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About the Artist Paul Powis

If there’s one thing (although there’s many more ‘things’ besides) that strikes you about popular contemporary abstract landscape artist, Paul Powis’s paintings, then it’s the colour swatch he routinely plumps for. Unreservedly, the richest, most vibrant, gloriously hued and saturated swathes of primary colouration which have the power to stop you in your tracks. In terms of population of his gregariously coloured canvases, trees, rivers and distant mountains tend to be Powis’s illustrative stock, each and every as luminous and visually joyous to feast your eyes upon as the last. Put it this way, if vivaciously coloured landscape paintings are your bag then you’d have to go a very long way to better a signature Powis illustrative number in our (slightly biased) book.

Powis’s art education took place in Birmingham in the Midlands, at the city’s College of Art and Design, where he studied on an Art and Design Foundation Course in the late 1960s. on receiving his qualification Powis hot-footed it to England’s south coast, not for a celebratory holiday we hasten to add, but rather to continue his higher education at the town’s Polytechnic (as was); where he chose the BA (Hons) Fine Art course, which he completed in 1973.

Works By Paul Powis

  • The Hill by Paul Powis
    The Hill
  • The Ocean by Paul Powis
    The Ocean
  • Towards The Coast by Paul Powis
    Towards The Coast
  • En Loire II by Paul Powis
    En Loire II
  • Blue River II by Paul Powis
    Blue River II
  • Blue River I by Paul Powis
    Blue River I
  • La Fleuve I by Paul Powis
    La Fleuve I
  • En Loire I by Paul Powis
    En Loire I
  • Field Of Gold by Paul Powis
    Field Of Gold
  • The Emperor - Penguins by Paul Powis
    The Emperor - Penguins
  • The King & I - Penguins by Paul Powis
    The King & I - Penguins
  • We Three Kings - Penguins by Paul Powis
    We Three Kings - Penguins
  • Tranquil River by Paul Powis
    Tranquil River
  • Silent Evening by Paul Powis
    Silent Evening
  • Silver Noctum by Paul Powis
    Silver Noctum
  • Calm Waters by Paul Powis
    Calm Waters
  • Colourful World by Paul Powis
    Colourful World
  • Into The Blue by Paul Powis
    Into The Blue
  • Hill View by Paul Powis
    Hill View
  • Downstream II by Paul Powis
    Downstream II
  • Heat Haze II by Paul Powis
    Heat Haze II
  • La Fleuve II by Paul Powis
    La Fleuve II
  • The Breeze by Paul Powis
    The Breeze
  • Four Fields by Paul Powis
    Four Fields
  • Bend In The River by Paul Powis
    Bend In The River
  • Lakeside, Early Morning by Paul Powis
    Lakeside, Early Morning
  • Purple Shade by Paul Powis
    Purple Shade
  • Heat Haze I by Paul Powis
    Heat Haze I
  • Upstream by Paul Powis
  • Down Stream by Paul Powis
    Down Stream
  • Three Fields by Paul Powis
    Three Fields
  • North Hill by Paul Powis
    North Hill

Thereafter Powis trained as an abstract brushsmith, before he pursued a career in lecturing in both London and further a field which spanned some 25 years; and which culminated in a tutoring residency in the discipline of Drawing and Painting at the University of Central England in Lancashire from 1988.

However Powis didn’t solely concentrate on his creative lecturing, as all the time – and pretty much since his student days – he has showcased his body of personal landscape work, overseeing exhibitions far and wide over the years. A raft of prestigious venues have played host to Powis’s typically abstract compositions from the 1970s onwards, including the Mall Galleries, the Royal College of Art, the Royal Festival Hall and the Medici Gallery, all of which can be found in London of course. Internationally-renowned, Powis’s individual pieces and collections have also been displayed extensively in museums and art galleries across Britain, as well as over in America where he also remains well regarded as a contemporary landscape artist.

In terms of Powis’s biggest claim to creative fame, should he or any other practitioner for that matter need one, is his association with a certain mainstream automotive manufacturer. German car giants, Volkswagen used what is now considered Powis’s most famous painting, ‘Rape’ in one of their iconic adverts which immediately resulted in global recognition for Powis the artist, and which ultimately led to him later showcasing his works in New York’s Museum of Modern Illustration. Elsewhere, and Powis has witnessed his work being shown in the ‘Best of British Illustration’ exhibition for the best part of the last decade.

One of Powis’s biggest inspirations – as you can no doubt imagine when turning to his most recognizable pieces – is travel; hence the classic pictorial scenes and vistas which visually represent instantly engaging vistas and panoramas from throughout Europe and far beyond. Journeying extensively during his time, Powis has spent time in countries as diverse in natural landscape as France, Spain, Italy, the United States and Mexico; all of which are graphically attested to in his impressive back catalogue of compositions. Closer to home and Powis has lived and worked (and therefore found geographical inspiration) in and around London, Wiltshire and Worcestershire.

Speaking of his career time in the UK’s capital city, and Powis confirms what we have always suspected. That his London-based work focussed primarily on abstract-large canvases which fronted a constructivist, mathematical and geometric structure and administration of colour. This came about courtesy of regular gallery visits, the taking in of concerts and the enjoying of an active social life; essentially absorbing everything that London as a richly diverse cityscape has to offer anyone with even the remotest creative edge and mindset. What’s more, frequent bike rides along the River Thames, along the embankment and as far as Kew furnished Powis’s creative mind with a cornucopia of eclectic shapes, textures and environmental visual impressions.

Naturally, when Powis upped sticks and relocated to very rural Worcestershire, the contrast was heightened, as he instead relied on this proportionately agricultural county’s extraordinary naturally occurring wares and expansive distant landscapes to colour his mind’s eye; which in turn was interpreted and transferred to his canvases. Slowly but surely – and whilst ploughing through his lecturing career – Powis began to receive acknowledgement in the right quarters for his own artistic documenting. In his own words, Powis adds; “I started to make small paintings about the landscape and began to have work published as book covers and illustrations. However, I did find that this creative energy was continually sapped by an ever-increasing workload as a lecturer and became determined to ease out of education and become a professional artist”.

Operating as a fully-fledged professional artist for a number of years, Powis’s work has retrospectively been viewed and commonly described as predominantly about subjective colour and vibrant mark-making, which are used in both an abstract and representational way. By continually scrutinising the illustrative rhythmic structures of trees and foliage within the landscape Powis readily investigates the dynamic rhythms within nature itself, which effectively means that his paintings are finally resolved to create order and balance. In 1999 Powis was signed up by one of the UK’s leading fine art publishers, Washington Green, who have since collaborated with the artist in nine original pieces which were reproduced as limited edition silk-screens, whilst Powis’s paintings have been published in over twenty books over a five year period.

Bouncing ideas and drawing inspiration (and shouldering criticism of the constructive variety) from his wife, Sara Hayward who herself is an established artist, Powis also cites influences in his work from some of the great exponents of their time and genre, including Balthus, Corot, Hopper, Matisse, Mondrian, Picasso and Sisley.

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