Max Hale is a painter and tutor from Wiltshire, a Professional Associate and RSC SAA, member of Bucks Art Society, a tutor for Art in the Algarve, his awards include the Royal Talens Award , the Artist magazine at Patchings Festival and has had paintings accepted there three years in a row. Max also writes on commission for The Artist and SAA Paint magazines. The Friends are pleased to welcome him and look forward to Max displaying his work at Studio 61 Gallery. Please read our interview with him below to find out more!
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Max Hale; I’m a full time painter, tutor and demonstrator. I prefer ‘painter’ to ‘artist’ as it identifies me more accurately. I also write articles and tutorials for art magazines
Why do you do what you do?
I have to paint. I have no choice it is my total life and it is what I am. My teaching and demonstrating have been borne out my desire to spread my experience, enthusiasm and motivation to others. Art can change and enhance lives in so many ways and is in all of us in some way. I derive almost as much pleasure from tutoring to help artists improve their vision as I do when I paint for myself.
What’s your background?
I was born in Bushey, Hertfordshire but brought up in Harrow, Middlesex. I gained a Fine Art degree at Harrow Art School and then worked in London doing story illustration in a studio near Fleet Street. I continued my art career but to supplement my income I chose commercial photography my second love and latterly sales to make ends meet. I now live in Wiltshire where I moved five years ago and of course painting is full time career along with my teaching and demonstrating.
How has your practice changed over time?
I consciously adapt and change my style and practices almost monthly. I paint with all mediums and attempt to reinvent myself and my art on a regular basis. I am hell-bent on removing detail from my work to the extent of working with large brushes right through execution. I am always looking for more efficient and effective ways of making marks. It is not the end result that drives me but the pure process of making art. I view the result as the stepping stone to the next piece of work.
What art do you most identify with?
I love simple shapes and cerebral work. I admire artists that have thought out their paintings with purposeful, determined and beautiful mark making. I admire the impressionists and the post impressionists. There are many contemporary painters like David Curtis, Mark Demsteader, Ken Howard who was one of my tutors at Harrow. Lucien Freud was a superb painter but I couldn’t work as painstakingly slowly like he did. His people are so believable and gutsy, I don’t like pretty, prissy work.
Describe a real-life situation that inspired you?
My inspiration is form and light especially hard, raking light from windows giving interesting shadows. I visited a local pub about a year ago and I saw five men at the bar, two were chatting to a group of others at a nearby table one was looking towards the window and the remaining two had just come in and one had a dog on a lead. The light was amazing and the value play between them and the busy bar behind just fascinated me it was a scene waiting to be painted!
What inspires you?
I am inspired by so many things but I get really excited by beautiful form and shape. I have been recently inspired by interior lighting coming from windows and then interplay of natural and artificial light and how they change the subject colour. I also love backlit and rim lighting it gives wonderful shadows and describes the subject subtly by removing detail and just showing the simple form. I can feel the excitement in me by just describing this!
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
I recently started an art circle. I am regional co-ordinator for the SAA and we meet just once a month but we also go on gallery visits and paint out in the summer months. Also as a demonstrator and tutor I run workshops and do demonstration for art societies which can take me up to 100 miles from home. No time to be lonely!
What do you dislike about the art world?
The current trend towards supporting ultra realism. Art should be art not a photograph. I teach my students to rejoice in their individual styles, to be free and to make sure they are not disappointed if their paintings do not look exactly like their subject. I have made several representations to art organisations and magazines that give disproportionate exposure to realism. Expressionism and impressionism is far more challenging to both the artist and the viewer. There should always be something to discover in a painting and realism in my opinion, is dull genre.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Something I pass on to my students which came from my art school days is ‘draw every day’.
Art is like playing a musical instrument and if you don’t practice your scales then your playing will deteriorate. It’s exactly the same with art; you MUST keep up the practice. I give my students a little lesson by saying ‘try to draw every day for two weeks just for ten minutes a day and at the end of the fortnight you will have improved.’ I promise it works.
Max Hales work is arriving at the gallery this week, please come in and take a look the main exhibition continues with Stormy Weather by Gareth Buxton and our artist in a window is ceramics by Jayne Woodbridge.