Blue Man by Mark Wallis, 1999 oil on canvas.
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Oil paint is the most fantastic medium, versatile and rugged. The smell of linseed oil, the rolling of sleeves and the dirtying of hands are my idea of painting. Mistakes can be moved or wiped and the colours can be propelled around the canvas with as much passion or restraint as you like. Most artists I speak to are afraid to use them, but the rich, deep colours last for ever and the results speak for themselves.
Blue Man was my first attempt at painting in oils, and although it’s 21 years old I’m very proud of it. That and the fact that it sold before it was even completed. It’s a bold image which reflects how I felt at the time which was a bit frayed around the edges, and like early Hockney I based the painting on a photograph from an adult magazine. This particular image appealed to me enormously as it smashed the myth of men and their emotions. To see a big strong man in such a vulnerable pose was enigmatic and inspirational.
I still can’t do feet…