Andrew Sinclair | Tracing Light & Shadow

Posted by Kim Soep on

Best known for his renditions of people, Andrew Sinclair has been branching out in recent years, applying his painterly style to still-life and landscape painting, so we were curious to find out more about his process and whether it changed according to subject matter, and why oil paint remains his medium of choice.....

  • Andrew: From an early age, all I did was draw, doodle and create – this grew into a desire to go to art school. In 1996, I graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, in Painting and Drawing. Unlike other art schools, they still taught traditional techniques, which appealed to me greatly and formed the preface to my own style and practice. I have always been drawn to painting and admired the way it can create the illusion of light and shade, and naturally, it became my medium of choice. I continue to inform my practice by studying the masters, like Velazquez and Sargent, and contemporary painters like Richard Schmid.


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    Kim: The subject matter in your paintings span people, objects and the Scottish landscape. Do you have a preference?

    Andrew: Currently, I am enjoying a new range of still life compositions. I love controlling the light and creating interesting setups in the shadow box I built. It is a superb addition to my studio. 

    Kim: Can you tell us why oil paint is your preferred medium?

    Andrew: I relish the versatility of oil paint, from thick impasto to subtle glazing and scumbling, a huge variety of finishes and approaches are available.

    Kim: Do you have a set approach to making work or does is it differ?

    Andrew: Depends on the subject matter. I usually start by suggesting the composition with broad gestures and getting the feel of the painting and then working the Chiaroscuro to create depth and contrast. I decide on areas of interest and where I want to focus on detail, conscious of brush marks and harmony as the painting reaches a conclusion. Recently, I have greatly reduced my palette and found this to be very rewarding. When I'm painting en plein-air my approach is quite different as I'm working with a much lighter range of tones and colours. The results are fresh and have to be rapidly executed as the light changes so quickly here on the West Coast. Sometimes, I am waiting for a particular light on a hill I am painting to reappear as the clouds are moving. Very different from working in the studio!

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    Kim: Tell us about your plans for 2020. What have you been working on recently?

    Andrew: I am working towards an exhibition with artist Joyce Gunn Cairns OBE. It’s always very interesting to see a quantity of work together, the paintings can create talking points depending on how they are curated. The objects I am working towards hinge on human interaction with nature, our influence and effects.

  • Browse Andrew Sinclair's collection of work here.

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