Born 1975, I was raised in one of the countries generic, mid-seventies council estates in a nondescript town, twenty-five miles North West of London Zoo. When I grew up I wanted to be a Stuntman – instead, I worked from the age of 12, in many jobs including milk boy, junior mechanic, failing DJ and barman. They all had their moments but were, in essence, not what I wanted to do. I have all ways wanted to create and pouring a pint didn’t quite cut it.
After graduating in 2001 and gaining a BA Honours in Fine Art Painting, I fell into Graphic Design, after all how does a recent graduate make a living painting pictures. Finally, after working in the City of London, I wanted to head back to the painting studio and found the perfect one, by Kew Bridge. I got to meet some great artists and friends. After a few successful exhibitions and involvement with galleries I became a professional Fine Artist.
After a decade or so painting in London I was lucky enough to be able to relocate and I now live with my wife and two kids, in Lake District National Park, where I own stuff made of Gore Tex. I have several anoraks. It has been quite a journey to get here and it’s not all been fun, but I’m not complaining. I now spend my days in the painting studio, creating semi-abstract seascapes and landscapes. When I get the chance, I venture into the Lakes, Mountains and nearby coastlines. When time allows, my daughter will join me in the studio. She makes lots of mess, never tires of asking a question and I wouldn’t want it any other way!
It was while searching for inspiration for a new series of work that I realised it is not the physical land mass that moves me to create a painting, it is the drama of play with light and darkness that creates the atmospheric conditions that I seek to interpret on canvas. It wasn’t until I returned home that I realised it wasn’t the hills, mountains or the bays themselves, but the fleeting nature of a strong, silvery light, or the darkness of a brooding cloud streaked with sun that really imbedded itself in my mind and is what I strive to communicate in my work.
As always, this series of works is a consequence of recollection, the idea of place and of the painting process. Only this time I have concentrated on the underlying elements of an environment, seeking to heighten and dramatise it.
For me this latest research trip reminded me that, although I had set out to portray locations, exact representations of our surroundings are too restrictive; for me – the working process must be as destructive and creative as nature itself. Beauty has a way of emerging from chaos. The process or the act of creating is the most important element in the paintings – it’s about making that initial mark that will trigger a chain of events, or processes, that steers me towards the final image. The act of just starting and to let yourself be led. Using photography bought this home for me, really making me stop and take in the environment – absorb the place and to focus on what is truly impressive which lays in front of us.
I now live on the edge of the Lake District National Park and this has become, in a subtler way, an influence on my more recent work. It is the ever-changing weather, as well as the backdrop of mountains and the Bay, that has also helped bring together the theme of Light and Dark.
Padstow Gallery is proud to host the launch exhibition of Paul Bennett’s long awaited international tour, featuring an exclusive collection of new sea and landscape oil originals.
Please join ourselves and Paul, on Saturday 1st September to celebrate the release of his new work. The exhibition is open daily from 10am until 5:30pm at 11 Lanadwell Street, Padstow, Cornwall, PL28 8AN, until Monday 10th September.
Signed limited edition giclée prints: contemporary, beautiful and vivid reproductions of your favourite Bennett painting at an affordable price are also available. Produced on professional archival quality paper, the editions retain limited status as there are only ever twenty-five in each collection, all signed and numbered for authentication. Dimensions: 50cm x 50cm w/ 2cm border - £240.00 each.