Christopher Rainham’s work has always been inspired by the natural world and more specifically his experience of the natural world. He is inspired by the way flora and fauna is woven into language, the explanations of things, stories and beliefs. Christopher loves the material qualities of paint, what it does, how it feels, smells, how in painting and drawing materials change and adapt, try and become something else in becoming a painting.
"Animals and flowers and birds have their own symbolism, are the characters in myths, some of the players in religious writings, metaphors for things we can’t explain. The birds in my paintings are the motif of my design, the objects of my composition and an element of my pattern. I’m interested in the way society interacts with the wild and not so wild things around it, the affect we have on the environment and the living things that rely on it to survive.
My responses may represent an image conjured by a text or a feeling found between the lines of the story or even disparate pieces of the story, my own knowledge and other beliefs all rolled into one. All my work starts with drawing, usually directly onto a primed canvas or board. I make stencils of elements to be repeated or use a digital projector to play with scale. Then I begin to cover the whole surface with a range of earth colours, brown, ochre, blue or grey. I can then start to develop each element trying to create the colours I want. Often the painting needs to be ‘knocked back’ by having a wash of colour applied over the existing image. I then begin to develop the picture again. This allows me to play with the depth in the image and also the edges of objects in the picture plane, light and shade and modelling.
I find starting a painting or drawing exhilarating, full of promise and possibilities. I have never been daunted by the fear of the white sheet of paper or blank canvas. I have sometimes thought about offering my services to other artists as ‘Picture Starter’. I think that’s why I have enjoyed my work in education, the opportunity to spark ideas in someone else’s mind. Many more ideas for paintings come and go and are left somewhere between the supermarket car park and the studio door than ever find their way to gallery, fair or house.The exchange of thought through my painting is what inspires me to communicate, how it ends, how a picture becomes ‘finished’, that is the hard bit.I wonder if anyone offers that as a service to creatives? ‘Picture Finisher’" Christopher Rainham
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