Natural painter


Tim Armitage – who didn’t go to art school – finds inspiration for his paintings in the natural world. He is one of many local creatives to join the recently founded Woodford Arts Group

I grew up by the sea, so my childhood revolved a great deal around the beach, fishing off the pier, swimming and surfing, and I suppose that’s informed what I mostly find myself painting – marine life.

These days, I work outdoors as a Forest School Leader, and this has started to inform my art with more work involving trees and plants, but I would say that in all ways my work is concerned with the natural world rather than the man-made one. I work in acrylics but would one day like to attempt to master the skill of oils – I reckon I’m a way off that yet!

I didn’t go to art school as it wasn’t seen as a viable option when I was growing up, and maybe I’ve always regretted not pushing it more. But what’s done is done and I’ll just have to be content with my A level.

I like illustrations from books, tattoo designs and the work of people like William Morris, and I try to inject some of this decorative stuff into the things I paint.

I’ve lived in London for 24 years, with 11 of those in South Woodford. I’ve always liked the East End, with its street art and creativity, and was amazed to find so many links to music, film and art when I bought a place here. I think it’s a great, arty place with lots of different things going on in an urban landscape, but with green space as well – the best of both worlds in a city.

I’m always trying to get better but happily accept that quite often a mistake is what makes a piece of art work, so I try to go with any problems I encounter as, on the whole, I end up with a more interesting piece.

I’d obviously love to sell at least some of the work I do but at the same time I try to paint what I enjoy – and hopefully someone else out there might like it too.

Recently, I’ve joined both Art Group Wanstead and the Woodford Arts Group and it’s great to see work from and talk to other local artists. One of the great things about living in London is the huge amount of galleries and street art on our doorstep. The street art, in particular, is a favourite of mine and to see oversized pieces of artwork as we travel round the city always brings inspiration for my own work.

If the weather’s not so great, places like Instagram and Pinterest are also great places to experience new and interesting ideas to try out in my paintings. As I’ve previously mentioned, I really enjoy the work of tattoo artists and also contemporary jewellery designers.

Our area has strong creative links in all areas, be it film, music, literature or art and amateur artists can draw inspiration from this.

View more of Tim’s art at swvg.co.uk/armitage. For information on Woodford Arts Group, visit woodfordartsgroup.org
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