Over the 25 years since opening the centre, we have been fortunate to work with a strong network of highly knowledgeable, experienced and skilled tutors who are experts in their field, to provide you with a variety of workshops and creative courses to help get your creative cylinders firing.
This week we had the chance to talk to tutor Pete Clayton who has been teaching at Attenborough Arts Centre for over 25 years. His work can be seen regularly at Bircham Gallery in Holt; Tarpey Gallery in Castle Donington and Wistow Gallery.
How did you get into the arts?
I’ve been interested in pictures and picture-making for as long as I can remember but the people who gave me confidence to follow art as a career were my sixth form art tutors. I studied a Fine Art degree then came to Leicester to study a PGCE.
What is your relationship with the landscapes you portray, how do you decide which landscapes to portray?
I take inspiration from my immediate environment as well as places I visit. Pictures may be based on found objects, intimate details, or a particular view. Whatever the environment, I try to create a sense of place or identity and convey how different elements are connected.
Caption: One of Pete’s woodland themed works, titled: Rustle and Stir 2.
A lot of your leafy landscape pieces feature a beautifully sensitive appreciation of light, how important is light to you when creating your artworks?
Woodland is a great environment to explore the balance of light and dark, enclosure and space.
We really enjoy how you vary your mark making, sometimes opting for more expressive splodges of colour, while other works feature more precise and delicate marks. What is your preferred way of painting and why?
I enjoy working in, and exploring, a variety of media and techniques to express different moods, atmosphere and ideas. Some pictures are about energy and change, others try to express stillness and stability. Some try to balance stability and change. Each series requires different visual ingredients and approaches to express the ideas.
Who are your biggest artistic influences, how do they inspire what you create?
I enjoy all forms of visual art. I try not to be too judgemental but appreciate and celebrate the complexity of human visual expression. On a personal level the biggest influences were my art teachers at secondary school who took the subject very seriously and introduced me to Art history and, day to day, friends and fellow artists are a great support network. On a wider level some of my favourite exhibitions in recent years have been showing the work of Paul Klee, Tomma Abst and Sophie Taeuber-Arp.
Why is it important for you to share the joy of art with others?
Seeing what others create, no matter what their previous experience, always astonishes me. People’s imagination and their individual solutions to visual projects are amazing.
What advice would you give to an artist just starting their creative journey?
Just have a go! Don’t set yourself too many parameters, expectations or preconditions. Try to be influenced and inspired by others, not intimidated by their achievements. The ‘style’ you employ will emerge from what you are trying to say. Enjoy the process.
Your works seem to play with a variety of scales ranging from teeny tiny paintings to more large-scale boards. How does scale affect your painting process?
I try to work on a scale that feels comfortable at any given time and relates to what I am trying to express. Sometimes very small pictures can have an intensity and intimacy.
Caption: Clayton’s subject matter is not just limited to nature, they explore a variety of different landscapes through a mix of medias.
What are you most proud of in your creative career?
I’m very lucky to have taken part in many successful exhibitions, residences and collaborations and have undertaken many commissions for local authorities, galleries and educational establishments, interior designers and publishers. But most of all I’m happy to have been able to reach so many people through teaching, to help them enjoy creating their own unique artwork and in some cases go on to have successful art careers of their own.
Where can we find your work? Do you have any upcoming exhibitions?
My work can be seen regularly (including on the gallery websites) at Bircham Gallery, Tarpey Gallery, Gallery Top and Wistow Gallery. Upcoming group exhibitions include ‘From the Land’ at Tarpey Gallery in September, an autumn exhibition at Creative Melbourne Gallery, Derbyshire in November and Leicester Society of Artists annual exhibition at Newarke Houses Museum, Leicester. My work can be seen on the Leicester Society of Artists website. I have a studio at Leicester Print Workshop. Latest work can be viewed on Instagram @peterclaytonart and my wider portfolio can be seen at www.peterclayton.org.
Clayton teaches The Abstract Environment creative course at Attenborough Arts Centre, where you can learn to experiment and develop your use of mixed media to create a variety of dynamic landscapes. You can find out more about the variety of creative courses and workshops that are available by exploring our What’s On page or learn about the other fantastic tutor’s behind the workshops we offer on the Meet Our Tutors page.