An Interview with Chris Thomas

April 23, 2015

chris thomas 2015 exhibition in the heseltine gallery truro

Chris Thomas has lived in a small village next to the sea for the last 30 years. Throughout this time he has painted in isolated areas from his studio on the edges of Bodmin Moor. His paintings feature rural life, exploring the wild rugged landscapes of North Cornwall.

Chris is an impressionist painter producing work that has a strong underlying structure. He uses heavy impasto on a board support.

During a private viewing of his work on Wednesday 22 April, we were fortunate enough to interview Chris to find out more about his life as an artist.

Chris Thomas Heseltine Gallery Interview

What made you decide to take up art in the first place?
My parents were both painters and both went to the Slade School of Art after the war. So, to some extent, an interest in art is in the family blood.

I remember as a child posing for my fathers portraits. I remember how I loved the smells at that age with scents of copal varnish, linseed and oil paint. I loved all of that and I think that’s where I first developed an interest in art.

Which painting is your favourite and why?
I don’t have one particular favourite painting, but I do prefer some of my pieces over others. This is because some of my paintings mean a bit more to me – sometimes the reasons can be obscure. For example, some paintings were created in times of my life that were good, others not so good. Mostly, I think it is to do with whether a painting works.


Which painting took the longest?
The self-portrait. This has taken me 8 years so far and I am still painting it. This doesn’t mean that I have worked on it every day. Sometimes you think its finished, leave it for a number of months, then feel the need to make changes. I think I need several days, sometimes months, to make that decision on whether a painting is finished and to look for ways of making a painting better.

Why do you keep going back to the self-portrait?
I think the reason I keep going back to the self-portrait is simply because I can. I am always there and, as time goes on, I feel the need to make changes.

On the other hand, I can’t recreate a painting like ‘The Birthday Party’ – because the event has gone, I can’t go back there. This is the same reason as the Davidstow Village hall – which no longer exists following demolition. It was great to have people coming to the private viewing who remembered the village hall and could relive the memories from that place.

Where else have you had work exhibited?
I have had my work displayed in Oxfordshire, with the Brian Sinfield Gallery. I have shown four times there over the last seven years. It is a lovely gallery and they are very supportive of my work.

Chris Thomas is introduced to the audience by David Heseltine

Chris Thomas (right) is introduced to the audience by David Heseltine (left)

Have you planned any workshops in the gallery?
I am coming in to do a couple of art workshops over the next few months, one with the 4th years and one with the 1st years. The workshops will be about studying how we look and working with self.

Chris Thomas Art Exhibition Dates

Chris’ work will be displayed in the Heseltine Gallery from Thursday 23 April until Sunday 14 June.

Gallery opening times: Saturdays and Sundays 10.00am – 5.00pm – Weekdays by appointment on 01872 272763

Free parking is available: Please proceed to the Sir Ben Ainslie Centre, or disabled parking is by the chapel.

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