Christopher Neville Wood (b 1952) traditional fine artist ; painter, print-maker, illustrator, sculptor, lecturer
From the age of 16 Chris Wood studied fine art, then graphic design, at The Ipswich Art School, followed by Illustration at Wimbledon College of Art, in London, UK. His post graduate research focussed on early 20th century editorial illustration. He completed an in-service PGCE Cert Ed at University of Portsmouth whilst he was an art teacher at St Vincent College.
Life and Career
He currently divides his time between working as a fine artist and part time lecturer.
Chris Wood is a versatile fine artist and his work reflects his many interests, maritime painting, landscape, human form and natural history.
In the past, he has worked in advertising, retail, publishing and education. Chris Wood has taught art for over 20 years and has been an academic leader in Further and Higher Education institutions. Now he is a part time visiting lecturer and demonstrator of drawing, visual communication and image creation at University of Portsmouth.
Whilst Observational drawing is the cornerstone of his practice, he has a reputation for meticulous research, traditional craftsmanship and highly detailed work.
He regularly exhibits in the UK – both along the South Coast and London.
JACK HOUSE GALLERY, The High St, Old Portsmouth UK
YELLOW EDGE GALLERY, 107 Stoke Rd, Gosport Hants.
1. Why do you make art ?
I am a story teller, I try to discover who am am !
(I have to do it – to me it’s almost as important as breathing).
2. What inspires you to make art ?
Creation, the physical environment, the sea : how it moves, it’s power, shapes and ever changing forms, the weather, the light, the colours, shapes and textures of the clouds, history, ships, yachting, the people I meet, the books I read, personal memories, objects, tools and ephemera.
3. What does your work signify or represent ?
I seek to find answers but my work often represents a paradox between a celebration of aesthetics and beauty and mans desire to harness or control that beauty – In short it’s often about struggle – physical, psychological or metaphysical.
4. What is unique about your work ?
My work is my life and I pull together numerous threads of experience.
I am an artist, craftsman and perfectionist : I express my ideas in 2D and 3D. Drawing and education are at the heart of my practice.
Over the years I have developed my own visual vocabulary and armory of skills which are constantly evolving.
5. How do you make your work ?
I paint in layers from the back to the front, often using a combination of traditional and innovative techniques.
Process is fundamental to my work. My paintings are the result of hundreds of hours of research, notes, conversations, drawings and colour studies. I make observational studies, field trips, take photographs, I seek information from libraries and the internet.
Primarily, I work in oils on the finest quality Belgian linen. I enjoy the craft skills of preparing the canvas and to me it’s a very important part of the process.
I am often asked how long it takes to create a painting and there is no simple answer – some are completed in a day – others take weeks, months or even years to finish !
6. What does it mean to you ?
Places can be very important to all artists – my special place is Suffolk, where I was born and raised. I have recently rekindled my former interest with East Anglia ; its landscape, wild coastline, harbours packed with classic boats, its unique architecture, museums and Anglo Saxon heritage.
Inspired and invigorated by a renewed sense of continuity I have begun a series of paintings and prints exploring combinations of still life objects and familiar or remembered landscapes. In particular things that have a resonance with me – the North Sea and its impact upon both land and people. In conclusion this new string of inquiry reinforces my desire to tell a story – who I am, where I come from.
7. What are you currently working on ?
For the past year I have owned a small classic yacht, a Deben 4 Tonner, “Leading Wind” and I’m restoring her to her former glory, when she was launched in 1938. Parallel with and inspired by this, I am putting together a body of work reflecting the restoration process and the boats colourful history. In addition, I am working on a series of limited edition linocuts of Portsmouth Public Houses. I have been fascinated with Architecture since I was a child and in another life I would have been an architect. However, I enjoy exploring old buildings and making artwork inspired by them. Portsmouth has a wealth of characterful buildings and who knows, later I may turn my attention back to the streets of London, where I spent the formative years of my career as an artist and illustrator.