David Bridgeman has been painting for as long as he can remember, but it has only been over the last couple of years that he has been able to devote a full time focus to his passion. In this article we take a tour round David’s home and art studio to find out what artistic endeavours are in store for the public from this creative artist. Business Editor, Lindsey Turnbull reports.
Having had a number of successful art exhibitions (most recently at Full of Beans at the end of last year) David Bridgeman’s decision to pursue art full time was an exciting challenge for the teacher and one-time National Gallery exhibitions manager.
Home is an attractive corner of West Bay, a peaceful out-of-the-way, plant-filled spot which he shares with his wife Lindsay and their children Cameron and Aisling, which is highly conducive to creating artistic work. Indeed, his last exhibition at Full of Beans features corners and aspects of his home (such as his outdoor patio and exotic orchid plant which grows affixed to a tree on the front lawn) throughout the exhibition.
Further afield, West Bay contains many vignettes of natural life which have caught David’s attention and filled his artistic eye with creative input.
A little copse that no doubt gets driven by frequently unnoticed contains a wonderful collection of red birch trees and a rain gauge nestled deep between the branches and boughs. David based a series of paintings on this scene. Another hugely inspirational scene is Birch Tree Hill, partly under excavation for the new West Bay High School. The act of digging up the earth revealed diverse and colourful cracks and crevices in the bedrock which inspired David to paint another collection of works.
Tools of the trade
David is well geared up to producing art on a full time basis, having built himself his own studio in his back garden in 2002, a tiny tardis-like shed that, once inside, defies the viewer to believe it’s just an 8 foot box, complete with running water and electricity (essential for creating steaming hot lattes on tap – the fuel to David’s artistic engine).
David has an order in the chaos of artistic materials that fill his studio – books cram shelves and are in their hundreds, covering every possible subject connected with the artistic world, while inspiring aspects from the natural world such as rocks and shells fill corners and crevices. The tools for creating the artwork, including paints, brushes, pastels, boards and inks bulge from jars, boxes and pots, and images, photos and illustrations adorn wall spaces.
“It’s great to have a place to go to outside of the house where I can come and think freely and creatively,” he confirms. “It’s also helpful to have my art books at hand so I have all my points of reference easily accessible.”
“It also means I can create as much mess as I want to!” he adds.
Well known for his collage pieces that often contain pen and ink drawings, David carves his own pens out of bamboo and owns a collection which gives him the ability to create markings of varying degrees of thickness and are an important part of the creative process. As a trade mark of his work, ink drawings allow for spontaneous thought and flowing creativity, a less restrictive method of painting which David says he enjoys.