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Richard Rowan

View All Art Works By Richard Rowan
Celebrated contemporary landscape artist, Richard Rowan clearly recounts one of his earliest childhood memories – and one which illustrated his fledgling potential as a future artist-in-the-making – as a six year old growing up in Northampton. Whilst his mother and (architect) father sat in front on the television in the family home, a young and possibly bored Rowan pored over some architectural drawings that his father had left out on the kitchen table. Eager for something to do Rowan junior proceeded to reach for his poster paint and fill in all the rooms which had been technically and precisely mapped out, as well as adding people to populate the buildings as his artistic flourish at the end. Rowan recalls exactly how upset and angry his father was when he saw the result of his son’s handiwork for himself shortly afterwards, yet today Rowan senior counts himself as his successful son’s number one fan.

Fast forwarding a few years to his teenage days and Rowan again takes a step back in time to quote a line which he stresses has never really left his mind over the subsequent years, that being ‘life’s too short’ which carries on to politely suggest that, ‘if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you may miss it’. Rowan insists that he himself is looking all the time and taking in all that his immediate world and its environs have to offer, both as an ordinary, functioning human being and as an artist. Rowan comments; “I get annoyed when I see a spectacular sky and all the people around me are doing their day to day routines, missing what is happening above their heads”, which will strike a melancholy chord with most of us.

With Rowan ever mindful of the transient and fleeting element of life non-eternal, he strives to remember as much of its passing as possible, especially in his committing to creative surface matter the sublime landscapes and changeable skies above and beyond. Rowan is perpetually inspired and influenced by this constant flow of physical storyboards being played out above our heads, and what better way to his mind of capturing this than sealing it in time-preserving artwork.

Now under the umbrella of one of the UK’s leading fine art publishers, Washington Green who collaborate and commercially represent Rowan’s artistic interests, it’s been something of a journey for Rowan to finally realise a long-standing dream of his to become a professional contemporary artist. Despite receiving the Daily Mail’s prestigious ‘Artist of the Year’ award whilst still training back in 1992, Rowan was unable to establish himself or forge a potential career as a bona fida artist, and instead pursued an altogether different one in the field of motorsport. For nigh on five years Rowan circumnavigated the globe working in the industry on behalf of both World Rally and Formula One during this exciting period of his life, whilst practising his art in what spare time he could muster around his employment commitments. These would invariably illustratively amount to on-the-hoof sketches of cars and scenery which habitually presented itself to him, and with which he sold through local art galleries on his brief returns home to Northamptonshire.

In the end Rowan grew tired of the demands of constant travelling and was mulling over the idea of art as a profession once more in light of the commissions he was receiving on the back of his accumulative gallery sales back home. Bidding farewell to his fast-paced lifestyle, Rowan returned to Britain full-time and arrived at the decision to dedicate himself to his art in its entirety; and it’s fair to say, has never once looked back. But then patience is definitely one of Rowan’s virtues it seems when you discover the style of art he has chosen. ‘reverse painting’ as it’s been coined by many involves the application of oils onto a glass surface, which although appearing conventional at first glance is the polar opposite when afforded an insight into what goes on behind the scenes. Or the glass as is the case here.

Allowing for a 15cm gap, Rowan balances the glass in the palm of his hand as he meticulously and fastidiously applies the individual layers of oil to the opposing side of the glass; which in effect is the rear, or reverse and unseen elevation of the finished painted article. Continually turning the glass over to ensure that the front is being constructed how Rowan planned it, requires a certain degree of technique and a very calm, emotional state we would imagine. More so, when learning that each separate layer takes up to a week to dry, before the next one is added to the mix. To say it’s a challenge would be an understatement; however Rowan rises to it regularly and has built an enviable reputation for his contemporary landscapes which are manifested by following this laborious and time-consuming method of visual administration. In Rowan’s own words; “Painting oil on glass can make you want to tear your hair out”, yet adds; “… but is also satisfying at the same time”. And on each occasion Rowan aims to have painted better than the last time; so as to push the boundaries of what he can do. Once the painting is finished, he wants people to look at the piece and be drawn in and find themselves lost in his work.