Get to know Josh
I’m a seascape artist from the Isle of Wight - an island off the south coast of England. I paint on both canvas and collected driftwood to create my unique coastal artwork. Having grown up on the beautiful and ever-changing coastlines of the Isle of Wight, it was only natural that these surroundings would become the inspiration for my work.
I’m a keen surfer and love nothing more than being in the water, whether in the cold stormy winter seas or messing about in the smaller summer swell. My love for surfing is clear in the paintings I create, as I focus mostly on the movement and texture of waves. Through my understanding of the sea and its movement, I love to capture the deep blues of the sea and the frothiness of the backwash. An aerial perspective of the coastline adds scale and power to the ocean in comparison to the smaller-scale surfers who face them.
From an idea to the finished piece
I use aerial photos taken from a drone or cliff-top camera to base my paintings on. Next, I decide whether to work with canvas or driftwood and use a very wet mix of paint, slowly building up layers upon layers. I let the paint dictate the shape and movement of the water; this then allows me to determine where my surfers will be placed. Details are added in last - figures, wetsuits, and surfboards - I love working on the finer details!
By experimenting with the paint and not being afraid to ‘go wrong’! I love to see what happens throughout the journey of the work, and I definitely have more fun when I let the paint do its own thing. Sometimes, I can be halfway through a piece and change the direction completely; I just go with the flow and am happy to change my mind on things.
Art tips and tricks
Accept that your work is never wrong - it’s just part of the process. I always experiment with layers and textures as I go. If I don’t like how something looks - I just let it dry and then paint over it again. I take my time to ensure I’m happy that the end result works. Perspective can be tricky when working from aerial shots - I often outline things first to ensure the waves, beach, and surfers work to scale.
Share with us one of your greatest life lessons:
If you’re able to travel and see the world, then don’t hesitate to take the time out to do that! Throwing yourself into different cultures, experiences, and places is so exciting and rewarding. There are so many beautiful corners of the world to see and experiences to be had! Of course - I prefer to explore varying coastal regions to bustling cities.
What has been one of your biggest ‘wins’ or ‘successes’ with your art?
In 2021, I was invited to exhibit my work at London’s Brick Lane art gallery - my first exhibition. It was great to meet clients who have collected my work, and talk to others who are interested. It gives me so much joy when someone compliments my work and wants to have a piece in their home.
One of the biggest challenges you face as an artist?
Reaching a wider audience is always tricky. The island is an amazing place to live, but it feels very small at times. Although social media can be a great place to reach a wider audience, it is hard to get your work seen globally and can be a frustrating place to navigate.
What are you looking forward to this year? Any big plans?
I’m working on more collections of aerial surfer scenes - I just love the free-flowing technique! Also, I have an idea to create some paintings of pro surfers on some of the world’s best waves; I’d love for them to be able to see and give feedback on my work.
- Guilty pleasure? Cheese!
- Longboard or shortboard? Midlength/shortboard
- Quote to live by? ‘There’s a whole world out there, right outside your window. You’d be a fool to miss it.’ — Charlotte Eriksson
- Favorite song/artist/album? Catfish and the Bottlemen