Faversham Creek. Image: Derek Cox
About the Artist
Derek started painting about ten years ago - firstly with watercolour, then acrylics and more recently with oils. It took time to learn the different paintings techniques involved, the characteristics and behaviour of paints, and the particular types of paper and canvas.
He uses 'Winsor & Newton' Artist's Professional quality paints in each case. 'Bockingford NOT' paper is his favourite paper for watercolour and ink as it is so 'forgiving'. By using a heavyweight paper, he finds there is no need to pre-stretch it. Sometimes the paper does warp slightly, especially if it is a very wet-into-wet painting. When this happens, he lets the paper dry out thoroughly, then wets the back and leaves it to dry for 24 hours under some heavy weights (such as books). Other artists use other methods.
For his oil and acrylic paintings, he typically uses 'Belle Arte' fine cotton stretched canvasses. Even though they are pre-primed, he always prepares these with a coat of neutral pH pva adhesive to seal the canvas, followed by additional coats of acrylic primer. Over the primer, he often uses a coloured ground and underpainting. He prefers the feel, texture and richness of oil paints and uses Artisan water-soluble oil paints as there is no odour and brushes are easily cleaned in warm soapy water, thus avoiding the use of traditional solvents.
After experimenting with different makes and kinds of brushes, he has found 'Rosemary & Co' brushes suit his way and style of painting best. Whether for watercolour or oils, the series 402 (a mixture of sable and synthetic fibres) prove to the most effective for his style.
Although Derek loves to paint steam trains, landscapes and seascapes, he has become especially interested in the maritime heritage of Faversham in recent times. He started with some paintings of local boats in blue acrylic ink, which many people found fascinating. As he investigated deeper into the histories of local vessels, he has become aware of the importance and significance of Faversham as a major trading hub, maritime and shipbuilding centre. Derek intends to create a series of illustrated books about the 'Boats, Barges and Coastal Craft of Faversham' using his artwork to retell some of the fascinating stories of local boats, and of the industries and ships that have shaped the town. And from this, to focus on producing a comprehensive and searchable digital resource to include paintings, photographs, audio, video and other multi-media content for educational use and for reference.