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The Man Who Paints like Poetry: Richard K. Blades

Hello, first of all, we are very pleased that you accepted this interview with us. We would like to get to know you. Who is Richard K. Blades?

Thank you! I am an Oil and Gouache painter from the UK and my work aims to deepen the connection between our human experience and the sublime qualities of nature. I live in a region called Norfolk on the East Coast of England. Here I am close to the sea and am surrounded by beautiful landscapes. I have been a professional Artist for around 10 years and have travelled widely. I also teach painting both locally and online and enjoy helping other artists. I studied Fine Art but class myself as a self-taught painter.

Just three words: the sea, sky, landscape… What does it mean to you?

The landscape is so important to me. Ever since I was a child, growing up in the English countryside, I have been fascinated by the Sea and Sky and landscape. I feel a deep and transcendent calling to it and it is through Art that I’m best able to represent that connection. I spend a lot of time out in nature, just absorbing it. Whether it is a stormy day or sublime sunset, I feel as though the experience speaks to the very essence of my being.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Inspiration for me is a way of life. As an artist, I always have my eyes open to the world around me. I spend many hours walking in nature and looking at the sky, it is this that gives me the source of inspiration for my work. I tend not to work outside or from photographs, but instead store up all that experience and go back to the studio, full of ideas, inspired and ready to paint. Although I’m inspired by my immediate environment, I see my work as universal. Many of my collectors live abroad and I’m fascinated by how the landscape, sea and sky have this appeal, wherever we are in the world, it is a universal language.

These pictures you draw are generally vast seas and sky. Colour palettes… Is it all a way out or an escape from the hustle and bustle of life?

There is an element of escape in my paintings. I moved back to the countryside after living in London for 12 years. Living in the city can starve us of that connection to nature and I used my painting as a way of escaping the urban environment. There is a sense of longing that is very important to my Art, I love the feeling of desiring a connection to nature but it being something that is just out of reach. In this sense I am a romantic painter, poetry is something with which I resonate. I try to create visual poetry that speaks to our longing for the transcendent power of being at one with nature.

Why and how did you start painting?

I have always been creative but it wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I began taking painting seriously. I was looking for a medium that could convey my appreciation for beauty and poetics. I enjoy writing but I found that painting had more potential. I would visit galleries and become transfixed by paintings. They seemed to speak in a language that I wanted to understand and learn. My biggest influences were painters like Turner and Constable and I took the time to learn about them and what they were trying to say in their paintings. The early days of learning were frustrating and seemingly fruitless but as time went on I became to understand painting more, that journey is still ongoing and I learn more each day and am constantly surprised by how beautiful the medium is.

If there was a colour, what would it be? Would you rather be the sunrise or the sunset, why?

When it comes to colours, I’m not sure I have a favourite. Being a painter, one has to have a relationship with all colours. It depends on what mood I’m in but I like colour combinations that contrast and are muted and vivid. Regarding the sunrise/sunset, this too is difficult. I love the hope and optimism that sunrise brings, especially after a long dark winter’s night. There is something magical and transcendent about it. Equally, the sun setting is so poetic and dramatic, bringing the day to a close with a crescendo of colour and light.

We’re curious about people's inspiration, so we wanted to ask. What is your inspiration and what does it mean to you?

As mentioned in the previous inspiration question, it is the universal language of human experience concerning the landscape. One could see spiritual connotations in my work and the language I use but I believe Art should always be open to interpretation. Its language is universal and one to which we can all connect. That is my overall inspiration, connection through visual poetry, aesthetics and the experience of the sublime.


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