Meet the Artist: Brendan Lancaster

04 Mar 2024

Join us in celebrating the arrival of spring as we sit down with Brendan Lancaster, the talented artist behind our latest seasonal postcard, which you’ll find tucked lovingly into every one of our parcels this season. Brendan shares insights into his creative process, the inspiration behind his intimate depictions of everyday scenes, and his anticipation for the warmth of the new season.

Can you share a bit about your artistic journey? What initially drew you to painting, and how has your style evolved over the years?
I’ve been painting forever, and explored many styles and subjects - drawing, painting, and printmaking too. After lots of abstract painting, things changed a few years ago when I started working from photographs, I’d taken myself. I wanted to respond to the things I was seeing and experiencing every day. This started with small oil paintings on paper, almost like watercolours, and developed slowly into larger and more detailed work on canvas. I also wanted to introduce a human presence, so I started including hands in many of the paintings - friends and family doing everyday things.

What draws you to these ordinary scenes, and how do you decide which moments to depict?
I really enjoy looking at paintings that show familiar, unremarkable details that become very human when we stop to think about them. So, that’s something I’m trying to put into my own work too. A lot of my subject matter is based on shots I take on my phone around the home, when I just happen to see somebody doing something, and it jumps out at me. Then, I choose the photos that might make a good starting point for a painting. I look for something simple that everyone will recognise. I also try to make it so that a story grows out of a little gesture or set of objects.
It was a pleasure working with you on our spring postcard. Can you share how the piece came together and how you approached the use of colour, light, and shade to convey mood and emotion?
Looking through the photography of your new Spring Collection was a real pleasure and gave me lots of inspiration to set the kind of mood I wanted. I aimed to create a small, close-up still life that would have a lot of atmosphere. I noticed the shots of the new Inky Painted bowls and fruit on the table, with the pattern on the cloth suggesting the outdoors too. They looked as if people had just been enjoying a meal, then maybe got up to go for a walk out in the spring weather. This simple scenario gave the informal, warm mood I was interested in creating.

Were there any specific techniques or strategies you employed to achieve the atmosphere you wanted to create?
I used a very close crop to focus on the way the dishes are seen on the table, creating an intimate little world. As a viewer, you are invited to focus your attention on this scene, noticing the pattern of the cloth and the falling light, which suggest the mood and experience happening outside of the picture.

Close-cropped compositions seem to be a recurring theme in your work. What appeals to you about this style, and how does it contribute to the narrative or emotion of your paintings?
By focusing on close-up details, it allows me to suggest a situation without revealing too much. This leaves a lot for the viewer to enjoy by imagining what else may be in the scene, what might be happening just beyond the frame. It hints at a story while leaving much to the imagination. This approach gives people something to enjoy as the viewer completes the picture in their own way.
Lastly, what are you eagerly anticipating the most about the arrival of spring?
I’m looking forward to going outside one day and getting that surprise because for the first time there is real warmth in the sun and a hint of finer weather. It’s like you’ve forgotten the weather could feel that way and you just got a reminder. The mood just seems to lift, and I start looking forward to enjoying the summer.

Brendan’s delightful postcard is tucked inside each parcel we send out throughout the coming season.
To explore our Spring Collection, please click here. To see more of Brendan's work, you can click here.

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