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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > October 19 > Light, high-key colour and action!

Light, high-key colour and action!

Susie Hodge talks to Fred Coppin, winner of the The Artist Award in last year’s Royal Institute of Oil Painters’ annual exhibition, who demonstrates his approach to portraiture

Fred Coppin is a master of uplifting, colourful figurative oil paintings, combining saturated, high-key colour, strong tonal contrasts and dramatic angles to convey sunny, dreamlike images with a powerful sense of optimism. He says that becoming a full-time artist is a rather recent transition, having worked in music marketing for nearly ten years.

‘I promised myself I would dedicate more time to painting – I threw myself into it full force and fortunately it snowballed enough for me to swerve the office for the moment.’

His focus on light is a prominent feature of all his work, almost certainly because he is also a photographer. ‘I have an old 35mm camera that I have a pretty happy relationship with. I think my paintings are quite photographic in terms of composition and focus on light.’

Sense of humour

Fred often finds his subjects from noticing the unexpected around him. ‘I like to create positive, colourful work, so I’m often drawn to subjects that reflect that slight sense of humour I suppose – a still life of cleaning materials, a strangely positioned figure, an unexpected city scene. I recently painted a series of small London spots that focused on things like a discarded printer, feet on the tube or a row of bins.

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About The Artist

Welcome to the October issue of The Artist, including an additional 16 pages full of ideas and suggestions about art courses and holidays that could help to inspire and develop your creative skills. This issue is also packed with inspirational insights into how professional artists approach their work, including a commissioned portrait in oils, and practical demonstrations in watercolour, oil pastels, oil-based pencils, acrylics, line & wash and mixed media. There's something for everyone, whatever your level or experience, from how to add a little magic to your watercolour still lifes, paint an autumn landscape in five easy stages, capture a sunset in acrylics, sketch people in line & wash, create a vibrant flower composition in mixed media, and more. Plus be inspired by some of this year's The Artist Open Competition prizewinners, who explain how they created their winning artworks. Enjoy your month of drawing and painting with The Artist.