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'Artist In The Spotlight'

Hello again and welcome back to our blog feature on our lovely local artists! We are so pleased that this series seems to be popular with our followers of the Gallery, and we hope that you enjoy this third instalment just as much.

Today's feature is centred around artist Phil Alder! Check out our interview below as well as a selection of his beautiful art work that is featured here at the Gallery.

Q. From what/whom do you draw your artistic inspiration?

A. The light, the colour, the rhythms, the pleasure, providence to be experienced in nature and gardens all immediately around where I live. Technique wise when I looked at David Jones watercolours I realised the potential of ‘dry on dry’. The ‘landscape’ abstract work from the 1950’s and 1960’s needed the precedent of the late Monet paintings. Hopkins, I’ve always loved the poetry of GM Hopkins. An artist, Mike Chilton, a superb colourist and thinker about painting. Textiles can be fascinating and lovely


Q. What motivates you to get up in the morning?

A. A cup of tea, and then after breakfast just sitting still for half an hour, looking out and not thinking.


Q. How would you describe your artistic style in three words?

Metaphors in series.


Q. How have you been creatively passing time during lock-down?

Once lockdown is over we have a lot going on family wise and will not have so much time for painting: and so I’ve been working hard for next year’s (2021) exhibition at Queen Street. Also I have a retrospective lined up at the refurbished Carmarthen Museum and have been digging around in the attic and the bottom of portfolios to see what is available to choose from.


Q. Did you always want to be an artist?

I always loved drawing and painting and at school spent a lot of time in the art room but resisted the notion of making art my career as being unrealistic (this was the 1960’s and we knew no-one in the arts). I accepted the inevitable in my early 20’s and the irony is that art has given me an incredibly rewarding and varied career, although at times precarious, doing all sorts of work and activity in the arts and heritage but with painting and showing as the underlying foundation.


Q. What is something that you enjoy getting up to in your spare time, outside of art?

A. Family is very important. I used to teach swimming but Covid has put paid to that. Spring and summer are garden times and I’m also a trustee on a garden restoration.


Q. What advice would you give to any aspiring artists out there reading this?

A. If your medium is sensual, such as painting, then make sure there is an intellectual basis for it as well for it to carry purpose. If you want any sort of career in arts then you have to network like crazy; nobody succeeds on their own merits.


Q. Do you have a favourite artist/piece of art?

A. If I could afford it I’d have the second generation St Ives artists (and Matisse of course) works around our home because they are so sunny and filled with light. Further back still, Renoir – much underrated, late Monet – so ambitious and confident, such facility. When visiting London I prefer the Tate Britain to the Tate Modern but feel saddened the collections have now been split up. Here in Wales Mary Lloyd Jones’s works on calico are mightily impressive. There is currently some courageous work being made around here; that’s inspiring because you cannot work in isolation.


Q. Do you have anything exciting in the works that you are enjoying/looking forward to sharing?

A. The show at Queen Street. I hope it will be enjoyable for people and is something I’m looking forward to and the 70th birthday retrospective at an institution, Carmarthen Museum, that has been central to my cultural life – hopefully both lovely birthday presents for 2021.

I’ve attached two recent paintings as tasters for the Queen Street; show: one is a recent work from my ‘cascade’ series - a cascade recently went to France, and a garden watercolour – one recently went to America. It would be nice to get some more work into Welsh homes.

Thank you once again from the team here at Queen Street Gallery for reading our blog and supporting us! We hope to see you soon & huge thank you to all of our participating artists for collaborating on this project.

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33 Queen Street, Neath, SA11 1DN Wales, UK

01639 631081

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