Richard Burt


Richard BurtRichard Burt


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Why do you paint?

"I think it's mainly about expressing myself. As I get older I hope I have a clearer idea of what I think - or maybe a less clear idea of what I think! - and putting that down in paint is more interesting and gives a more pleasing result than writing a poem, for example . . . and slso, of course, it's fun! Frank Auerbach, who's work I admire enormously, once said that painting was the best game he had ever played -  so why would you want to do anything else? 

What do you paint?

"I paint what I paint! . . . but, I suppose mainly local landscapes. That's how they start out anyway. They take on a life of their own once I get started - the point is the painting, not what I've seen - most of the basic shapes are more or less recognisable if you know the place though. Most (paintings) are pictures of an idea so the subject isn't always that important. The successful ones combine place with an idea - I have the idea, I see the place and off I go!"

Do you often change the way you paint?

"I paint the way I paint. It's not planned. To be honest, I'm not even sure I like the way I paint! But I seem to be stuck with it - in the same way that I don't like the sound of my own voice (my wife would dispute this!). Changes do happen though, it's more of a process now rather than anything dramatic.

How do you start a painting?

" I wake up in the morning and go into the studio, and just sort of stsy there! Usually a view or place or bit of a place has stuck in my mind and I make a sketch from that, from memory. The people I tend to sketch and take photographs of when I'm out and about. I probably do about half a dozen sketches until it looks right - then I get the sketch on to canvas with charcoal. Then the fun begins - all the colour, all the paint."

How do you know when a painting is finished?

"I find this more difficult than starting and tend to keep coming back to pictures - to change colours usually. I just keep changing - layer after layer - and, of course, when you change one colour you usually need to change another! In the end it just sort of settles, calms down - then it's finished. It can always flare up again - so it's best to get them off my hands if I can!"

Who are your influences?

"I must confess to not knowing much about painting before the Impressionists - I like Vermeer though. Milton Avery, Nicolas de Stahl, Keith Vaughan, oh, and Matisse of course, yes Matisse. And have you seen Chantal Joffe's work? I'm interested in most painting actually. I also listen to a lot of music, loud, while I'm painting so most pictures have a soundtrack, that's a real influence. Alabama Shakes and Gary Clark Jnr at the moment!

I think that's enough. Thank you very much."

Based on a gallery talk Q&A session. With many thanks to Polly Koska.

If you find yourself in the Kingsbridge/Salcombe area do drop me an email - I would be more than happy to show you round the studio. There is always work to see that does not find its way onto the website.


1956 born in Surrey

1979 moved to Northumberland

1996 moved to Devon

Since 2009, I have been painting full time, working from my studio near Salcombe.

I am more than happy to discuss commissions - you can see an example of this at The Thurlestone Hotel in their new Drawing Room.  

My studio is always open by appointment and there is always work to see that does not find its way onto the website. Email me at or under 'contact'.