Phil Alder


Born in 1951 and recently amused to find out in the next street to the one where David Jones the poet and artist was born in London but in my case with a north Wales mother, not a father from north Wales like him. I have, and had, an enjoyable career in arts and heritage as a lecturer, curator, manager (I was the second county arts officer appointed in Wales) and always as a practicing artist in west Wales.

I’m using mixed colours, rhythm, shallow depths and 'calligraphic' brushwork. The paintings are about sensation, often the very pleasant one of being surrounded by foliage, flowers, light and colour, most often in an informal garden. They are metaphors or visual ‘poems’ often celebrating the abundance, providence or richness of nature and the pleasure of being amongst it.

The studio paintings seek to pin down this 'inner image', The paintings are normally small to medium, usually in oil paint laid over ground stained in acrylic. They are worked quickly in bouts but with lengthy periods of consideration between the painting sessions. Sometimes I can repaint or return to them after several years.

In contrast I also enjoy the immediacy of watercolour: it's lightness and delicacy of touch, the way the brush can 'dance'. I use watercolour to make finished paintings but more often for brush drawings from life or studies for ideas that may further develop into studio paintings. The watercolours also vary in size from small to medium; I also use pen and pastel for sketch book work.

For both watercolours and studio paintings I use a ‘dry on dry’ technique, so that I can emphasise rhythms, marks and the integrity of the colour used. Usually they are ‘all over’ with no particular focal point  and a rely on being ‘scanned’ just as we experience being at ease amongst foliage, certain gardens or in a landscape.

At times it feels that my course has been seemingly a long while in the making and over time my work has entered several public collections in Wales and with private buyers across Wales, England, USA and Canada. I’ve mainly shown in Wales. I have written and published articles on art and been written about, also received a few awards. I trained at Hull College of Education (now Univ; Lincoln) and studied with the Open University.

Phil (Phillip) Alder October 2018.