Wild Landscapes – Spotlight Interview with Painter Douglas Roulston
See more of Douglas’ work at www.douglasroulston.co.uk
Being an artist
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
My name is Douglas Roulston, originally from Glasgow, I studied at Duncan of Jordanstone and achieved a MFA in Fine Art. I have taken the myths and legends of the Scottish Highlands and portrayed them with oil on canvas and expressive charcoal drawings. My passion for landscape has derived from my enthusiasm and love for outdoor sports such as skiing, mountain biking and hill walking.
The Scottish landscape has inspired me to study 19th century Romantic artists who first started to capture the picturesque scenery of places such as Glencoe and Loch Katrine. I paint using my imagination and like to capture the intensity of the Highlands and the power that it has over humanity. This is highlighted by over exaggerating rock faces and creating piercing light rays through breaking clouds, reflection and the tranquility of distant springs and lochs. Mankind or any human creations rarely feature in my work. It is the awe of nature, and the spirit of the sublime that is explored throughout my work.
When did you decide to pursue art as a career?
I have been brought up surrounded by art and culture. My dad would go out into the hills and paint all day and I would sit beside him with my watercolour pad. I would constantly study his every move on the paper to master his techniques. It was not until teachers at my school started buying my pictures off me till I decided that I wanted to pursue Art as a career. This is something that I would like to thank my family and school for.
What training did you have?
It was this that inspired me to be an artist at a very young age. In 2003 I set out at the age of 19 to study a BA Honours at Duncan of Jordanstone Dundee Art School. This was then followed by a Masters in Fine Art. After a very successful degree show my career began as an artist selling around Britain. I have now secured a PGDE in teaching and I am teaching Art and Design as well as displaying.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
The biggest high of my career so far is when I became a published artist by Edinburgh Arts. This has given me exposure and publicity. When I was on holiday I was walking down a town centre street and in the window was one of my prints. This was such a lovely surprise and made all the hard work worthwhile.
What’s your favourite quote?
Everything is awesome.
Who is your favourite artist?
What are you aiming for?
I feel that there is not an aim as such. I paint because it is a love and passion that will never stop. If I can make a living from my art and please people at the same time, this would be the ultimate aim.
How will you get there?
Publicity helps! I will create for as long as I can, hoping that I get a lucky break. For this to happen you have to work hard, network and display in different parts of the country. What will be will be!
Is anything holding you back?
I think to gain publicity you need financial support. Framing costs a lot of money and the more paintings you have in galleries the more you become known.
You and art
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 would like people to look at my work and feel as if they are completely absorbed in the moment. I would like people to experience a dreamlike sensation but at the same time appreciate the beauty of nature that I try to capture within my work.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
The first few layers are quickly painted by just using my hands as paint brushes. For me speed helps keep the painting alive and accidental mistakes with colour and paint adds to the spontaneity of the work. Some of my works can take just a few hours and some I have been working on for years.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
Hans Zimmer movie soundtracks usually keep me inspired but I can be partial to a bit of rock at times. I have love for all types of music.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
I would love to display in London but have not brought myself to try yet. This is something that I am aiming towards as I feel that this would be a good platform for me to show my work to the world.
Being inspired by art
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
Horatio Mcculloch was a 19th century artist that put Glencoe on the map. He painted places that people would not and captured the true beauty of the wilderness in his works. I love how he followed his heart and gained publicity for people to visit the Highlands as a holiday destination. All through a magic wand which is the paint brush.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
Wild landscapes and places that have not been altered by mankind.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
A painting called The Rise of Auchmithie is my favourite work ever produced. I like this work as it has an old feeling to it and it captures a turbulent moment in time. It is full of expression and colour. I also have a connection to the work as it takes me back to childhood memories.
an artist’s advice
For those thinking about turning a passion for art into a career, could you give any advice?
For me, art is the best job in the world, but it is hard work. You have to be business minded and be keen to get as much publicity as possible. Meeting the right people always helps and no matter how hard things get you have to stay up beat. In my mind no one wants to buy from an artist that does not have confidence in their ability. Some people will buy for the beauty of the work but some people will buy for an investment. This is when you do not feel like an artist but more a salesman. You also have to face criticism and rejection constantly. Remember all that matters is that you are having fun and if you believe in something that much then you will achieve your goals. Take the right criticisms and forget the rest.
Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?
Meet new people and always have a business card on you as you never know who you are going to meet. I have stuck to a certain style and medium and I feel this has helped me become more recognised. This is completely my choice but just do what feels right at the time. Promote everything you do whether it is on your website or Facebook, Twitter Etc. Never say to any Gallery’s that you have not sold or done well in an exhibition. No one will take you on if they do not think you are confident or sellable. Aim high and never let anyone put you down and if they do, feed off it. You will get the last laugh. Stay inspired and travel.