Lyme artists warned about ‘painter’s block’

PUBLISHED: 15:02 10 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:21 10 January 2019

Phil Clayton with some of his pictures. Picture MOYA PAUL

Phil Clayton with some of his pictures. Picture MOYA PAUL


The answer, says Phil Clayton, artistic director of the Town Mill Galleries, is ‘get on and do it’.

Lyme Regis Art Society started its new term with a presentation by Phil Clayton, artistic director of the Town Mill Galleries.

He explained and demonstrated how he produced and dried six large oil paintings and more than 20 smaller ones whilst on a P&O cruise ship with his partner.

Moreover, this Herculean task was achieved in the few days at sea.

He had cut stretched and primed his canvasses before the trip and then packed the disassembled stretchers and rolled canvases, together with a collapsible light weight easel which would take large pieces of work.

He confessed to overestimating how much paint he would need, actually using a relatively small amount.

He mixed a tiny amount of Cobalt drying medium with his usual walnut oil to speed up the drying process but his description of their cabin draped with wet oil paintings caused a lot of amusement.

He talked about ‘painter’s block’ -a very real condition when inspiration seems to have dried. His remedy is to set oneself a task and to ‘get on and do it’ - covering a board or canvas with black felt tip lines and marks to break into the work and painting shapes, allowing the work to emerge and take over.

His focus is on responding to his environment with colour and mark-making, with his intuitive feel for good composition and a well-informed knowledge of the relationships between different colours - a knowledge acquired through years of experimentation and experience.

He told the meeting: “Painting is very hard work and that there are times when lack of confidence and nervousness prevent people from even starting and it was encouraging for us to hear that even the most experienced of professional artists struggle with this at times.”

Phil looks for energy in his work and the energy that radiated from him during the very entertaining and informative couple of hours, certainly left members feeling inspired and determined to make 2019 a year when they just ‘get on and do it’.

Lyme Regis Art Society meets on alternate Tuesdays in The Woodmead Halls from 2pm to 4pm until the end of March.

The next meeting will be a demonstration on January 22 by Kate Cochraine, titled ‘Ruined Castles’ in oil pastels Visitors and new members are always welcome. For further details, contact Sheila Stratton on 01297 445464.

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