I come from a theater background. I am Irish and half my childhood home is a place where extraordinary things happened. This is an environment in which my brother and I seemed compelled to do something unusual. I am very grateful for that.
Drawing was the original expression. I draw a lot, trying to emulate other artists, to understand how they created what they did; But it is to draw and what is left unsaid, until you found the courage to use color.
This happened long before I studied at the Wimbledon School of Art and the University of Kingston. Obstinadamente Having lived in the world of black and white, that finally I paint, the entire exuberant enthusiasm and no clear direction. However, I had a breakthrough when I was 18. I had painted for some time by then, but this was the first time I had done a painting so seriously, no experiments, just attention and urgent responsibility to do well. This is a picture of my father, and unsigned or suggestion, I jumped coming years to produce something that my 18 years may have frustrated. This was the turning point. It is not just a case of loving painting, but realized that it might be good in the meeting.
It changed everything. Painting completely replaced drawing. Only referred back to the university and again, gave me when I went. I think that has gone so long doing preliminary studies with pencil or charcoal, opposing the commitment to use color, I now paint immediately, taking into account preparatory sketches unnecessary.
I became an illustrator shortly after leaving university and received a national award. The need to cope with an unlimited range of subject matter, it was a very useful experience. I learned a lot in the paint not what I wanted, and what I loved.
History and Background
Blakely was born in Canterbury in 1968 and developed an interest in art from an early age. He studied illustration at Wimbledon School of Art and completed his degree at Kingston University shortly after which he became a professional illustrator. During this time his clients included The Body Shop, British Telecom and Cable and Wireless and he was chosen to paint two front covers for the world renowned author of ‘Schindler’s List’, Thomas Keneally.
At the same time, he and his wife Gail set up and curated their own shows in London, leading to a solo display in the Thomas Kettle Gallery in Covent Garden. The show, entitled ‘Do not Disturb’, explored genetic manipulation and its effects on its patients. The entire collection showed an increasing interest in physicality and lighting that were to become the hallmarks of his later work.
It was acrylic that Blakely used for painting at this stage and throughout the first few years of his partnership with Washington Green, which he joined in 2005. Notably, it is his relationship with Gail that marked the first transformative phase of the style that has now seduced collectors worldwide. In the ‘Muse’ exhibition held at Halcyon Gallery at Harrods, Gail was the main protagonist in all 40 works. It is this uniquely aligned partnership between muse and artist that breathed a special sense of intimacy into the exhibition and brought new life to the genre of the painted nude. Judging by the reaction, it is something that is set to continue, inform and inspire his work, without end.
Some years later, the transition to oils seemed inevitable and this too was to become another turning point in his distinctive style. When asked about how his work has changed so dramatically over recent years, Blakely says: “More than a preoccupation with the end result, it is a passion for the process itself that urges the work to evolve.” He believes that there is something primal and mystical about creating the illusion of a convincing vision on a once bare stretch of canvas. There is something elusive in painting that defies formula and the more it is practised, the more is learned and the deeper an artist has to dig. Whether it is a children’s book, an advertising poster or a grand painting hanging in a museum, he ignores the idea of any hierarchy in art; the only important consideration is whether the work is meaningful or not.
Ideas and Inspirations
While technique is obviously important in representative art, Blakely feels it is something that must not be over indulged. He believes a painting is more than an arrangement of polished rendering and that the life of it involves spontaneity and boldness. Rembrandt had the most captivating quality, the ability to paint with breathtaking finesse, while creating a tactile graininess that could only have been achieved with layer upon layer of heavily applied pigment. The paintings are more than beautiful; they are weathered by the accumulation of work, re-working and the most intense commitment. It is this complexity that Blakely finds so alluring.
He is also in the very fortunate position of having each piece he paints rigorously assessed through Gail’s quality control. He states that while a painting frequently needs a fresh pair of
eyes, Gail offers an unusually discerning view point that can spot technical issues and offer creative solutions in a quick glance. As well as being his muse and appearing in almost all of his output, Gail is responsible for many of Hamish’s most notable paintings, providing new concepts during the many discussions they have.
This is attested further in his ‘Out of Work Angels’ collection displayed at Castle Fine Art in Mayfair which explores Heaven’s creatures in a state of flux. As more and more younger people turn away from the Church, Angels are becoming expendable. This collection sees them arriving on Earth. Having lost their jobs, a new journey awaits them.
A new journey always seems promised with each new development in Blakely’s work.
During his time as a professional illustrator, his clients included The Body Shop and British Telecom. He was also chosen to paint two front covers for the world-renowned author of Schindler’s List, Thomas Keneally.
Inspired by the beauty of the female form, his artworks hint at deeper, primal forces. Using a rich colour palette, Hamish paints with finesse while creating a tactile surface achieved with layer upon layer of heavily-applied pigment. He cites his wife Gail as the muse for his pieces.
Hamish says: “I have completely changed the way I paint over decades. In fact, I am proud, not conceited, to write that I now paint in a way that I would have thought impossible twenty, thirty years ago.”