Q: When did you know you wanted to become an artist?
A: It was while I was still at school. We had an amazing art department with an inspirational head of art called John Booth. John was full of wonderful anecdotes and sayings- you wanted him to say about your work- ‘Hey, that’s a visual knock-out!’ - but not, as he sometimes did, ‘Hey, that’s not working, put a brown wash over it!’
John encouraged me to think like an artist, to see potential paintings in the world around me and to have confidence that I could actually earn a living as an artist.
Q: What is your background?
A:I had a very traditional education at a boarding prep school, Eton and Oxford (where I read English and Modern Languages)- I could easily have ended up in the City, or more likely doing Law, as my father was a barrister and then a judge. But I also have a strong artistic inheritance in my family, my sister was a singer-songwriter, my uncle is a rock music producer, and both my grandmothers played the piano, one of them was a very good concert pianist. Also my mother has always been an artist, although never professionally. So there was actually a lot of support for me to make my own tracks.
Q: What is your creative process?
A: For the alphabet prints, I start with a pose, usually taken from a stock of photographs of my children which I gathered through their early years. I draw basic outlines with pencil and then commit to the lines with black acrylic paint. Once I have established the drawing for both the pose and the letter position, I add limited colour. The prints are taken from the original acrylic paintings, which deliberately echo woodcuts in their simple blocks of colour and tone. I am very influenced by William Nicholson whose work and range of styles I greatly admire.
For landscape painting, I go out into the landscape and work en plein air with a travelling easel and oil paints which I work directly onto small primed boards. These are then worked up onto larger canvases in the studio.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: I am still working on the boys’ alphabet because there are going to be 2 limited edition books made in collaboration with Kate Bingham the writer, and Kate Holland the book-binder, later in 2017. I am also working on 2 portraits, one of a head mistress and one of a large family group in London.
And I am putting the finishing touches to a lot of small oil paintings for a studio sale of my work which I often hold at the end of the year.
Q: What is your favourite art work?
A:There is no single one! I adore the French Impressionists, particularly Monet, but I would also go for William Nicholson, David Bomberg, Manet or Degas.
Q: What do you love about your work?
A: Starting new things is always exciting. I think any artist loves the process of making marks of paint. It is thrilling.
Q: Is the artistic life lonely? Do you work a lot on your own?
A: It is lonely in the sense that I do not really know where I am going, or whether I am in fact going anywhere at all.
But my wife is also an artist and I think she would say we work together a lot of the time, mainly because I am always asking her what she thinks!
Luke Martineau is holding a studio sale of his original artwork. For details click here