Wayne Malkin: Seascape Painter and Gallery Owner

This is an interview with Wayne Malkin. He’s not only a renowned seascape painter but also a co-owner of the Montville Art Gallery in Queensland, Australia. I’ve been visiting this gallery since I was a child alongside my parents and now as a parent myself with Elora. With each visit, I’m reminded of how many great artists there are in the world. I’m pleased to have Wayne answer a few questions about his art, his life as an artist and as a gallery owner, and how he goes about balancing it all.

Wayne Malkin, Caloundra Coastal
Wayne Malkin, Caloundra Coastal
Painting the Landscape (Free Workshop)

I’ll walk you through the entire process using one of my recent paintings. You’ll see how I go from idea all the way through to reflecting on the finished painting.

Q: How did your passion for art begin, and who or what were your earliest influences?

I started drawing at an early school age and found that I could express myself and reproduce what I saw fairly easily, which I think is a typical start for most artists. As I got into my teens I started to be transfixed by the skills of the English watercolourists, then the French Impressionists.  

Q: How has your artistic style evolved over the years?

As my interest in the art world developed, my tastes and interest changed and matured, and whilst the impressionists still had a hold of me the historical developments which followed them in art became a fascination. So with my own art, I started out copying what I saw in watercolour, and then changing to oils, and began to explore the various stylistic interpretation of whatever I painted. At various times trying out most of the ‘isms’, pointillism, fauvism etc, eventually clearing from my head any stylistic interpretations and painting without any of that baggage. What emerged was a brush handling and colour mixing method which became my own ‘style’.

Q: What themes or subjects do you find most captivating, and why do you feel drawn to them?

Water is a very common theme. I am drawn to painting water by its endless variety of colours, reflections, movement, and translucency. I never become bored with painting water.

Wayne Malkin, Sunlit Surf
Wayne Malkin, Sunlit Surf

Q: Which of your works holds the most personal significance, and can you share the story behind it?

The paintings which have the most significance to me have been the breakthrough paintings which may not appear significant or exceptional to the viewer, but to me represent a revelation in the way my technique changes or colour mixing improves or brushwork handling improves. Just the tiniest experimental changes can open up a whole new level of quality in my painting results. Of course, the vast majority of experiments fail miserably, but it is always worth taking risks in painting.

We had started and run a previously successful business for seventeen years, and were looking for a new challenge when Montville Art Gallery became available. The previous owner had run it for 27 years and we could see a huge opportunity. So we took it. We had a business and art background so we just combined what we already knew. Tracey is an outstanding administrator and I had art and marketing skills.

We have wonderful staff who help with days when we are not scheduled to be in the gallery. On our days off we often do some work for the gallery such as visits to the framer and deliveries/in-home viewings etc. but it never feels like hard work. I also find time to paint at least once a day. It’s like playing the piano, regular practice keeps you sharp.

Q: Can you broadly explain your painting process from idea to finished painting?

My choice of subject is based on identifying an atmospheric or colour effects, and the whole painting is built around that feature. It may be light through a wave, fog effect, shadow/sunlight combinations, or reflections. I never use drawing as the starting point of a painting, but working in oils, I block out an underpainting identifying the values (darks and lights). Then over the next ten weeks or so gradually add more layers putting in the detailed elements and fine brushwork last. I normally have four or five paintings underway at any one time at different stages of completion.  

Wayne Malkin, Still Water
Wayne Malkin, Still Water

Over recent years there has been a trend for artists to exhibit and sell their art online which has led to a reduction in the number of physical galleries. However, this trend also means that the quality of art in the remaining galleries is better than ever, and the experience of seeing real art in person is a completely different experience to screen versions. This is why the big blockbuster exhibitions at the major public galleries are so well attended.

Wayne Malkin, Lake Baroon After Rain
Wayne Malkin, Lake Baroon After Rain

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring artists who are just starting their journey?

There are three rules in my book that aspiring artists should follow, practice, practice and more practice. There are other tips of course. Read as much as possible about art, mix with other artists, try and achieve the very best quality, and don’t let anything leave your studio you are not proud to have produced and don’t be afraid to take risks.

Q: How do you stay inspired and motivated to continue creating and evolving as an artist?

Sometimes it can be a bit of a curse, but being an artist means you are always viewing everything you see as a possible subject. Consequently, I always have more painting ideas in my head than I have time to paint.

Wayne Malkin, Ancient Flow, Kondalilla
Wayne Malkin, Ancient Flow, Kondalilla

Q: How do you approach the business side of art (in relation to your own professional art career) and what challenges have you faced in this aspect of your career?

Art for a professional artist is always a balance between what you would like to paint and what sells. If the two are in sync, well, happy days. The constant challenge for artists is to continue doing what you love, along with the need to sell in order to continue doing exactly that. Sometimes there is the need to try something artistically new and I find that useful as when you return to your core practice it gives a fresh perspective. Trying a new medium like printmaking or sculpture can only strengthen your outlook.

Q: Looking back on your career so far, what achievements are you most proud of, and what do you hope to accomplish in the future as an artist?

I don’t really like looking back at any achievements and rarely list them, only when necessary. I’m not a fan of artist statements and prefer to let my art stand on its own merit. I’m asked from time to time what the best painting is I’ve ever painted. The answer is always the same. It’s the next one of course.

Wayne Malkin, Ocean Swell
Wayne Malkin, Ocean Swell

Q: Are you working on anything now?

I’m working on a number of smaller Sunshine Coast coastal scenes right now, developed from plein air works. I’m using a mixture of brushwork and palette knife techniques which gives me a pleasing loose finish.  I also have large rainforest and surf canvasses in progress.   

Q: Where can we follow you and your work?

My (available) work can be seen in person seven days a week at Montville Art Gallery and on our website. I’m also on Instagram.

Wayne Malkin, Obi Obi Creek, Maleny
Wayne Malkin, Obi Obi Creek, Maleny
Wayne Malkin, Forest Afternoon
Wayne Malkin, Forest Afternoon
Wayne Malkin, Surf
Wayne Malkin, Surf
Wayne Malkin, Riverbank Reflections
Wayne Malkin, Riverbank Reflections
Wayne Malkin, Rising Ocean
Wayne Malkin, Rising Ocean
Wayne Malkin, Obi Obi Sunlight
Wayne Malkin, Obi Obi Sunlight
Wayne Malkin, Wild Ocean
Wayne Malkin, Wild Ocean

Thanks for Reading!

I appreciate you taking the time to read this post. And thanks Wayne for doing this interview. It has been a pleasure to read your thoughts about art and your life as a gallery owner. What a dream lifestyle!

Happy painting!

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy

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Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.


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31 comments on “Wayne Malkin: Seascape Painter and Gallery Owner”

  1. I really enjoyed reading this interview, and found it very refreshing. He has a common-sense approach and I find that to be true in my own journey. Practice is key in the discovery, development and the enjoyment of what we love to do.

    Reply
  2. I once had an artist friend tell me “Paint, paint, paint!”. Sounded a lot like, “Practice, practice, practice.”
    I was touched by his comment about taking a length of time to finish a painting and having several underway at the same time. I do it the same way and I get complaints from my family that my paintings take too long and that I often don’t touch a painting at all for a period of time, because I am “thinking about it”. I don’t see a problem when others (non-artists) do.

    Reply
  3. Great interview and I love his work. I would like to know if these are watercolor or oils or a combination. I’m new to painting and I always experiment, so much so that I end up ruining what I started. Nonetheless, I’m enjoying and learning what not to do.
    Thank you

    Reply
  4. I loved his comments and related to them all! His art is gorgeous, all that practice is paying off! Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Thank you Dan for sharing this wonderful artist and inspiring interview. I love the way he balances both worlds. Such beautiful, mesmerizing and soulful paintings. I am looking forward to visiting the Montville Art Gallery when I have the chance to travel to Australia.

    Reply
  6. Thank you Dan for sharing this wonderful artist and interview with us. Such beautiful mesmerizing and soulful paintings. I love the way the artist balances both worlds. Looking forward to visiting the Montville Art Gallery when traveling to Australia.

    Reply
  7. Thank you for sharing this interview
    I have taken onboard several tips and as an emerging artist I’m very eager to try them out.

    Reply
  8. Thank you for posting this interview. It is very helpful to know how other artists approach their work. For me, just realizing the many approaches successful artists take to their work, is encouraging. Taking a long time to complete a painting, using a series of steps from start to finish, having multiple projects in progress-I can relate as this is how I tend to work. It’s good to know it’s not “wrong”.

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  9. Love his work but then water especially the waves and surf are of great importance to me, wish I could see his work in person. Thanks so much for sharing Dan I so appreciate your time and sharing.

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  10. I really loved Wayne’s comment about artist statement. I tend to agree and found this liberating. These interviews are great learning tools, Dan. Thanks so much.

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  11. Thankyou so much for your emails. I learn so much & just love to see other painters work & to see how they work. These paintings are simple beautiful & resonate with me. Wonderful. Thankyou.

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  12. Thank you Dan, this interview was really inspiring. Wayne is fortunate to have the skills and the opportunity to have talent and circumstances all come together. I wish him well. I appreciated his following comment.. as my husband always tells me …I have three hundred years of ideas and things to do in my head.

    “Sometimes it can be a bit of a curse, but being an artist means you are always viewing everything you see as a possible subject. Consequently, I always have more painting ideas in my head than I have time to paint.”

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  13. Thank you for sharing this meaningful interview. His water and reflection are amazing. His advise to practice, practice, practice was spot on.

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  14. I am inspired by the approach of Wayne to his art practice. I agree with his refusal to name his ‘favourite painting’. This is something I find tedious as it relates to asking about your favourite artist, piece of music or art genre.

    Reply
  15. Thank you so much for this interview! I have read it twice and enjoyed every corner of it:)
    My two favorite paintings are Caloundra Coast and Riverbank Reflections, and all of them were inspiring and quite beautiful in different ways.

    Also, his tips and insights are very helpful. Since I am attracted to the same type of subjects, and don’t normally sketch much, I found it reassuring that he does the block ins and layers! And takes time to think about it. That seems to help me also. There is much to learn and practice is key…Good reminder;)

    Thank you for sharing!!

    Reply
  16. I really enjoyed the interview and viewing his works.
    I especially love the comment about seeing a painting subject in everything you look at!

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  17. So enjoyed this interview and the wonderful and colourful paintings! Many thanks for posting it and I look forward to other similar interviews and posts.

    Reply
  18. I really loved this interview he was so honest and helpful. Seascapes are also my favorite thing to paint, in oils also but his paintings are amazing!! Thankyou so much!!

    Reply

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