The Canvas | PETER ROTHWELL
25 February 2012
Peter Rothwell started out as an interior designer for Grand Metropolitan Hotels. He then studied at the University of Bristol and became a teacher in art and design for the next 35 years. Now retired, but not really, he is a librarian for The Landmark Trust covering Devon, Cornwall & Lundy Island (where he currently has an exhibition). He has just released an award winning novel 'Ancient Sunlight' and restores semi-derelict cottages in France. His life-long passion is for rescuing, restoring and re-cycling the discarded, abandoned and no-longer loved products of our culture.
What is your earliest artistic memory?
Drawing a picture of a sailing ship for a birthday card for my father – I must have been 3 or 4.
Has your art or approach/method changed over the years and if so, how?
I seem to work in bouts of frantic creativity – usually just prior to the next exhibition – when the seeds of ideas that have been germinating since the last exhibition burst forth and demand to be acknowledged. This can mean that a whole new subject/approach/choice of media might ensue for it is only rarely that I have any real notion of what might emerge from these eruptions of creative energy.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Usually from the landscape – actual or imagined.
What is your biggest ambition as an artist?
To be able to identify and depict the dynamic that exists between the descriptive, the expressive and the abstract elements of a given subject.
If you could own any piece of artwork, what would it be and why?
One of Vincent van Gogh's studies for the 'Potato Eaters', because you can see evidence of his talent, his uncertainty and his struggle against the weight of convention that was pressing down on him. It is a talisman for all would-be artists – this one in particular.
If you could receive coaching/training from any artist (past or present) who would it be?
If you could have you artwork displayed in any gallery in the world, where would it be?
Who would you like to meet and what question would you want to ask them?
Van Gogh – "When did you ever get a chance to sleep?"
What is your most prized possession?
In purely material terms a certain box of sketchbooks.
If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
I would like to have been in a bar with Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914, and to have insisted that we have at least one more beer....then he would have missed his appointment with destiny.
What do you consider the greatest invention of all time?
If you had the power to change something what would that be and why?
One or two (million) decisions I would like the opportunity to reconsider...
What is your all time favourite movie or tv program?
Noggin the Nog
What would you scribble on a wall of world’s greatest quotes?
“YOU TOOK THE WORDS RIGHT OUT OF MY MOUTH” or “WITH SO MUCH WIT & WISDOM AROUND, HOW COME WE ARE IN SUCH A B----DY MESS...?”
What are you most afraid of?
Finding out what I am most afraid of.
What life lesson do you always stand by?
There is always a positive.
If you had to give art students today some advice, what would it be?
If you are passionate about your decision to enter the world of art & design then be prepared to turn your hand to anything while striving to be original – you are one of thousands who are all looking for the same opportunity. It is no good hoping that something will turn up – you have to make opportunities happen.
Where on the web can we find you?
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