An interview with Colin Allbrook – one of the most respected and renowned painters in the South West of England.

What would you consider your greatest artistic achievement?
Perhaps winning the Turner medal for watercolour at the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour (RI). This was a facsimile of the medal presented by Turner at the Royal Academy annual exhibition but now presented to a member of the RI and RWA by descendants of his family.

When did you realise that you wanted to be an artist?
I realised when I was about 13 that I wanted to be an artist. I had some success in the art class at school and thought I might like to be a cartoonist. This didn’t happen and after writing to the Daily Express cartoonist Giles, I spent more and more time painting and drawing.

Was it hard setting out as a full-time artist?
At 17, I was offered a messenger job in a commercial London studio. I stayed there for four years while doing classes at St. Martins School of Art in the evenings. I left to become a freelance illustrator for various companies and painting and exhibiting locally at first and then nationally.

Is it any easier now that you are established?
It is only easier now as opportunities to exhibit etc are more frequently offered but more difficult as one is constantly looking to improve the work one produces.

Do you agree becoming a great artist can be taught?
I think you can be taught to draw and paint to a certain extent but for me practice, practice and practice is the way to improve.

What sets your work apart from other people’s?
You hope the work you produce shows the world from your perspective – the slant you put on it is unique to you and someone viewing it recognises it as yours.