At this time of year, local resident and member of Woodford Arts Group Darren Evans – who goes by the name The Suburban Artist – likes to spend his time painting festive homes
I am a local artist and father of three living in Woodford. My journey to becoming a full-time artist has been an interesting one.
From as early as I can remember, growing up in Wolverhampton, I was interested in buildings and drawing and painting the environment around me. This led me to study architecture at St John’s College, Cambridge – but I graduated into a recession in the building industry and so headed off to seek my fortune in London.
I spent more time than I care to remember working in the banking industry and I didn’t pick up a paintbrush for years as the demands of family life took over.
Now my kids are a bit older, I have been able to find the time to get back to what I love, and I have reached for my paintbrushes again.
There are three main areas where my recent work has been focused: I have been drawn to create portraits of buildings – commissioned by their owners – which I find have their own beauty and resonance. These artworks have developed into what I call ‘Life Stories’, which provide an individual timeline for a family and show the homes and places where a family have lived as they have grown, and these have proved very popular with my customers. I use very fine ink pens to capture the structure and add plenty of detail and then watercolour – as a wash initially, then building up layers to bring the paintings to life.
Secondly, as we live in Woodford, we spend a lot of time in Epping Forest; its unspoilt beauty is an enormous source of inspiration for me. Our family walks in Epping Forest have led me to create a series of almost abstract images inspired by views of the Forest at different times of the year.
Finally, around Christmas time last year, I was asked by some of my customers to produce affordable paintings of their homes in a winter setting, or of their front doors adorned with seasonal decoration. I then used these images to produce greetings cards which could be sent to friends and family.