Independent Women Driving Inspire Painter
Mr. Roy Putt is an automotive artist based in Blandford Forum, Dorset. His clients include the Royal Irish Automobile Club, Hastings Direct, and Maserati UK, along with many others. He is also a regular exhibitor at the Int’l Historic Motor Show, Goodwood Festival of Speed, Goodwood Revival and Silverstone Classic. This year he is honored and excited to have been invited to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in March as a guest artist by the Automotive Fine Art Society.
Q: Are you a full time artist?
A: No, I also make a living as a musician, I have been playing bass guitar in bands since 1968. I’ve played in all kinds of bands, in all kinds of places including three months in East Germany and the Soviet Union before the wall came down.
Q: Was it hard getting started as an automotive artist?
A: I started exhibiting at small festivals of transport in my local area and gradually improved my skills and made contacts. After a while I was invited to exhibit at bigger events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed. I met new people and new opportunities came along.
Q: How did your passion for painting and vintage cars begin?
A: I believe that my childhood experiences had a lot to do with it. Both my brother and sister were a lot older than me and had left home before I was five. My brother was in the British army and when he was home on leave he would draw me his version of American cars from the 1940s, which I found very entertaining. When he went back to his posting I tried to draw my own version. In England, in the 1950s most people who owned a car could only buy cars from the 1930s and 1940s as most new cars were for export. Therefore, as a child, exciting events like going on holiday were associated with pre-war cars.
Q: What is it about the cars and lifestyle of the ’20s and ’30s that you like so much?
A: With the cars it’s the style and variety. The influence of Art Deco in the styling and the craftsmanship in the construction. When you see a pre-war car in modern traffic you just can’t take your eyes off of it. With the lifestyle it’s the clothes, architecture, and what we imagine to be a more carefree life. I say imagine because I’m sure for most people life was hard.
Q: How does the creative process begin?
A: Usually, I have an idea that I think will work as a painting and quite often it doesn’t. Sometime I can see the finished painting in my head without any uncertain areas and they work straight away. Commissions can present problems because I have to second-guess the clients desire and motivation and I am never sure, until the painting is delivered, if I have guessed correctly. So far nobody has complained.
Q: What techniques do you use for your paintings?
A: A few years ago I used to paint with acrylic on water-color board. I would draw the image on the board and then put an acrylic wash over the drawing and then pick out the detail on top of that. Recently I have used unprimed linen canvases and painted in the traditional way, dark to light, with oil paint.
Q: Women (often accompanied by a dog) are the protagonists in many of your paintings. What’s the story behind that?
A: I like to tell a story in a picture sometimes. If I paint a man driving a pre-war car, it’s just a man driving. If I paint a woman in a pre-war car there’s a story. Women became more independent after World War One. So how can she own a car? What is she wearing? Is she happy on her own or is she meeting someone? What about the dog? Does he like being in the car or is he nervous? Is he protective or just bored? Some of the great American illustrators, like J. C. Leyendecker and Norman Rockwell used dogs in their work to symbolize sadness or joy. Also, people love dogs in paintings.
Q: Do you own or aspire to own a vintage car (and which one)?
A: I do not own a vintage car but I dream about them all the time. I have always desired a pre-war Riley Nine or an MG sports car of some kind.
Q: As a painter, what do you see when looking at a car?
A: I see the shape and the balance of one shape against another. I see the character of the design, the feeling of power in the design or speed or grace. Also the colors and reflected colors.
Q: Where do you like or would you like to see your art displayed most?
A: I enjoy attending the exhibitions at car shows where there is a constant flow of viewers. I like to stand back and see their reaction to my work, I like to hear what they say and I learn a lot from their comments. I don’t approach them unless it is obvious that they are looking around for me.
To check out Roy’s personal site, click here.
To purchase original artwork or prints, click here.