Andrew Lucas was born and grew up in Salisbury, but is now based in the seaside town of Torquay in South West England. His love of both urban and rural spaces started from a young age, stemming from the countryside and medieval architecture that surrounded him as a child.
Converting the beautiful scenes he sees every day into art and drawings has always been interesting to Lucas and allows him to express the way he feels about the world around him. His first solo exhibition, “The Inspirational World” was held in Salisbury’s Portico Gallery in 2003 and he has since exhibited throughout England and abroad.
Lucas strives to share his passion for painting and drawing with a wider audience, a desire that was enhanced by his first international exhibition, “The Journey to Krasnodar”, which was held in Russia in 2019.
The Net Gallery: You began working with watercolour early on and have since settled on it as your primary medium. What is it about watercolours that really speaks to you as an artist?
Andrew Lucas (AL): When I started painting, I experimented with many different mediums and I found quite early on that watercolour offered the best result for what I was trying to achieve. It allowed me to mimic different textures and depth of a subject, allowing for subtleness in my work and to create paintings without seeming heavy on the eye. This was especially true with architectural rendering, but also with landscape, seascape and still life.
Once I became confident with the medium, I was able to work toward the style and understanding that I have today. I enjoy its ability to conform to many different scenarios, yet it can be a stubborn medium and will always remind you that discipline and respect is required in its application. I still find you are never truly in control of watercolour, but are more like a working partner encouraging the best from it.
Watercolour for me is very versatile, and can deliver a broad range of results in its application like no other medium, and that is why I enjoy working with it so much.
TNG: You have had solo shows in the UK and internationally in Russia. Did you notice any major differences between your experiences of showing work at home and abroad? What makes international shows so appealing to you?
AL: The main difference that I have experienced is that internationally there seems to be a broader audience base viewing the work. I think that when you are a guest artist in a host country different to your own, this naturally offers an extra element of interest surrounding your art. This is especially true if the body of work depicts scenes familiar to the host country, and that the audience can relate to.
I enjoy exhibiting both in the UK and internationally as they can be very different and offer varying experiences. I would say that conveying a message through the paintings to an international audience, and having the work known and accepted is a unique, yet uplifting challenge that I enjoy partaking in very much, and plan to continue with.
TNG: What major themes do you aim to pursue in your work?
AL: I think the major themes I am trying to convey within my work is to attempt to show an alternative visual attitude toward a normal everyday scene. This is also the case with an impressive building with details that people may never have paid attention to before. I would hope that through the work, people may see elements of a familiar scene that they have never noticed, a beauty that was always there but hidden perhaps.
I try to paint subjects that not only inspire me, but will inspire and interest the audience also and in turn let people relate to the painting. Whether it helps change the visual attitude of a certain place, or the positive feeling they may get when looking at the work, that is the message I am hoping to exchange through my paintings.
TNG: You have a very classical painting style. Do any other artists inspire your work?
AL: One of the earliest paintings I can remember was of Salisbury Cathedral by John Constable. Other works by artists including Turner, Sargent and Cannalleto also had a huge influence on me. My parents had many paintings by a local artist on the walls of my childhood home in Salisbury. I remember looking at these paintings trying to work out how the artist gave the illusion of form, texture and depth.
This always intrigued me as a child and later in my teens increased my interest in pursuing a deeper understanding of art and painting. All of these artists continue to inspire me today, along with many others.
TNG: What has been the best advice given to you as an artist?
AL: The best advice that was given to me was simply to be an individual and express yourself in your own way through your artistry. Trying to find your own style and attitudes through practice, hard work and perseverance, will help you stand out from the crowd. I have tried to keep this in mind and have found that it has helped through the years of developing my work.
TNG: Have the events of the last 12 months had any impact, positive or negative, on your work?
AL: There have been both positive and negative impacts. As with many artists, exhibitions were cancelled and plans suspended in 2020 and into the new year, but this way of life is just part of the bigger picture for now, which although frustrating, is understood. I have still been working hard on new paintings with a positive frame of mind that better days are coming. With these better days, I hope exhibitions, events and plans can once more take flight.
On the positive side, it has reminded me to embrace all opportunities both positive and negative. Any opportunity is better than no opportunity at all, and I feel that this is very true and relevant in the world we find ourselves in today.
TNG: A lot of your work seems to revolve around architecture and urban scenes. Why are you drawn to this subject matter in particular?
AL: I have always been attracted to architecture, industrial design and urban spaces. Growing up in a medieval city allowed me to look at old architecture everyday, and my interest for buildings and urban space increased over time. Architecture from all points in history offers an interest for me, as I am fascinated with how buildings are designed and constructed. I enjoy capturing historic and period architecture, I find this offers me a welcoming familiarity from my childhood.
I also enjoy painting modern architecture, some of which is beautiful and magnificent in its own right. I think because I have always drawn buildings from a young age, this has translated into my paintings and the style I have. Due to the level of detail I enjoy capturing, architecture and urban space lends itself very well to my style of work. I find painting buildings interesting as it also makes a point in time that becomes a historical visual reference point.
This is not to say that I don’t enjoy painting other subjects such as landscapes, seascapes or still life, all can offer a refreshing change for me. But I will always have a love for architecture and the urban space through my work, which I am sure will continue.
Art by Andrew Lucas
“A typical view of a tram in the southern Russian city of Krasnodar. The city has many trees that line the streets and tramways, this gives a sense of freedom from the busy city within. The view of this particular tram was taken in late afternoon on a very hot August day, and the tram was full of passengers longing to get home and escape the heat of the day.”
“This was a study of one of the many buildings in Regent Street, London. I wanted to give a real sense of scale to this piece by suggesting crowds of shoppers walking along the street below. I wanted to keep the drawing as simple as possible, without losing the sense of grandeur of the building itself. I used a muted palette to emphasize the style of architecture, which I felt came together well in the final work.”
Interview by Toby Buckley.