Andy Parker

Andy Parker


Dog in Dyfi – 6×8″ – Oil on panel


I’ve been dividing time between art and music now for several decades. The larger part of my time is spent in painting, outdoors if possible, otherwise grappling with larger canvas on stretchers or pinned to the studio wall, but my abiding love of music and the recording process never lets me stray too far away for long.

My head is like a jukebox sometimes. Always useful on the bike. Studio painting is one of the rare times I actually play a soundtrack, usually loud, through a valve amp – starting with something speedy like the Hives, Motorhead or the early Kings of Leon, the Stones or Creedence to get me through the morning light. Dub mixes by Lee Perry can freshen up the audio palette as the need-for-speed wears off, sometimes leading off to Trojan hits, ska or Toots, sometimes not – usually I get distracted for an hour or two by this point and settle into working out a new instrumental or finishing an overdub, or even writing this stuff, before I later return invigorated to the canvas after an extended break. It’s a good balance if you can make it work. Late afternoons my musical pace gradually slows down, this leads inevitably to my favourite Golden Hour of Misery melodies, whether from the Fairports, Hank Williams, Sandy Denny or Nanci Griffith. Mike Nesmith can always pick up the pace with a brace of classic releases, but Tim Hardin has recently caught my ear if that starts to get too hot. Then there’s John Fahey. Uppers and downers, uppers and downers…

The quality of light and my attempts to represent the sublime moments of its characteristics are what keeps my painting alive. Painting influences are many and varied and mostly seen by the keen eyed in the works themselves. Asked to name a single favourite would be something I’m unlikely to ever be able to answer and different moods and different times spark different appreciations of different artists. Daumier, Corot and the Barbizons, Turner, Constable, the English landscape tradition, Brangwyn, Sorolla and Sargent, Velasquez, Veronese and Tiepolo all light up the dark corners but are still not the only ones I will cross a gallery to look at….

Most of my work is in series these days, whether a fixed-term On The Buses series or an ongoing one like the Russell Square series. I still have a large number of landscape works painted on the spot with little thought as to where they might fit in company, although often their location affords them group protection, certainly for my files, under Wales or Heaths or River Views if little else joins them together.

Whilst the wing and the wheel have indeed carried me away, mostly it is the wheel – usually two, on whatever motorbike I have been able to ride before another idiot car driver sends me down the road after it. Various motorbikes from the factories of messrs Yamaha, Suzuki, Guzzi and Honda have kept me out at work. Whilst there are warmer and safer ways to travel, there is little to beat the rush of setting out by bike for a trip, so thanks to all the manufacturers for their contributions and long may you run…