Patrick Blower is a political cartoonist for the Daily Telegraph and has contributed to a variety of publications over the years including the Sunday Times, Private Eye, Guardian, and the Evening Standard.
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Your style of painting is a completely different style to your political cartoons. Is this intentional?
Two points: with regards to subject matter, I’m very consciously trying to achieve something different in my paintings. My cartoons are full of people and are of the moment. They stand or fail on their clarity and have to be instantly ‘gettable’. My paintings, by contrast, are largely devoid of the human figure and, hopefully, they transcend the moment and the political affairs of men. Standing by a cliff, witnessing the implacable power of nature as boiling waves lash the rocks, knowing this drama will play out into eternity long after our species has wiped itself out, is a comfort, paradoxically.
Secondly, is the matter of how I make the paintings. My cartoon drawing is rapid, fluid, and gestural and I don’t want to duplicate this in my paintings. When I paint a seascape I don’t want it to be an approximation, it has to have exactitude. When I paint a wave, it has to be a specific wave, not just any wave I could’ve made up in my head. In order to achieve this, I’ve rejected the gestural for a more mechanical way of painting. I’m not going into the process that I’ve developed for achieving this but it’s slow, it’s restrained and I get immense pleasure from seeing my image build up so that up close, the marks look random and abstract but at a distance, they are resolved into a recognisable form.