Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Wonky' Style Is a Hit for Artist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

'Wonky' Style Is a Hit for Artist

Article excerpt

Roy Francis Kirton is an artist of the old school, which is to say he prefers to get out on the street with pen and ink rather sit in front of a screen and fiddle with Photoshop.

This means, of course, that he is open to public scrutiny.

In his studio in the bowels of the Biscuit Factory, Newcastle, he recalls an encounter with an elderly Scotsman in Edinburgh while he was sketching the ornate facade of the famous old Jenners department store on Princes Street.

He'd been there all day with his paper and his trusty dipping pen and ink. "This old guy came up and said, 'Aye, laddie, that's a fine drawing. Are you going to straighten it up later?'"

He laughs aloud. To anyone looking for the kind of symmetry you'll find in an architect's drawing, Roy's paintings may disappoint. He is more interested in capturing a building's character, and that implies movement and a certain wonkiness of line.

As he explains, it is a style he stumbled on by accident with a painting of Emerson Chambers in Blackett Street, Newcastle, currently a branch of Waterstone's.

"It was January, about nine in the morning, and the sun was low and it kept moving, so I had to keep moving. I ended up with this drawing that was all higgledy piggledy. Tony Marshall (a fellow artist) came into the studio and said, 'What a great drawing'."

Roy was sceptical, but he overlaid it with bright colours and took it to be framed. At the framer's it was seen by a succession of customers who admired it and wanted to buy it. Eventually it went for pounds 350 which, says Roy, was a decent sum of money back then.

That particular painting marked a watershed in Roy's development as an artist. He looks back on it as the moment he found his style. "The important thing is trying to get your own personality into a picture and in my case that comes with a fluidity of style. Anyone can do a technically accurate, architectural-style drawing."

Roy, who is 61, was born in Newcastle and has been painting Northumbrian landscapes and North-East architecture for 30 years. As a student at Newcastle College of Art and Industrial Design (now Northumbria University) in the 1960s, he studied the latter discipline. …

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