Featured artist

Michael Peachey

Dip.FPAA

Michael started drawing and painting as a child and is completely self-taught. He went into the printing industry as a compositor when he left school and remained in the trade for 33 years. When he was made redundant he seized the chance to become a full time artist.

Michael's first piece of good luck came when he answered an advertisement from Headway Northampton, who required an art tutor. He was offered the job, initially for one day a week, which soon became two. One thing led to another and Michael is now a popular teacher and demonstrator. He also offers a quality picture framing service.
» Visit Michael's website

Michael continues his story...

My father was not particularly artistic, but used to draw things for me whenever I asked. I started doodling on my own at the age of six, but it was when I was nine that I saw a book on John Constable and was very impressed with the paintings (the Haywain etc.), and decided that I wanted to have a go myself.

I saved up enough pocket money to buy myself some oil paints and brushes and went on from there; painting on scrap bits of hardboard, cardboard - anything I could lay my hands on. I copied old masters, postcards etc. and also attempted to paint using my own ideas. I am completely self-taught and have been told never to have lessons, so that my paintings are less likely to be influenced by other people's ideas and methods!

When I left school in 1969 I went into the printing industry as a compositor, and remained in the trade for the next 33 years. In 2002 I had the wonderful news that I was going to be made redundant. Most people are sad when they lose their jobs, but I was ecstatic! I thought, 'Now is the time to have a go at being an artist for a living - it's now or never!' My wife, Angela, was keen for me to get back into work, and used to scan the 'jobs vacant' section in our local newspaper - and she came across an advert from Headway Northampton who required an art tutor. Headway is a centre for people who have an acquired brain injury - perhaps as a result of a road accident, for example. I went along for the interview, showed them a sample of my etchings, and they offered me the job for one day a week. After only two weeks of being there, they asked me to do an extra day - which I accepted, and I have been working there right up to the present day.

I started cold-calling residential and nursing homes to see if they would be interested in having someone come and involve the residents in painting and make it a bit of fun. This proved very successful and I still visit various homes across the county and beyond, which all helps to pay the bills! In 2004 I approached Danetre Hospital in Daventry to see if I could perhaps do some painting with the patients. The matron invited me over for a chat about my ideas, and I was given a chance to demonstrate how it would work in front of an audience of hospital staff and patients. It went very well, so they asked me to visit the hospital every two weeks - and I am still going there regularly. It was a job that didn't originally exist, so I'm fairly proud that I made it happen.

I also visit Cynthia Spencer Hospice and work with the patients - which is very rewarding. I will start a painting off and then it is passed around the room so everyone has an input on the final picture. This is the same procedure I use at residential homes, and at one home recently we painted Constable's Haywain. We did it in an hour and it turned out well - minus the horse and cart, but that's a minor detail!

I travel extensively to many counties visiting Women's Institutes, Rotary Clubs (so I get a free dinner thrown in on the top table!) and numerous other organisations. I don't do much preparation for these demos - I don't know what I'm going to paint or say, but just turn up and go with the flo! I find it works for me and is a lot more fun - both for me and the audiences - and the emphasis is on entertainment. I have been to some interesting venues and have performed in village halls, sports centres, churches, restaurants, pubs and clubs, farms, and even people's living rooms.

I use models quite a lot for my paintings, especially for the surreal ones - and I am fortunate that I have met some quite open-minded people to help me in my work! My subject matter is very diverse, including landscapes, seascapes, animals, fantasy, surreal and anything that takes my interest. I have also produced quite a few murals over the years, a recent one being a Michelangelo job on someone's bathroom ceiling - complete with cherubs!

I plan to continue painting for as long as I can hold a brush and see what I am doing. I would also like to personally thank my former employer for making me redundant and giving me the opportunity to really get my teeth into the world of art. I have met some fantastic people and been in some interesting situations that would otherwise definitely not have happened. You can get away with murder in the name of art!

I am able to offer a quality picture framing service to fellow artists and others at competitive prices using fully professional equipment, and I can usually fit in last-minute requests. I also have a website (www.mikeart.org.uk), so please take a look - and if you just want a chat about my work or your own, please contact me on 07977 580429.


Norman Wisdom

This is Norman Wisdom, painted in oils. It seems to be the most popular painting when I visit residential homes and Women's Institutes!


No 24

A surreal commission of someone's house, painted in oils.


Fools Paradise

Painted in oils. This was a commission from someone who was a Salvador Dali fan, and who collected joker cards as a hobby.


The Wave

Painted in oils.


Untitled

This is an untitled nude in pastel on embossed paper.


Tom Jones

This is a portrait of Tom Jones, painted in oils - done merely as a sample portrait.


In the Clouds

This is a surreal oil painted with the help of a 68-year old model!


Denford

A traditional oil, painted this year from life on a fine Sunday morning.


The Ebb and Flow

This painting is an acrylic.


The Scarecrow

The lady in this strange oil painting is guarding a field of scarecrow plants and attracts birds by singing - then dispatches them with a knife. A crow occasionally drops by to feast on the dead birds. Mmmm!


Untitled

This was commissioned to paint a lady's three cats. The cats were all unsociable, and had their own rooms in the house - so each one had to be photographed individually, and then merged together for the actual painting.


Swinging

This acrylic was painted using lots of texture, which I enjoy.


Moulton Theatre Sign

This is one of a pair of idential signs painted for Moulton Theatre in Cross Street, Moulton. Each panel measures approximately 7 feet high by 4 feet wide. The panels had to be measured and cut precisely so that they would drop straight into the window recesses of the theatre - and luckily, they did! They were painted in 2004 and are still there today, 10 years on.


Lana

This acrylic is simply entitled Lana - the name of the model in the painting, who posed for me in a hired Flamenco dress.


   
   

 

 

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