Neil Pont lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and paints in watercolour, pastel and water-soluble oils. He is also developing an interest in print-making, using linocuts and woodcuts. .
Born:1951, Ninfield, East Sussex
Educated: Bexhill Grammar School and Newcastle University
Qualifications: B.A. (Hons) Modern and Medieval History; PGCE
Career: Middle school teacher, 1973-86; Middle school Deputy Headteacher, 1986-9;Middle school Headteacher, 1990-2003; Education Action Zone Director, 2003 - 2008
Retired in 2008 (and married Julia!)
“I have had no formal art training. I can’t remember even being given the
opportunity to do Art ‘O level’ all those years ago – more Latin seemed to be
the order of the day. I do remember
though that I always had colouring books as a young child and winning a couple
of competitions – one at the local village show and one in my Mum’s copy of
‘Woman’s Own’! So, I’ve always enjoyed
drawing and painting and have dabbled all my life. The breakthrough came in the early 1990s when
I decided to go on a painting holiday – at Escat, in the foothills of the Pyrenees,
where Maggie Horner was the tutor. And
the rest, as they say, is history. I was
hooked – both on this type of holiday and on painting. I have lost count of the number of art
holidays I have enjoyed and the various tutors I have worked with – most of
whom have been instrumental in my development.
I returned regularly to one location – Atelier Soulondre in Lodeve, near
Montpellier (www.paintfrance.com) where I shared a studio with David McEwen, whom International Artist
magazine have quite rightly dubbed a ‘Master Painter of the World’. David Tress, who works as a tutor for Bob and
Carla Schaap at Pourpry in the Tarn, has been a big influence on my pastel
paintings. You can view some of my
images at www.artinswfrance.com on
the student gallery page of Brian Rusher’s web-site. Six of the landscapes are mine but you’ll
have to guess which ones as they unattributed!"
“As the output from my painting holidays grew and I shared
my pictures with my friends, it became clear that people seemed to like
them. So, I plucked up the courage to
have a one-day private exhibition in the house of a friend who had a suitable
viewing space. And, lo and behold, my
pictures sold. Next I shared a week-long
public exhibition with my painter friend Malcolm Teasdale (http://www.bridekirkfineart.co.uk/artist/Malcolm%20Teasdale) which
also went well. The big step was the
solo exhibition I held in Hexham in 2002.
It was a success beyond my dreams – 27 paintings sold in a week. Prints were made of the most popular
paintings in the exhibition which continue to sell well. Several exhibitions followed in Hexham and I showed at the Fifiefofum Gallery in Newton."
“I’m sorry but I can’t stand the navel-gazing
incomprehensible garbage that some people write about their artistic
endeavours. I enjoy making images that
please me and that are appreciated by others.
I enjoy the materials themselves – beautifully textured hand-made
papers; a big squidge of pure watercolour; fat crumbly Unison pastels. I enjoy trying things out and then becoming
more skilful in the techniques I’ve used.
I love putting colours together in a way that just seems right – I don’t
feel the need to copy nature exactly. I
do sometimes use photographs and I buy loads of books and magazines about art
and artists so that I often am inspired and guided by the works of others. I don’t have one particular style – and I
hope I never have. In recent years I have developed a real interest in wildlife photography and am working on linocuts and woodcuts of birds. And, in 2020, locked down because of Covid-19, I have tried my hand with water-soluble oils”
Please visit my other website: www.pontartphotos.co.uk