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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > September 18 > An intuitive way with oil

An intuitive way with oil

Caroline Saunders talks to Anthony Yates, winner of The Artist Award in last year’s Royal Society of British Artists’ annual exhibition


A Good Drying Day, oil on canvas, 17×21in (43×53.5cm).

Anthony Yates is an accomplished and intuitive painter. Although he was unable to attend art school he began his artistic career aged just 16 as an employee in a commercial art studio in Edgbaston, Birmingham. ‘I learned the trade of commercial art from the senior artists, but producing advertisements for industrial firms around the Midlands wasn’t what I wanted to do. Luckily I met commercial artist Sidney Homer who was a member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA), and who encouraged me in my endeavours to be a painter. He advised me to go to London and look at the work of Bernard Dunstan RA. I showed my first oil on the walls of the RBSA Gallery in New Street in 1979.’

’My focus was totally on the figure as she adjusted the line prop before hoisting her washing into the air. It started off as a pencil sketch, but I was able to recreate the pose in the studio – which helped.’

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About The Artist

Be inspired to get out and about with your painting kit this summer with tips and advice on sketching and painting en plein air from top watercolour artists Amanda Hyatt, Geoff Hunt and Ian Sidaway. Jenny Wheatley shows how to use your location studies to create exciting compositions back at home, while in a the first of a new series Yael Maimon explains how to select the best format for a successful composition. Aldo Balding demonstrates how to paint a full-length portrait, Robert Brindley shows how to capture the spirit of Venice in watercolour, Barry Herniman reveals how to use acrylics the watercolour way. Plus we focus on the rules of painting, how to paint figures on the beach, learn from the painting style of Christopher Wood, how to choose the best colours for different skies, and how to cope with the challenge of working from poor photos. We've included plenty to inspire you this month, as well as information about what to see and do and competitions to enter with great prizes up for grabs!