"My work depicts moments in time. Incidents, usually, between people that speak of human behaviour and relationships."
Nigel Mason was born in Yorkshire in 1952, one of three sons, growing up together, the brothers taught themselves to play guitar. Nigel showed an early interest in art and knew when he left school he wanted to be a painter. He taught himself to paint by copying old masters and his favourite paintings in Leeds Art Gallery.
His passion for the arts began in his early teens, whilst being lead guitarist in a young rock band. Entirely self-taught, he continued learning, experimenting and honing his painting and musical skills. In his early 20’s, he worked as a set designer and sign-maker for Yorkshire TV – including creating the sign for Emmerdale’s Woolpack pub.
During his late 20’s, he moved to North Devon and followed his dream of living on the coast, with picturesque surroundings, which he captured in his work. He supported himself and young family by painting kitchen furniture.
Influences such as Joni Mitchel, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix, shaped his passion for music. Continuing his love of the arts, Nigel joined a folk-rock band in his local village, who instantly took off, producing 3 Albums, playing Glastonbury and toured across Europe.
In his 40’s Nigel decided to pass on his knowledge and techniques and became a lecturer in Fine Art, specialising in working from life model’s, whilst building his name as a professional artist.
Nigel mason’s history is truly amazing, showcasing his natural talent in the arts, teaching others his techniques and is truly an inspiring individual.
Personal Calligraphy –
Nigel creates his pieces in one sitting using the alla prima technique, which entails applying wet paint onto wet paint without waiting for each layer to dry. This produces a wonderful surface fluidity with the paint always visible, giving a natural, spontaneous feel.
Working almost exclusively in oils, he deliberately uses a limited palette of five colours and three brushed. “It creates harmony within the piece as well as between the paintings,” he explains “and by using just three brushes, the brush marks chime with each other too.” With influences including Rembrandt, Sickert, Vuillard, Degas and Whistler, he starts each piece by applying a mid tone grey acrylic to the canvas. “This was a method used by Walter Sickert. It eliminates all the whiteness of the canvas, allowing me to create dark and light tones.”
He has been producing small, intimate paintings for a number of years – none of them larger than 8 inches square. They have provided the perfect opportunity to hone his skills and to sharpen his awareness of the way he responds to the world around him. He works from a wide range of sources, finding inspiration in the mundane and the magnificent alike.
“For me, painting is an interpretation of life and the world around me. Its about exploring how people interact with each other and their environment and creating a picture that stirs intangible responses – the ones that can’t be measured but are fully understood by everyone” He builds up a series of different tone marks, letting them nibble at shapes to create the figures.
“Brush marks are my personal calligraphy, giving a sense of movement and an expressive quality. I also let the background define the figure and the figure define the background so that they are an integrated whole and nothing feels superimposed.” Nigel also makes a point of never delineating feature. “By leaving facial expressions undefined, viewers can freely make their own associations and tap into personal emotions and memories.”