Neil Pont lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and paints in watercolour, pastel and water-soluble oils. He is also developing an interest in print-making, using linocuts and woodcuts. .
Born:1951, Ninfield, East Sussex
Educated: Bexhill Grammar School and Newcastle University
Qualifications: B.A. (Hons) Modern and Medieval History; PGCE
Career: Middle school teacher, 1973-86; Middle school Deputy Headteacher, 1986-9; Middle school Headteacher, 1990-2003; Education Action Zone Director, 2003 - 2008
Retired in 2008 (and married Julia!)
“I have had no formal art training. I can’t remember even being given the opportunity to do Art ‘O level’ all those years ago – more Latin seemed to be the order of the day. I do remember though that I always had colouring books as a young child and winning a couple of competitions – one at the local village show and one in my Mum’s copy of ‘Woman’s Own’! So, I’ve always enjoyed drawing and painting and have dabbled all my life. The breakthrough came in the early 1990s when I decided to go on a painting holiday – at Escat, in the foothills of the Pyrenees, where Maggie Horner was the tutor. And the rest, as they say, is history. I was hooked – both on this type of holiday and on painting. I have lost count of the number of art holidays I have enjoyed and the various tutors I have worked with – most of whom have been instrumental in my development. I returned regularly to one location – Atelier Soulondre in Lodeve, near Montpellier where I shared a studio with David McEwen, whom International Artist magazine have quite rightly dubbed a ‘Master Painter of the World’. David Tress, who worked as a tutor for Bob and Carla Schaap at Pourpry in the Tarn, has been a big influence on my pastel paintings.
“As the output from my painting holidays grew and I shared my pictures with my friends, it became clear that people seemed to like them. So, I plucked up the courage to have a one-day private exhibition in the house of a friend who had a suitable viewing space. And, lo and behold, my pictures sold. Next I shared a week-long public exhibition with my painter friend Malcolm Teasdale which also went well. The big step was the solo exhibition I held in Hexham in 2002. It was a success beyond my dreams – 27 paintings sold in a week. Prints were made of the most popular paintings in the exhibition which continue to sell well. Several exhibitions followed in Hexham and I showed at the Fifiefofum Gallery in Newton."
“I’m sorry but I can’t stand the navel-gazing incomprehensible garbage that some people write about their artistic endeavours. I enjoy making images that please me and that are appreciated by others. I enjoy the materials themselves – beautifully textured hand-made papers; a big squidge of pure watercolour; fat crumbly Unison pastels. I enjoy trying things out and then becoming more skilful in the techniques I’ve used. I love putting colours together in a way that just seems right – I don’t feel the need to copy nature exactly. I do sometimes use photographs and I buy loads of books and magazines about art and artists so that I often am inspired and guided by the works of others. I don’t have one particular style – and I hope I never have. In recent years I have developed a real interest in wildlife photography and am working on linocuts and woodcuts of birds. And, in 2020, locked down because of Covid-19, I have tried my hand with water-soluble oils”
Please visit my other website: www.pontartphotos.co.uk