My working Methodology

I worked for the National Trust as a volunteer for many years. I feel that this experience has given me a broad sense of the land that we inhabit. This includes the  Mendip Hills and the surrounding areas of the Somerset Levels. People  regularly ask me if I work from photographs and I say that I don’t. I prefer to work from memory. So that I can use a flicker of a memory as a starting point and work from that point exploring emotions connected to the land.I generally start with a charcoal drawing then incorporate other materials and mediums as is suggested with what the composition demands. I would say that I work with a mixed media approach. Using acrylic paint with pastels and charcoal, conte and graphite. Using quite a dry palette .Sometimes scratching back onto the surface with sandpaper, then maybe overlaying again with another layer of a particular medium. In this way I achieve a lot of texture and the composition emerges from the surface in hopefully quite an elemental way.

I call my paintings contemporary landscapes. They are about the land we inhabit now and our relationship with it. So some of my paintings  might have some urban inflections although they are about the countryside. I try to get a sense of the land without overly Romanticizing it in a way that describes modern energetics and feeling. I am inspired by many different genres of painting. More recently the paintings of Whistler and his “nocturne”pieces. A term he appropriated from a classical composer. I like the feeling of transition at dusk from one state to another. I strive to find  the sense of mystery at this time of day in my paintings.

Matthew West

October 2016

You can see my work at a2Gallery in Wells
80 High street
Ba5 2AJ