A Brush with Paint

An Exhibition by Steve Willigham

Stephen Willingham has been a student and is now a self directed artist at Inkwell Arts. This solo exhibition  is a huge achievement for Stephen and he would like to invite you to come along to join him celebrate. The launch will be on Tuesday 30th 6-8pm where you can meet the artist and enjoy great abstract art, drinks and nibbles.
This is a free event and all our welcome, please share this invitation and help spread the word.
If you cant make the launch pop in 10am-4pm Monday to Saturday until October 4th
Below is a statement by the artist about his journey with art….


My first steps in art at the age of about 3 were inspired by seeing a chalk drawing of a ship on the sea, on a child’s blackboard in a neighbour’s house when we were playing school. I was so taken by the cleverness of the drawing, that as soon as I could, I began copying it. Usually it was with a stone on the pavement. My grandma told me years later that one day Jacob Kramer, the famous Leeds artist had once watched me drawing this image on the floor. He asked how old I was, and my grandma told him I was three. He remarked that the drawing was excellent for a child my age. It makes me feel quite proud! This ‘copying’ led onto all sorts of different images, many of which I gleaned from comics. I learned to copy the techniques the illustrators used.

When I went to school my ability in art came to the fore, and I passed the GCE exam a year early. After school I went to Bradford Art College from 1969 to 1973, where I gained a College Diploma in textile design. My passion was drawing though. Being around the time of flower power, psychedelia was all the rage, and I loved experimenting for the first time in pattern and colour. Pop Art too was all the rage, and the inspiration of David Hockney, who went to Bradford Art College, was ever present. My tutors allowed me the freedom to pursue what I wanted in art and was of great benefit to my development.

Unfortunately, due to one thing or another, I never pursued a career in art, but supported myself in other, different types of work until I retired in 2004. I always drew though, in pencil, and sometimes oil pastels. The occasional painting surfaced sometimes too. Mandalas were a great favourite and still life which can be a difficult discipline. These attempts were given to family and friends, and I still have a collection of the intricate Mandalas. I always visited the Art gallery in Leeds, I found it fascinating and inspiring, I still visit it when I can. My last job was as assistant manager in a wine shop. It was something I could do, but my first love has always been art.

Just after retiring, in 2004, I discovered Inkwell, and I applied myself there, and had my first proper art exhibition after about a year. It was a great success! I had worked hard consistently with very positive feedback form Mark Cruse the manager, who taught and helped me with my work and the effort I had applied got a result.

 This second solo Exhibition A Brush with Paint is an adventure into the world of painting the abstract. It is influenced by the Abstract Expressionist movement of the late fifties and early sixties in America, which is a favourite genre of mine. I found it an exciting, and dynamic way of working because I could express myself in paint without the constraints of figurative and traditional ideas. I love bright colours particularly in paint, I find them very positive and continues to be a major factor in helping me with my mental wellbeing. Inkwell has been a supportive place for my art and wellbeing. Using paint properly for the first time has been a journey of discovery. I have learned a lot.

I hope you enjoy viewing the work.

I would like to thank Inkwell for letting me put this exhibition on, and all my friends there for their help and encouragement. Special thanks go to Heather Young, the exhibition co-ordinator, Stuart Harrison who has always been so positive, helpful and motivating, Liz Robinson my dear friend, in particular, and my family for their support.

Steve Willingham 9th August 2016