I'LL PAINT YOU
MORNINGS OF GOLD
Roger ‘Budge’ Burridge trained at the RCA at the same time as Hockney and like him has adopted the iPad as his tool of choice. Here he tells us why he became a late but keen adopter…
What was the best thing about studying
at the RCA in the Sixties?
After four years at Bournemouth Art College I studied sculpture at the RCA for another four years – and the best thing about it was that it gave me the time and freedom to develop as an artist, among other like-minded people, in what was a very creative and exciting atmosphere. It was the Sixties and there was a real buzz about the place; with Hockney, Patrick Caulfield and Frank Bowling in the painting school, and Ossie Clark in fashion.
Who was your most inspiring teacher?
Actually, the tutor who first comes to mind was my art teacher at secondary school, who first noticed my love for drawing; taught me history of art, introduced me to the Old Masters with trips to the National Gallery and encouraged me to go to art school. I then have to mention a Phil Hartas who greatly inspired me in the Sculpture School at Bournemouth. At the RCA, the tutor I admired the most and certainly gained the most from was the renowned art critic David Sylvester – I continue to do so today, by reading his brilliant books and critiques, such as . He even introduced me to Alberto Giacometti.
I suppose the most important thing I learnt was that it takes hard work and long hours to achieve anything – and that you have to stick to your guns, however difficult.
How have things changed in the way art is taught?
I don’t really know, except that it’s a much shorter course now. I did eight years; I think that would be condensed into four now – hardly time to get started! It seems more about money and success now, and a quick turnaround, but I’m sure there are still good tutors out there – let’s hope so.
You then moved into set design – how did you find that world?
I was interested in film, and set design was a great way for me to create form and space on a large scale – but I always found I couldn’t wait to get back to my own work, which was becoming more and more about colour. I finally gave up 16 years ago to devote myself to painting, but I did learn a lot about film and architecture, I saw the world and worked with some very interesting directors.
You’re obviously a fan of technology and social media – have you always been an early adopter?
To be honest, I was dragged kicking and screaming into technology by friends and family, but now I embrace it totally (with wires everywhere to prove it!). I’m so pleased I’ve lived long enough to enjoy the extraordinary benefits and knowledge it brings – and to have discovered how wonderful the iPad can be as an art medium. I also have a projector to enable me to see the drawings blown up really big.
As for social media, I only use Instagram – it’s a perfect way for me to connect with people via imagery. It’s just amazing! I live in the middle of nowhere and nobody saw my work. Now it can be seen in China, seconds after finishing it, so I have the best of both worlds.
When did you start using the iPad?
I saw the Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy in London in 2012 and was intrigued by the blow-ups of his iPad drawings and how that could be done. My son bought me one soon after and at first I thought I wouldn’t use it much – but once I started drawing on it and realised what you could do, there was no stopping me.
What do you like about it?
It may not smell as good as oil paint, but you really can explore and learn about the wonders of colour and how it can perform – like never before! Once you get going, the speed and ease of it means it’s ideal for sketching, especially outside, and gives you a better chance to capture movement, skies and the ever-changing light.
All colours are instantly available to you and can be opaque or as transparent as required. One can use glazes, not only on the top but also underneath the image – you can develop drawings in separate layers so you can always go back to previous stages… what other mediums can you do all that with? But for me, the most wonderful thing is that because it’s back-lit, it’s like working with stained glass, or drawing with coloured light.
Do you exhibit or is it just for personal enjoyment?
I have exhibited sculpture, painting and drawings in the past but not for the last 15 years. I have just had my head down concentrating on the work itself… but now would be a good time.
How would you describe your style?
I’ve no idea… I’ve never thought of that. I actually paint large abstract oil paintings, but the drawings, although representational, are an important, integral part of the process, where a lot of the discoveries and decisions are made… and problems solved. I’m inspired by transient things such as sunlight on a wall; a bird in the sky, a breeze over water.
What are you working on next?
I want to use what I’ve learnt from the iPad drawings: perhaps some broken glass sculptures… back-lit!
Where is your own ‘Hole-and-Corner’?
I moved to France to find that very place and was lucky enough to do so. I have converted a large barn into a wonderful studio and workshop. Apart from the polecat in the roof, it’s wonderfully peaceful and my absolute haven… and outside is all the inspiration I need. It’s aptly named Fonvieille, which translates from the local patois as ‘the Source’!
Follow Roger on Instagram @budgeburridge
Drawings Budge Burridge