Inside the Studio

Patrick Palmer’s nudes are works of simple beauty

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

I specialise in drawing and painting semi-nude women.

I use a wide tonal range to create form. Rather than filling in the picture I try to create an appealing design by emphasising some parts and playing down or even missing out other parts. I aim for an ephemeral quality and want to evoke emotion in the work.

Whilst an element of realism is important, I try to move beyond artistic convention and avoid an image that is too predictable. Realism is not enough – what you take away and what you add  to a work can transform a picture into a piece of art. I believe that the viewer wants to see a degree of draughtsmanship from an artist but they deserve more than this. I aspire to make my pictures touch people personally and to be considered simple works of beauty.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?  

“If you are really stuck, just try something else in the picture or work on another one. When you return to the problem it can be easier.” Michael Clark (artist and friend of Francis Bacon).

I now tend to work on 6-10 pictures at a time.

“Find it, then lose it, find it, then lose it again.” Bobby Gill. Honorary Fellow RCA.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?

I always have music playing – I like rock and Indie music when I am working freely, but prefer classical when I have to really concentrate.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?

It would have to be Degas’ Frieze of Dancers,  which is beautifully sketchy, and has just the right amount of colour.

Who are your favorite writers?

No one in particular, but I am currently reading thrillers by Simon Kernick who I went to school with when I was a child. We used to make books together but back then he did the pictures and I  did the writing.

About the Author

Katherine Henning is Senior Associate Curator at Saatchi Art. Need help finding art? Contact her via our free Art Advisory service here.