My initial starting point is to collect on the spot sketches, subjects will vary from harbour coastal scenes to street and market scenes and the occasional still life. I am selective when describing detail, I want to portray only the essence of the subject.
Back in the studio I start my paintings, (surfaces can include, paper, board and canvas), with layers of paper collage, newspapers, tissue, leaflets, magazines etc, glueing with acrylic medium.
I create shapes which relate to the abstract structure of the subject. When the glue is dry, I apply acrylic ink in bold random strokes which encourages wonderful colour and textural ‘happy accidents’. From this state of chaos I endeavour to define the subject through various drawing techniques, to a finished stage where the subject has recognisable passages, but at the same time retain a semi- abstract, impressionistic feel, engaging the viewers imagination.
I now paint almost exclusively in mixed media, combining collage, acrylics and pastel. I enjoy the way textures, shapes, colour and ‘happy accidents’ steer the direction of my paintings. My favourite subjects continue to be harbour scenes, market and street scenes both in Britain and abroad.
Mike Bernard is exhibiting 30 paintings in his new solo show Yorkshire and Beyond here at Watermark Gallery from 27 October to 11 November 2023. View the exhibition here.