What’s your background?
One of my earliest memories is of being a schoolyard with children running around chasing footballs and generally doing what small children do while I was sitting in a sheltered alcove drawing in a small notebook—a pattern that continued throughout my school days at Gilbert Institute and Saltus Grammar School. It was not until I got to a University in Canada that I found a place where I could make art my primary activity.
I worked as a Graphic Designer for the University of Manitoba in Canada, for Aardvark Advertising here in Bermuda and in the Department of Information Services for the Bermuda Government. I always continued to paint as well as design and have been painting full-time for the last 12 years.
I did hundreds of paintings of Spanish Point which was only a few minutes away from my office in Hamilton and so ideal for lunchtime paintings. Lunchtime painting also taught me how to paint fast and simplify and get to the point of the work right away. I also eventually figured out how to make a painting outfit that was light and easy to move around. I became a Plein Air painter by default.
What’s integral to the work of an artist?
Making things. Everyday. Doesn’t matter what medium. Just make art, its what artists do. There is no other way to improve. And perhaps a big brush if you are a painter.
What role does the artist have in society?
I don’t know any artists who have set out with the goal of defining their culture but none of us work in complete isolation, although art is a very solitary occupation. And I feel that artists’s works do tend to mirror the core values of the culture that they live in.
How has your practice changed over time?
I started out doing very detailed drawings and acrylic paintings and evolved into a loose watercolourist. At the moment I am doing opaques again, mostly in gouache. I enjoy learning and discovering so I am always happy to try new mediums and approaches.
What do you dislike about your work?
Sometimes its not as good as I would like it to be, execution lagging behind intent.
What do you like about your work?
I like it when the painting takes on a life of its own and tells a story about the way I see the world. I am happiest when the universe smiles and a lovely painting happens—and then all is right with the world.
I enjoy people’s responses to my work, they often find that the paintings talk to them in ways that I had never thought of. People tell me that they find my work very peaceful and happy and that they enjoy looking at my painting on their wall everyday.
Name something you love, and why.
Name something you don’t love, and why.
Painting on location on hot and humid days with no wind and eye flies and watercolour washes that will not dry. Add in a barking dog and a man with a leaf blower and love is not the first thing that comes to mind.
Where do you gather most of the inspiration for your works?
From the world around me, a calm day, an extra full high tide, a fisherman paddling out to his boat, sun reflecting off a roof, an interesting shadow, any of these things can trigger an image that I have to paint. And on an ongoing basis, from the work that I am doing right now, one image always leads to another.
What, in your opinion, is the hardest step in creating a masterpiece?
The hardest part, always, is knowing when to stop. A lot of winners have been ruined with that one last stroke, especially in watercolour where you can’t go back and fix your mistakes.
I tend to think of my paintings as ones that work, and ones that don’t work so I am not entirely happy with the idea of any of my pieces being designated as a masterpiece.
Occasionally a painting really sings, and that one would I designate a winner. Winners always somehow seem larger than more full of presence than the paper they are painted on.
If you had the chance to say anything to the world, what would it be?
For artists, “plan like a turtle, paint like a rabbit” for everyone else, “start making art now.” Making art will enrich your life whatever the level you work at.
And it is never too late to start. My 88-year-old mother paints quite happily on her iPad and does some very nice stuff too.
And oh yes, Buy Art.
How has painting influenced your life?
Making images pretty much defines me. I need to end my day knowing that I have made something that didn’t exist when I got up. I have had a lot of areas of interest and all consuming activities at various times in my life but I have always painted and drawn as well. I would guess that I am lucky in that I now get to work at something that I love to do.
If someone wanted to purchase your work or commission you how can they best contact you?
My website has contact information www.christophermarson.com or email me at email@example.com. I have a working studio located in the Dockyard Arts Centre www. artbermuda.com. My work is always on show and available there and I can be found working in my studio on most days of the week.
Where can people see your work?
The Dockyard Arts Centre for most of my work. I also show in the Windjammer II gallery in the Hamilton Princess. In Vera P Card’s in St Georges and I occasionally show in the Bermuda Society of Arts and in Masterworks.