Over the many years of our long association with Mike Bernard one particular creative gift of his stands out - his great skill in capturing the mood of his chosen studies. This can in part be attributed to his fine eye for composition and perspective as he always seems to find an intriguing and original angle. He has painted favourite locations such as Beer many times, but always captures a fresh idea or mood. Indeed, one could be richly inspired by a room full of Beer studies from Mike!
His compositions are enhanced by his virtuoso use of his various mediums with the collage technique at its core. Newsprint or tissue, often from the subject location, regularly underpins the compositions. Then follow bold fundamental brush strokes and completion with fine detailing either colourful or subdued which frequently, for example, make use of cut out printed card or tickets.
Mike recalls his conversion to the collage medium. In the early ‘90s having graduated from the Royal Academy Schools and starting a career in teaching he says, “I was out in London with students who, when confronted with a blank canvas, seemed to freeze and be unable to start. In exasperation I thought why not send them round the streets to find discarded tickets, wrappers and other similar bits of paper and card. I bought some glue to stick the finds onto the painting surface and hey presto the compositional juices were set in motion.”
This so impressed Mike that within a year he himself converted from classical oils to the collage style. His ongoing international reputation quickly followed, and he was elected as a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours whose patron is Her Majesty The Queen.
For this new solo show, the latest in a long series by Mike staged at Marine House, he has revisited his favourite haunts. These are the coastal villages of Devon, London and Italy. His empathy with these locations and the way in which he captures the differing light are most evident in the works.
This new collection comprises 40 new paintings and, as luck would have it, is fortuitously timed just as the gallery has been allowed to reopen after four months of being physically closed.
We hope you will visit us. While we do our best with our catalogues, nothing can replace the viewing of Mike’s work for real and en masse.