Venice, Sunlight and Water – the art of Cecil Rice

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Today it’s painter Cecil Rice in the Spotlight!

Being a painter

Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself


I have been painting professionally for over twenty years…more like thirty in fact! I’ve tended to specialise in Watercolour and oils.

When did you decide to pursue painting as a career?


When I was fifteen.

 Sunset Over St. Marks by Cecil Rice

What training did you have?


My father, Sean Rice was a sculptor. I was lucky to be taught well at ‘O’ and ‘A’ levels and then did a Foundation Course in Art and Design at Circus Street, Brighton in 1978. Then I undertook a BA Hons degree in Fine Art (Painting) at The faculty for Art and Design,Grand Parade, Brighton. Beyond this I also completed a PGCE course in Art teaching.

What has been the high point of your career so far?


Either my first solo exhibition at The Gallery in Cork Street around 2004 or the publication of a book of my paintings in 2006 by Halsgrove, titled ‘Venice, sunlight and water’.

General Questions

Who is your favourite artist?


J.M.W. Turner

What are you aiming for?


A finer expression of light and colour in my painting linked with good drawing. Turner’s fascination with colour and light are inspiring. Atmosphere is another interest of mine and I love the French Impressionists for this. I do aim for an intense expression of beauty, as direct and immediate as is possible and as clear as possible.

Ice Skating, Royal Pavilion by Cecil Rice

How will you get there?


By keeping trying I would think. I never tire of trying to paint light on water and of painting into the sun. These things are so endlessly fascinating that I’ll never get tired of them

Is anything holding you back?


Only fear, as many people will have experienced if they try to create art.

You and painting

What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who view your work? Are you ever surprised by reactions that you get?


I hope to inspire and warm the hearts of people who view my paintings, by the type and quality of light and the mood of the painting. Personally I get transported by a very good painting by, for example, Turner. It’s as if you’re peering into a reality that you recognise very well but have no idea how Turner managed to convey it so vividly, but the sensation is absolutely real and true. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the kind remarks people make about my work.

From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?


This all depends on whether I have to put the painting down and think about it for a while. There is no straightforward answer. Sometimes hours. Sometimes days.

What music do you like to listen to when you work?


There is a French radio channel that you can receive in Brighton. I think they are based in Paris and they play a lot of Jazz and World music. I like this.

San Giorgio by Moonlight by Cecil Rice

What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?


I’m continuing to explore painting nocturnes, such as the Royal Pavilion at night. The artificial light on architecture and against really dark skies is fascinating. I’m also going to paint in the Italian Lakes.

Being inspired by painting

Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?


William Blake…originality, vision, imagination. Turner for the same reasons but also because of his unbelievable handling of paint and his perfect drawing. Actually, far far too many to list, from the old masters to contemporary painters such as Bernhard Vogel.

What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as a painter?


Seascape, Venice, water, different types of lighting, muted colours, vivid colours.

What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?


Perhaps my painting ‘Sunlight over the Salute’ (Venice), for its dramatic composition of The Salute under the orange light of the afternoon sun and above the turbulent blue waters of the Venetian lagoon. The particular combination of intense colours and light that seemed too vivid to be true but held together well and formed a good composition.

a painter’s advice

For those thinking about turning a passion for painting into a career, could you give any advice?


Don’t doubt yourself. Make sure you communicate well with clients and galleries and just keep painting. If a painting goes wrong, yes, it is a pain but you must start again and keep going. Refresh your vision by drawing inspiration from Nature and looking at inspiring art. Use the very best materials.

Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?


Sunset, Florence by Cecil Rice

Time moves on and techniques change but I think communication is vital. These days it has to be using the Internet at least as much as approaching actual art galleries in the high street. But that was how I did it..walking into galleries. having paintings accepted and hung, then sales, then the galleries wanted more… Nowadays people do contact me directly via the Internet as well.

1 comment for “Venice, Sunlight and Water – the art of Cecil Rice

Helen Nock

May 23, 2012 at 7:35 am

Beautiful work and informative read. Thank you

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