Mark Sofilas’s work on exhibition at Staithes Gallery
Mark Sofilas hails from Western Australia where he enjoyed a successful career as an artist and illustrator until 2008 when he relocated to the UK and now paints full time from his studio in Leeds. His paintings bring the fresh perspective of the outsider to the landscapes of northern England and Scotland. He works primarily in oils on canvas or on wood panel and enjoys exploring textures, colour and the intrinsic geometry of the natural world. His use of colour is bold, direct and challenges the viewer to consider familiar landscapes or figurative themes in a very different way.
My paintings are very heavily guided by the emotions a particular scene or moment evokes in me. It’s this feeling that I try to convey to the viewer.
It might be something as simple as smoke drifting from a chimney pot or silhouette created by a particular light source. It may be the strength or history, which emanates from an everyday object or piece of architecture.
Over time I’ve discovered that I can best achieve this by exaggerating/characterising colour, manipulating perspective slightly & pushing shape & form to arrive, hopefully, at a nicely balanced place, where the image created has not only captured the physical qualities of the scene, but more importantly, the feeling of the occasion.
I’m a self taught painter & not locked into approaching my work with any particular procedure or direction in mind.
However, I take photographs of my subjects, but like to rely on memory & imagination, the ultimate goal being, to recreate exactly what I’m feeling onto a flat surface.
I don’t do preliminary drawings, instead I prefer to adopt a more organic approach & design the paintings as I go. This helps the end product retain a freshness & feeling of spontaneity.
I always have an image & mood in my mind’s eye that I’m trying to put down and I find that working this way allows me to be flexible & go with any happy accidents that more than likely will occur. It’s these little surprises that I can adopt & learn from & take into my next painting.
I enjoy the journey that this direct & unstructured approach takes me on & find that it enables me to either get close to achieving what I had in mind & heart or on occasion, arrive somewhere unexpected but as rewarding.
Mark is an exhibiting member of Leeds Fine Artists (founded in 1874)