'My initial starting point is to collect on the spot sketches. Subjects will vary from harbour coastal scenes to street and market scenes and occasional still lives. I am selective when describing detail. I want to portray only the essence of the subject. Back in the studio I start my paintings, (surfaces can include, paper, board and canvas), with layers of paper collage, newspapers, tissue, leaflets, magazines etc, glueing with acrylic medium. I create shapes, which relate to the abstract structure of the subject. When the glue is dry, I apply acrylic ink in bold random strokes, which encourages wonderful colour and textural ‘happy accidents’. From this state of chaos, I endeavour to definite the subject through various drawing techniques, to a finished stage where the subject has recognizable passages, but at the same time retain a semi-abstract, impressionistic feel, engaging the viewers imagination.
'I now paint almost exclusively in mixed media, combining collage, acrylics and pastel. I enjoy the way textures, shapes, colour and ‘happy accidents’ steer the direction of my paintings. My favourite subjects continue to be harbour scenes, market and street scenes both in Britain and abroad.'
Born in Kent in 1957, Mike Bernard trained at West Surrey College of Art and Design followed by the Royal Academy Schools from 1978—81. He has been a peripatetic teacher at his alma mater (West Surrey College of Art and Design) and at Salisbury College of Art, and elsewhere. He has received many prestigious awards including the British Institute Landseer Prize Highly Commended Award in 1990, the Laing Landscape Painting Award in 1993 and the Kingsmead Gallery Award at the RI Exhibition, Mall Galleries in 1999. Mike exhibits regularly in the RI annual exhibitions and in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibitions. He was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour in 1997.
Mike Bernard is being shown for the first time at the Porthminster Gallery in St Ives.