Research: Chris Chalk


“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once they grow up.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Chris Chalk always had a fascination with wildlife, nature and the outdoors, and growing up on a dairy farm in Wales he spent much of his time roaming the fields and woodlands, sketching, and painting anything that would stay still long enough to let him.

He left school at 16, started work as a gamekeeper on Lord Harlech’s estate, in Oswestry Shropshire, where he worked for two years. At 18 he changed direction completely, and headed to college for 2 years to complete an apprenticeship as a plumber and heating engineer, he then worked as a heating engineer for 4 years in Swindon, in Wiltshire. Over this early period his life his passion for art was always with him, and he used to paint and draw when he could, but in truth he says: “there weren’t enough hours in the day”.


Craving adventure, he changed career path his early 20’s and joined the armed forces, serving as a marine engineer in the Royal Navy for 5 adventure filled years. Unfortunately, during his naval service he developed severe rheumatoid arthritis, which cut short his career, and he was medically discharged out of the Navy in the late 1990’s.


Undaunted, and with a quest for adventure still burning strongly, he bought a plane ticket with his final naval pay-cheque, grabbed his rucksack, and set off south to New Zealand, to live and work for a year. As these things have a habit of doing, 1 year led to 2,..2 years to 3, ..and so on, and he ended up staying south of the equator for the next 6 years, living in both New Zealand and Australia.

Fortunately, this period gave him much more time to once again pick up the brush and paint, and whilst living in Melbourne, in Australia, he studied art at the CAE. It was at this time, in the early 2000’s, that art became the major driving force in his life, and when he made the decision to move back to the UK to paint full-time.


His art studio in Cilgerran is his operations HQ, where clients can come a visit, view and buy his work, and where most of his painting is done. Paintings are worked up from small oil painting sketches painted out in the field using a pochade box, and from photographs he’s taken on his adventures in Pembrokeshire, Ceredigion and further afield in Wales, most often a combination of both.


I think the artist has got more detail to the way he paints and to his colours. He probably takes a lot to time to paint the pictures to get them right. I like the way he paints and his painting as they are eye catching and they tell a story and they are lush. It feels like you just want to fall into the pictures. All his pictures look different and I think he uses different ways of painting. He chooses different places and locations and he will paint these. You will get a lot of artists who only paint one thing such as North Wales.  This artist goes all over the UK to paint.

Similar to me he uses very bold, dark colours he uses the same way of painting as me from photographs. He also will be using the same paints as me such as acrylics, oils and watercolours. I have noticed that a lot of artists do not use ready mixed paints, perhaps because they are too watery.  I use ready mixed paints and I tend to put acrylic paints in and it makes it thicker.

I tend to not worry about getting the right, I tend to dab the brush on the paint and then dab in onto the canvas. More often I do not mix up the paint and I add to the paint on the paper I use the paint straight from the tube.

Chris Chalk tries to get his paintings exactly the same as what he sees on the picture or photographs.  I tend take a quick glance at the photograph and continue and I don’t worry that it has to be exactly like the photograph. He is using the photograph to create an exact painting whereas I use the photograph as more as an inspiration to create my painting.



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