing villages to bustling cities. Moving to New Zealand for a few years allowed me to find new landscape subject matter. Rugged Mountains, Huge rolling foot hills and sheep stations, magnificent High Country, waterfalls the list is endless.
When on location or in the studio I always work out any composition issues I may have with a good selection of sketches and drawing. Drawing and sketching forces you to look and fully understand the subject in front of you. I am still ‘feeding’ off sketches that I made 20 or more years ago. I have at least 30 sketch books filled with visual memories of my travels. When you are faced with your subject it is important you let it reveal itself to you as you visually work out the shape size and position of the elements that first attracted you to the scene. I have found that in time you will become more proficient at analysing and rendering your chosen subject. It does take a lot of concentration and you will with practise have the ability to have a good memory recall as you make your brain take the ‘photo’ and not rely on the camera which is far too easy and will not help with improving your work..
My working methods as always will be to paint from dark to light and from thin ‘paint’ to thick.
I try to simplify the scene in front of me into a few big shapes (perhaps half a dozen at most) those shapes are not simply blocks of one colour, very often they are areas of broken colour, sometimes mixing colours that are tonally very close, so that the effect is quite subtle, even allowing for the broken colour, I try to restrict the palette I use in any given painting. I am quite happy to exaggerate the colours for the sake of making a painting, quite often you use a lot of neutral or dark colours, adding bright colours to draw attention to the focal point of the picture. The neutrals may include the surface of the paper showing through.
I block in several lean layers. This allows me to glaze and blend colours to the desired colour, shade and tone I am looking for. I do very little ‘finger blending’. For example, to warm up an area of mostly green fields, I will lightly ‘brush’ in an underpainting of an orange/gold colour. It seems to work for me. As Degas once said, “drawing/painting is not about what one sees. It’s about what one makes others see”.
I always paint on sanded paper or board such as Colourfix, Pastel Premier, Uart. I never paint in white paper. For my larger paintings I prepare 3mm MDF with gesso and pastel primer then tint with diluted acrylic to the desired colour. I sometimes use an alcohol wash as an underpainting.
Colour and light are my motivation for choosing a subject. The light sparkling on the water, the colour reflected in the landscape. I favour the mood of the early morning or late afternoon. There is no finer feeling than to be presented with a wealth of subject matter, literally on ones doorstep.
Tony is an award winning painter, tutor, author and Member of the Pastel Society UK.A Master of the Pastel Artists of New Zealand, a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America and a member of the Master Circle IAPS. He has also been recently elected as an Associate Member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists. Tony is a regular contributor to the Pastel Journal and The Artist's Magazine. He is also a busy workshop instructor and juror for national exhibitions. His paintings are shown worldwide and are in private and corporate collections including, Cunard Shipping and Castle Cornet Maritime Museum. His work has been featured in Pure Colour, The Best of Pastel 2: published by Northern Light. Pastel Artists of the World: published by Practique des Arts, Paris. The Artist's Magazine, and more.
Tony is a self-taught artist born on Guernsey, Channel Islands, now lives in the UK.
He has exhibited with the Royal Society of Marine Artists, and the Pastel Society in London, The Pastel Society of America in New York and the 2nd Biennial International Pastel Exhibition in China
D’art Gallery, Devon,
UK Panter & Hall, Mayfair, London
John Noott Gallery Cotswolds, Worcs. UK
Sarah Samuels Fine Paintings, UK
Flagstaff Gallery, Auckland NZ
Coach House Gallery, Guernsey CI
Trevor Victor Harvey Gallery, Sydney, Australia
Agora Gallery, Chelsea, NY, USA
Island Fine Arts, Chichester
Thompson Gallery, London
Jerram Gallery, Sherborne UK
The Walker Gallery, Harrogate.
Framecraft/Studio Gallery, Guernsey CI 1974 -1990
Chichester Centre of Arts UK 1997
Duke of Richmond C.I. 1977
The Georgian House, Alderney CI 1977
Out of the Blue Gallery, Cornwall UK 2000
The Royal Hotel Hall, Guernsey CI 1986
Rooster & Rat Gallery, Cornwall UK 2001
The Gallery Cork Street, London 2001
John Noott Galleries, Broadway UK 2003/2013
Coach House Gallery, Guernsey CI 2003/12
Island Fine Arts, I.O.W. 2000/03/12
Visual Arts Festival, France 1976
R.W.S.Art Club, London 1976 - 1980
Affordable Arts Fair, London 2000/005/14
Ferens Art Gallery Hull UK 1996/98
Century Gallery, Windsor UK 2001/03
Panter & Hall, Mayfair, London 2001/03
Chelsea Arts Fair, London 2001/03/12
Brighton Museum/Art Gallery UK 1992
Royal Society of Marine Artists, 2005/06
Mall Galleries, London 2004
Flagstaff Gallery, Auckland NZ 2007/09/11/13
Selwyn Gallery, NZ 2010
Mansfield Gallery, Nelson, NZ 2011
Exhibitions Gallery, Wellington, NZ 2011
Agora Gallery, Chelsea, New York 2012
Pastel Society, Mall Galleries, London 2013/14 /15
Pastel Society of America, New York 2014
Salon du Pastel International, St. Aulaye, Fr. 2016
Ming Gallery Suzhou, China 2016
Master Circle IAPS , New Mexico 2019
Royal Society of Marine Artists 2019
Inaugural Tasman/Nelson Open Art Award Southland Art Society NZ
First prize 2006 Best still life 2006
People’s Choice 2006 Merit Award 2007
The Pastel Journal Pastel Artists of New Zealand
Honourable Award: Landscape 2008/14 First prize: Unison Cup 2010/11
Honourable Award: Figure 2012
The Pastel Society UK
Pastel Society UK, Winner 2014 Pastel Society UK, 2015
The Artist Magazine, Winner 2014
Artist and Illustrator Magazine Award 2014/17
The Pastel Society UK PS
Master Circle MC-IAPS
Master Pastel Artists of New Zealand MPANZ
Signature Pastel Society of America PSA
Associate Member of the Royal Society of Marine Artists
April 2008 Pastel 100: The Pastel Journal USA
January 2009 Island Country: The Pastel Journal USA
December 2009 Inspired in the Studio: The Pastel Journal USA
April 2010 13 International Pastelists: Pratique des Arts FRANCE
October 2010 Tony Allain Captor of Light: Pratique des Arts FRANCE
New Zealand’s Favourite Artists Volume 2 by Denis Robinson NEW ZEALAND