Meet the artist: Andrew Talbot

When did you first start painting? Were you born with a paint palette in hand, or did your interest in art develop over time?

I was born on the family farm in the North West of England. When I was a young child I wanted to be a farmer but when I was 13 years old I found that I’d rather draw cows than milk them!

Was there a moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?

From the moment of age 13, when I drew something that really looked like the subject, I was hooked and can’t remember a moment after that when I didn’t want to draw and paint.

Andrew Talbot in his studio working on "Perfect Peony"

How can you describe your own style and technique?

The thrill for me is to turn the simple ingredients of oil, medium, canvas and some simple brushes into something which appears real. There is a point in a painting when the hard work of blocking in the painting is done and then the subtleties of tone and hue, transparency and opaqueness, softness and sharpness, turn the surface into an illusion of the real.  This point for me is what continues to excite me about oil painting. Some of the  subjects I paint would be classed as more hyperreal whilst others are more of a contemporary realism.

If I can master how something is going to look then I can start exploring other important qualities like telling a story or purveying a certain atmosphere. I sometimes feel like a director on the stage bringing in props and having actors come and go.

"Knickerbocker glory" by Andrew Talbot

Do you have a personal favourite piece? Can you think of a piece that was particularly fun to work on?

I have an excitement with every painting I start. I try to be absolutely uncompromising in my efforts as I immerse myself in each one. I hope this can be seen in all the paintings I make. However some paintings inevitably become favourites for one reason or another and some paintings turn into a favourite sometime later.

Pile up on Park Lane- Tapping into the imagination and role play we had as children and seeing the world through the eyes of play is great fun. This is a good example of my style whereby I use old toy cars and a classic board game in telling a narrative.

Knickerbocker glory- I have fond but messy memories capturing this subject in paint before it was a mess on the studio floor. Painting the melting ice-cream, pushed against the hard glass, next to fruit and whipped cream was a joy to paint.

Bread and Honey- This has become one of my most shared paintings on the internet and the couple who bought this camped 2 days outside the gallery to buy it prior to the exhibition opening. The subject is very simple but allowed me to explore all the different elements and  materials. Painting liquids, as if they glow, behind glass is always very satisfying for me

Perfect Peony- This is a favourite painting because of it’s a large scale which is unusual for me. I really enjoyed being able to blend large areas of petal, leaf and background. When finished it had a real presence in a room.

"Pile up on Park Lane" by Andrew Talbot

Which artist of the past would you most like to meet?

For me I feel meeting an artist like Sargent, Forbes, Millet, Whistler would be great but being able to enjoy their incredible works which have stood for all that time is a real privilege. We are able to see the best creations an artist has sacrificed a lifetime to create on the gallery wall.

What is your favourite art gallery/museum and why?

We live an hour from Manchester so visiting the city gallery there is always a regular treat. They have a great collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings by Holman Hunt, John Waterhouse and Millais whose works have become like old friends. Selecting just a few paintings view in a world class gallery is enough as it takes time to really look and break down how the are painted and why they works so well.


"Bread and Honey" by Andrew Talbot

What was the last exhibition you went to?

I went to see an exhibition by the Scottish colourist Peploe in Edinburgh which was fantastic.  I generally don’t try to see too many contemporary artists exhibitions as I don’t want to be subconsciously influenced. For me having my eyes open in new surroundings whilst travelling is my best source of inspiration, whether it be  a slick city centre bar or an old French second and shop.

Which artist materials do you use and why?

I use different paint manufacturers for different reasons. Some brands I just love one colour which is unique to them, others I use because they have  the right consistency for that particular layer. I use mainly a mixture of flat synthetic brushes for the majority of the work and finishing with a quality brush with a supple long point.

Visit the website of Andrew Talbot