It's rare that an artist walks in off the street and shows you work that takes your breath away. Especially when that artist is painting places which are known to nearly all of us, but so it was with Thomas Haskett who we recently started exhibiting.
We so enjoyed getting to know him a little better and hope you do too!
Can you introduce yourself and describe your work?
Hello, I'm Thomas Haskett, a young painter of impressionistic, and representational works in oils. I mostly like to paint plein air landscapes and seascapes, and my primary focus is capturing and conveying light, place and atmosphere.
Where do you work from? What is your studio like?
I like to paint outside as much as possible, so I only really use the studio for preparatory and finishing purposes. It's pretty small, but I like to think that my real studio is outside, which is rather exciting!
What is your preferred medium and why?
Oils are my favourite medium, they took me a while to get into as I was used to making etchings and working in watercolours, and it was quite a shift. I like oils, because I can speed up their drying time, and get an awful lot of information down in a fairly swift and efficient fashion. With watercolours, you only get one chance to get things right, but oils are much easier to alter and adjust.
Oils are also nice and portable, which really suits my working practice, and the effects you can create seem limitless, which is constantly inspiring.
What is your earliest memory of painting?
I've been painting and drawing ever since I was able to hold a pen, or a brush. As a child, I was obsessed with tractors, so that's most probably what I would've been concentrating on in the early stages of my career!
What is the best compliment you’ve ever received?
The chance to show my work at the Golden Sheaf, of course! Also, receiving positive feedback from contemporary painters that I really admire. That's one of the nice things about social media; the ability to connect with one’s influences in a way that wasn't really possible before.
Do you have a favourite piece from your own collections?
I have one or two pieces that mark a turning point where I've switched medium or method, and they mean quite a lot to me. Aside from that, my favourite paintings have all sold, and whilst I'm pleased that they've gone to new homes, I do miss them.
Which artists or designers do you admire locally and nationally?
There’s so many, I could spend all day listing them and still not manage to mention everyone!
Locally, I really like Gareth Thomas' acrylics, Claudia Williams' figurative work, Aneurin Jones' Welsh Cobs, Matthew Wood’s interior scenes, David Tress, Donald McIntyre, Kyffin Williams, Augustus and Gwen John, and obviously, everyone’s work at the Golden Sheaf!
Nationally, there are so many people that I really admire, so in no particular order, here are just a few; Andrew Tozer, Stanhope Forbes, Fred Cuming, Arnesby Brown, Lucy kemp Welch, Ken Howard, Alfred Munnings, Henry Scott Tuke, James MacKeown, Walter Langley, Edward Seago, John Piper, Hockney, Euan Uglow, Henry Scott Tuke, Peter Lanyon, Kurt Jackson, Laura Knight, William Morris etc.
What do you want people who own your work to feel when they look at a piece of yours?
I hope that they can feel some of the anticipation, and the excitement that led me to paint the scene initially. I'd also like them to get some of the joy that comes from painting, and making something out of nothing.
What brought you to Pembrokeshire, and what is your favourite place here?
A love of people and of place. It's really hard to narrow down just one favourite place, there are just so many amazing spots! May I say the sea? I absolutely adore being in it, on it, or next to it.
Have you ever had a complete painting disaster?
More than I care to remember! Painting outside brings with it many risks; the wind, the rain, the light, insects, sand, livestock etc. I'm generally really passive, but I once got so frustrated with a painting which wasn’t working, that I threw it on the ground! It's comes from being such a perfectionist, I think.
Any advice for an aspiring artist?
However you work, it's really important not to stop working, even if it's just a little sketch, or some colour notes; always do something creative every day. It's so easy to stop, or become distracted, but it can be so hard to start again. Also, it's perfectly OK to look at other artists, and admire them, but never compare yourself to them.
Thanks so much for your time Thomas, if you'd like to see more of Tom's work, it's on show in the upstairs gallery.
-The Golden Sheaf