CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Meet Graham Clarke, the artist who created Kent Life's fabulous Christmas cover

PUBLISHED: 14:06 21 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:23 20 February 2013

Graham Clarke, artist, author, illustrator and humorist, is one of our most popular and best-selling printmakers but still found time to create Kent Life's original December cover

Humour and humanity


Graham Clarke, artist, author, illustrator and humorist, is one of our most popular and best-selling printmakers but still found time to create Kent Lifes fabulous Christmas cover


Graham Clarkes studio in Boughton Monchelsea, near Maidstone, is a veritable garden of delights but definitely not in the sense of Bosch!!


For a start, it is a beautiful building, with high ceilings made of laminated portal frames that look almost like an upside-down church or perhaps a boat.


The studio was built in the early 1980s and is ensconced in the middle of the garden, with trees surrounding it. You would never know that its there.


There are several rooms, a study and a work room besides the large main room adorned with Grahams remarkable prints. It is absolutely no surprise when Graham answers my question of whether he would ever have liked to live and work in London with a straightforward No.


Despite this, the advent of the 2012 Olympics led to Graham creating a large arch-topped etching of the city entitled All the World in London. This was created to host the bid in 2004 and was, he says: The most complex etching since my first 35 years ago.


With its vibrant celebration of the city, this is a work you can stand and contemplate for a good long time, bearing more fruit the more you look at it.


This is not the only work that rewards close observation.I personally loved a Cornwall print (Graham and his wife Wendy have a cottage with a studio by the sea in the county), which had a bright red giant crab in the centre of its scene of a fishing village.


There are also some remarkable etchings of natural life and indeed Graham cites Ronald Searle as one of his artistic heroes when he was growing up. Other heroes are Van Gogh, Breughel - from whom he seems to borrow the picture of teeming human existence - Edward Bawden, another master of complex prints, and Samuel Palmer.


But probably the greatest is Anon, for carving sculpture, icons, stained glass windows, childrens paintings from schools, says Graham in a democratic appreciation par excellence.


You get the impression that the mischievous gleam in Grahams eye is picking up details of yourself to put in his next print. As he says: My inspiration is what you see in the pictures. Ill only make images of things I like. Occasionally work is produced at other peoples suggestion, but Ill only carry it through if its what I like.


Certainly his work shows an observation of people and a deep humanity which is genuinely affecting. There is so much inspiration, we are surrounded by the earth, cottages, churches and then theres the seaside and the elements, all subjects of inspiration, he says one of the great advantages of living in Kent.


I produce thousands of watercolours and they also appear in books: Kent provides my subjects. It has to be something that warms my heart, or family life, or a thing Ill read, it can come from anywhere: village life, history.


Graham explains why he chose to create prints: Because you can both keep them and sell them with an edition of prints. Its not the same with watercolours when they are printed commercially. But we now have our own publishers and there are a dozen or so books Ive created too.


Graham adds: Art in its broadest sense has every good thing that mankind has ever created, with the possible exception of medicine. But for art to be relegated to something peripheral to real school and real life is outrageous!


So is formal art training important? For nearly everybody, but Ive met one or two who have none and are brilliant. I really believe in informal art training: now art training has become more formal especially when people use computers. It has to be done with humour and hard work.


Grahams advice to young artists is simple. Never ever let anything out of your studio that you are not really happy with. Always make sure presentation is spot on, get a good framer and use the best materials. My etching materials are all supplied by TN Lawrence & Sons Ltd.


My advice to young artists is go and have a look at Grahams work. And for the reader, take a trip to see his work at the open days, which will give you a chance to purchase and enjoy and seize the opportunity to acquire the beautiful Kentish Christmas cover, entitled Warm Up tunes, that Graham has created especially for Kent Life.


GET IN TOUCH


Graham Clarke, Up The Garden Studio, Green Lane, Boughton Mnnchelsea, Maidstone ME17 4LF, 01622 743938 or info@grahamclarke.co.uk.


Open days: 1, 8 and 15 December12-4pm



READER OFFER


Kent Life has collaborated with our cover artist, Graham Clarke, to offer readers an opportunity to purchase a copy of Warm Up Tunes, with 25 per cent of each sale being donated to Kent Life Charity of the Year, Hospice in the Weald.


The original, limited edition, hand-coloured etching is created entirely by hand using traditional processes more than 200 years old. The image size is 305mm x 253mm and the edition size will be limited to 300 with a number of the traditional artist's proofs available too.


Warm Up Tunes (unframed) - 215 (inc VAT) plus postage and packing 7


Warm Up Tunes (with single off-white mount) - 238(inc VAT) plus postage and packing 7


Warm Up Tunes (framed with mount) - 314 (inc VAT) plus packing and courier delivery 15



Please order direct from the address below, payment by cheque or credit/debit card.


Graham Clarke


Up the Garden Studio, Green Lane,


Boughton Monchelsea, Maidstone ME17 4LF


01622 743938 or info@grahamclarke.co.uk


For details of Graham Clarke's etching processes and methods used in the production of his etchings, etc, please visit: www.grahamclarke.co.uk






0 comments

More from Out & About

On the banks of the Medway and boasting great shopping, dining and cultural attractions, our county town is great to visit at any time of year

Read more
December 2018

In the final month of the 50th Anniversary of the Kent Downs AONB and 40th of the North Downs Way, we’ve chosen 25 places to visit and enjoy in the Kent Downs this winter

Read more
Monday, December 3, 2018

This walk is the best way to take in the majestic beauty of the Weald of Kent, linking the North Downs Way at Trottiscliffe with the South Downs Way near to Eastbourne

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Counteract all that festive over-indulgence with a winter walk through National Trust-owned Kentish countryside

Read more

This characterful little country town draws history lovers from near and far. Let’s explore Churchill’s beloved Westerham

Read more
November 2018

From Napoleonic forts and wartime shelters to ancient chalk mines, we explore some of Kent’s underground visitor attractions

Read more
Friday, November 16, 2018

Wandering through a festive market with mulled wine in hand is one of the pleasures of the season, so we have picked some of Kent’s best Christmas markets to do just that

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Steam trains, vineyards, tea rooms and a surprising maritime history. We take a look at all this and more on offer in tempting Tenterden

Read more
October 2018
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Being so rich in history, it is hardly surprising that Kent is also a hub for hauntings and ghostly activity. We have gathered 9 of the spookiest locations in Kent to visit if you dare!

Read more

It may have been swallowed up by Greater London, but it still feels more like an idyllic Kentish village

Read more
October 2018

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards 2016. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life