After 65 one-man exhibitions in London and the south-east, landscape artist Mervyn Goode makes his Chichester debut with an exhibition running at the city’s Oxmarket Gallery from November 6-18.
One of the country’s leading traditional landscape painters in oil, Mervyn was born in 1948 and studied landscape architecture at The Gloucestershire College of Art before a change of direction in 1970, at the age of 21, saw him pursue his true vocation as a landscape painter.
He is delighted to say that he has made his living as an artist ever since.
His first one-man exhibition, at the Highton Gallery in London in 1970, which featured entirely oil paintings depicting the Hampshire landscape, was a sell-out and stimulated considerable interest. His career has flourished ever since.
Mervyn, who lives at Hawkley, near Liss, said: “I am very traditional in style. You can see what it is! It is very much based on the landscape based in East Hampshire, but I have also gleaned a lot of subjects from West Sussex over the years. I just pop over the border.
“I have painted more than 3,000 paintings in my life. I just go out in my car, and I just get nicely lost in the countryside and then I start walking. It is very random, the places that I paint. They are always remote and off the beaten track. I don’t keep painting in the same places. I just enjoy that random exploration that can lead me anywhere. I find some quiet corner where there are some characterful trees or a quiet track or some wild flowers.
“A lot of my work is based on sketches and I take notes and I use my camera to get the finer detail so that I can do all the creative work back in the controlled conditions of my studio.
“I work in oils on canvas. It is a very forgiving medium! You just keep working and working at a painting until it looks right. With watercolours, you have got to get it right first time, but oils are so versatile that you can really conjure up anything on the canvas if you persevere. My art derives a high percentage from the fact that I deeply love the English countryside. It is what inspires me and what makes me a painter.
“I love the changing seasons. Early summer, high summer can be a bit tricky because you tend to have so much green. All the other seasons provide a bit more variety of colour in the landscape, but having said that I am standing here looking at a painting on my easel of the landscape of the South Downs and a major tree in the middle distance and with a lot of poppies in the foreground. Even in high summer you can get colours that can break things up a little bit.”
These are eternal views. The landscape of the art gallery isn’t, though. Hence the Oxmarket exhibition.
“Over the years the good galleries that sold traditional landscapes have been disappearing. They have been dropping like flies. Fashions change and the new galleries coming in are not really interested in traditional landscapes. I have found it more and more difficult to find outlets selling the more traditional work.
“I am trying the Oxmarket now. I have never had an exhibition in Chichester in the past. I feel it is in an ideal place from where I live, and I am sure that there will be a lot of my collectors who will be in striking distance of Chichester.”