This is episode 1 of my Exploring the Masters email series. In each episode, I’ll share a new master artist (who is not in the mainstream like Monet or van Gogh), along with some brief commentary.
And the first artist is...
Fred Cuming RA
I’ve known Cuming’s work for some time now and I’m glad to have a chance to share it with those who are not familiar. He was a highly accomplished artist and Royal Academician (hence the “RA” designation at the end of his name), though I’m not sure if he is well known outside of artist circles or the UK.
He was a master of capturing ambience and life’s transient effects, like those subtle colors you see just after the sun falls below the horizon line (which I now know is called blue hour, thanks to my sister). Minimal yet sophisticated is how I would describe much of his work. But it’s all grounded in solid fundamentals and drawing. That’s the thing about “loose” painting—it’s not as easy as it looks and it usually requires years of training before you can relax and let your intuition take the wheel.
Cuming’s painting skills are particularly evident with his complex interior paintings, usually of his studio.
Below are two videos with footage of his painting process and general philosophy:
In the first video, he eloquently puts into words the reason why many of us paint:
“Even after all these years - and I’ve been painting for more than 60 years now - I still find every picture exciting, including the ones I paint in order to pay the rent. I'm never certain what course a painting will take. Will it turn out promising and be worth returning to? Will I finish it quickly? Will I discard it for being overworked or unworkable? I can never tell. But one thing’s for certain, it will give me a great deal of pleasure along the way. The more I discover, the more that is left to discover.”
You can see his work here. It’s interesting seeing how his work changed over time.
Stay tuned for the next episode (should be ready in a few days).
Want more painting tips? Check out my Painting Academy course.