Graham Davies - Artist Spotlight
February 17, 2022

We recently spoke with artist Graham Davies on his journey as an artist. We asked him what has helped shape him and his art and what advice he would give to aspiring artists. Have a read and see how his experience and journey can help or inspire you!


We caught up with artist Graham Davies on his journey and development as an artist.

What inspired you to pursue art?

I have always loved creating art using colour. I think back to my time at school and  remember all the fantastic art rooms, walking in there and being in my glory. I can honestly say from these early moments that this is where my lifelong hobby started, I’ve not actually stopped painting or drawing since. 

First Light Winter Walk, Eltham Park, South Glenesk Road

How long have you been an artist?:

I have been an artist for over 40 years. I have been drawing and painting since I was a child in school. Through this time, I’ve gained so many skills and grown in my work that when I look back, I can see myself improving and developing as an artist. I love the process of producing any piece of work, it’s a great feeling to be out painting and get the right final finished piece. 

Morning Shadows, Eltham Park

Do you have a favourite piece of your own?

It’s a very hard question to answer in my opinion. There have been many that I have really  enjoyed painting. One of my favourites is a local street scene of Eltham where I live that I actually ended up keeping for myself. 

Winter Afternoon, Glenesk road, Shooters Hill view

What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

For me, I found that life drawing is a brilliant way to start. When you go, you find yourself with other artists who are at all different stages in their art and you can get some really inspiring helpful comments. Life drawing helps you to observe, look at perspective and it trains you to make choices with your kit (it made me realise I was carrying far too much). It’s a great way to speak and learn from other artists too. 

Are there any artists that inspire you?

I have been inspired by a lot of the old Masters of Art, for example when painting  watercolour in the past I have studied and read up on Turner’s watercolour work. As a plein air artist I would have to also mention John Stobart, I remember watching 'Worldscape Private View'. These videos really changed things for me as it made me look at my work in a new way. 

How best would you describe your artistic style?

I suppose I would have to say modern day impressionism. I’m hoping not to be too traditional; I would love to think of myself as an urban artist.

Winter Morning Dog Walk, Severndroog Castle

What is your favourite painting medium and what do you like about it?

I definitely love watercolour, but I enjoy mixing pastels with watercolour. With my work I love  adding in different mediums to produce the desired outcome. My second choice has to be Oil painting, but I do steer more towards watercolour for plein air as it’s easier to travel with and I feel my watercolour pieces are better. I find myself lately starting new oil paintings to train myself and develop my work – it’s always a work in progress.

What type of surface do you prefer to work on?

I have a passion for Two Rivers 300lbs handmade paper, which I use for atmospheric watercolour paintings. I have also used Saunders Waterford 300lbs for more detailed work. For my plein air oil painting I use 3mm primed MDF panels as they are easier to slip into a wet box. 

What essential products are in your painting kit?

Mainly paints, pads, brushes. I try to decide whether I am going to paint in watercolour or oil,  if I plan this in advance then I would only pack the medium I plan to paint. This avoids taking too much. If you are planning to go on holiday, I would advise to take a travel watercolour set and do as many small sketches as you can. This will then help you go into more detail with a fuller kit at home. 

Do you do much prepatory work before each painting?

Yes, for example when I have a commission of a local scene I tend to go to the place at  different points in the day and take several photos. Once I have studied the photos I will either sketch from this then take the work to the scene for more detail or weather permitting I will work first hand at the scene to then take the work home and finish. Overall, before any piece I tend to do one or two sketches to finalise what I want in the painting.

What is your favourite subject matter?

It would be street scenes and urban scenarios. There is so much inspiration in everyday life. 

Hampstead Heath, Parliament hill

Has your technique changed over time?

Yes, it has. I have developed and learned from past feedback and other artists; your technique will always have a natural progression too. 

Do you ever exhibit your work?

Over the years I have done many exhibitions. Within the last 3-4 years I’ve mainly stayed local and have had opportunity to exhibit in nearby pubs which is extremely beneficial when you are the local artist. It’s been great getting to know the community more and it’s given my work great exposure. Over the last 2 years I’ve also taken part in Charity exhibitions, again with the support from the locals we’ve managed to raise lots of money which has been fantastic. Doing this has given me a lot of fulfilment.

Wet September's Day, Westmount Road, Eltham
(Sold for charity - Raised £3,000 for Parkinsons.)

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