Edwin Blackburn is a Northumberland artist specialising in maritime artwork. Ahead of his forthcoming exhibition at the Blagdon Gallery he spoke to Michael Grahamslaw about his career so far.
Did you always want to pursue a career in Art?
I suppose I did yes. My father was a keen amateur painter and photographer who encouraged me as a child and my native Northumberland gave me great inspiration and immediate access to endless subject matter.
Tell us about your career path so far?
In my early working life I became a draughtsman and my initial work was very draughtsman like, pen and ink drawings depicting local Northumberland scenes. I then moved onto the mediums of watercolour and pastel.
In the early 80s I did a series of colour lithographic prints of Northumberland, Durham and the Lake District which sold in great numbers and led to me forming a trading company with business partners. Whilst this led to further publications and great commercial success I had moved away from what I wanted to achieve as an artist so after several years I wound the business up.
The 1986 Tall Ships Race proved to be a turning point from which I concentrated on being a marine artist. My work has subsequently been seen in private collections throughout the UK and numerous countries worldwide. In the 90s I extended my interests to include American maritime history.
What do you most enjoy about your work?
The whole experience is incredibly therapeutic but putting the finishing touches to a painting and bringing it to life is always a very special moment.
What are you currently working on?
My forthcoming exhibition at the lovely Blagdon Gallery which will include scenes of the Northumberland coast and, as it’s centrepoint, the Tall Ships leaving Blyth.
What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
Deciding on the subject matter is difficult. Also trying to find a different angle or mood to make a picture more moody and atmospheric is sometimes difficult.
Who are your heroes in the world of Art?
J. W. Carmichael was an amazingly talented Artist from Newcastle who worked in the shipyards and did some wonderful marine painting.
How do you see the world of Art evolving in the next 5-10 years?
Whilst I prefer traditional art and detailed, representational work trends are becoming more abstract and I see that continuing in the next decade.
How do you like to unwind?
Walking in Northumberland and the Lake District and listening to electric folk music.
Edwin will be previewing his latest work at the Blagdon Gallery on Sunday 1st October with the exhibition continuing to the end of November