Peter Foyle Interview
The artist Peter Foyle originates from Dorset in the South of England. He graduated from St Martins College of Art and Design, London in 1986, and was a finalist that year in the prestigious Reader’s Digest Young Illustrator’s Award. After graduating, he worked as a freelance artist and illustrator. Peter has painted since his early schooldays. He and his wife opened the Framework Gallery in Troon in 1990. In 2003 one of his paintings was accepted by the Royal Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts for its 142nd exhibition. Some of his paintings of Troon and Glasgow University form the backdrop for this website. Peter is the recipient of the Willa Revie Trophy for the 18th Ayrshire Art Exhibition 2011.
Diane: You have been painting since your schooldays. When did you know that you were drawn to art as a career?
Peter: I have always been fascinated by the way paintings can reflect and convey impressions of the world around us. I always felt artists had a kind of magic to be able to conjure space, atmosphere and even clouds and water from paint on a flat surface.
At school I spent many hours in the art room trying to discover what the secrets were (thirty years later I am still searching!) Cycling around the Dorset countryside with my paints and easel, I gained valuable experience of painting en plein air. Although I was fortunate to sell a number of paintings during my teenage years, a career as an artist as such was never even considered or proposed. The usual options were more technical and graphic and as a result I did a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration. Interestingly, during the first year a tutor said “you will always be a painter” and so it proved that most of my work gravitated towards drawing and painting.
Diane: You are originally from Dorset. What attracted you to Scotland and to Troon in particular?
Peter: I met my wife in London when I was at St. Martins School of Art and she was from Troon. We had always intended to move out of London so when an opportunity came up in Troon to open a gallery we took it.
Diane: You paint a variety of subjects, beach scenes, the countryside and scenes of Glasgow. What draws you to a particular subject?
Peter: It is more the abstract qualities of a subject that attract me as much as the place or object itself. The composition, colour, tonal interplay and quality of the paint is more interesting to me in, say, a harbour painting than the actual boats. I do love the atmosphere of a backlit subject, though, and try to create the feeling of veils of light.
Diane: On a related theme, is there a particular subject you have wanted to paint, but have not had an opportunity?
Peter: It would be great to be able to spend time on a regular basis drawing and painting in the life-room as we did at art school. Combining that with interiors would be ideal. I would also love to paint more outside as I did when I was younger as it brings a freshness and spontaneity to the work.
Diane: How do you divide your time between painting, running the gallery, framing and family life?
Peter: This has always been a compromise. The gallery and picture framing has been a priority for six days of the week as it has supported the family. The painting has been squeezed in around everything else although in recent years it has become much more prominent and now, with more help in the gallery, I am trying to allocate time specifically for painting.
Diane: Your painting style, your ability to capture light and tone, are very distinctive. Are there particular artists who have influenced you?
Peter: Many artists have been an inspiration through the years of exploration although there is usually a common thread. The portrayal of light and tone from Monet through to Sickert and present day artist Ken Howard has been a continual source of excitement and inspiration.
Diane: Is there anything else about your craft you would like to share with the readers?
Peter: Just a big “thank you” to all who have encouraged me and supported my work. When somebody loves one of your paintings it makes it all worthwhile!
Learn more about Peter at his website and The Framework Gallery in Troon’s website here.
Tags: art, Glasgow, Monet, painting