Graham Berry studied Graphic Design at Blackpool College of Art, and later studied Illustration at Wimbledon College of Art. After graduating in 1971 he was employed as the Illustrator at a small design studio in Soho, London and has gone on to have a very successful illustration career.
He’s had to move with the times and all his commercial illustration is now done digitally. It was this fact and the downturn in the economy that has allowed him time to concentrate on water colour painting.
Graham says ‘I’ve only recently began to consider myself a painter, although I’ve drawn and painted most days for the past 30+ years it was as an illustrator, any painting I did in my spare time was done to promote my illustration career. It as only been since my illustration work is now 100% digital that I can separate myself as a painter. So I only consider I started my career as a painter 2 years ago. My digital illustration is done in my downstairs office and my paintings are done in my studio upstairs, totally separate physically and mentally which is very important to me.’
About the inspiration for his work, Graham says ‘My paintings are inspired by the effect of light and shadow on our environment, creating dynamic shapes and colours, I especially enjoy painting people going about their everyday lives.
My experience working as an Illustrator has refined my drawing ability that is the foundation to my work, I believe the ability to draw is fundamental to painting.
I attend a ‘Life Drawing‘ class every week to sharpen my drawing and observation skills. I’m always on the look out for images that will make interesting paintings, I try to take my camera with me at all times just in case I see something that appeals. At other times I will go to a specific place or event with the intention of getting material for painting, usually I will do a number of paintings from those photos or sketches, at the moment most of my paintings are studio based.‘
After years working as an illustrator, with the restrictions of working to a brief, it feels great to be painting for myself and when a painting is not going as I would like I now have the freedom to rip it up and start afresh. Somedays you feel you’ll never paint anything decent but you’ve just got to work through it, every painting you produce adds to your knowledge of what works or doesn’t work.
Painting with watercolour is never easy and every painting provides a fresh challenge, it’s a very exciting medium to work with and when a painting turns out as you would like it’s very satisfying.
I’ve had work selected for the latest edition of North Light Books’ Best of Watercolor contest, Splash 14: Light and Color and Splash 15: Creative Solutions.
To see more of Graham Berry work visit his web site: grahamberrystudio.com