Thomas Lamb Interview

By September 6th, 2016Artist Interviews

Thomas Lamb - Blossom Trees and Temple

Thomas Lamb – Blossom Trees and Temple (Original Sold)

2013. Oil on linen painting. (160 x 160 cm).

Lincolnshire based artist Thomas Lamb discusses his influences from early Italian art to the glowing cherry trees of Japan…

Were you always drawing as a child and can you remember when you decided you wanted to be an artist?

Yes, I was always drawing from a young age, I don’t remember a precise moment when I decided I wanted to be an artist, I just wanted to carry on drawing and painting and thankfully I have been able to continue.

Some of your recent work stemmed from trips to Norway and Japan. How did the differing landscapes of each country impact your work?

Both countries have very beautiful and varied terrain. I visited Norway during the winter so the landscape was covered in snow and seemed very wild and expansive, it also had low sunlight which made the snow appear as a source of light, the sparseness of the winter landscape encouraged me to concentrate on the use of space in the picture. In Japan the landscape is mountainous and has four very distinct seasons which left a strong impression on me. I have always been intrigued by the harmony of space between Japanese architecture and landscape and how they blur the boundaries between outside and interior space.

Thomas Lamb Paintings - Yellow Trees at Night


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Thomas Lamb – Yellow Trees at Night

2007. Oil painting on linen. (160 x 200 cm).

Who are some of your biggest artistic influences?

The opportunity to study first hand examples of Japanese painting and the early Italian paintings of Giotto, Piero della Francesca and Fra Angelico have been important for me within my work.

Was Wimbledon School of Art a good environment for honing your drawing skills?

Yes, I found it a very good environment for drawing, it was one of the few art schools that still had a permanent life room so that was one of the reasons for applying to study there. I spent my first year in the life room and this was an important period for me to explore the possibilities for drawing and as such I believe gave me a strong foundation within my work in which to build upon.

What’s been your experience of selling art online compared to selling your work through a gallery?

I want people to experience my work in galleries or public spaces but I think it is important to explore different ways and combinations of displaying work and for me online has been a good way to communicate and reach a wide audience. It’s also opened up further opportunities to collaborate and enabled me another way to continue exhibiting my work.

Thomas Lamb Paintings - Blossom Trees in the Rain at Night

Thomas Lamb – Blossom Trees in the Rain at Night (Original Sold)

2010. Oil on linen painting. (94 x 116 cm).

Your paintings of cherry trees bring out some of your most vibrant and luminous colours. Is that part of their appeal as a subject?

When I started making the paintings one aspect was that I was fascinated by the light-up of cherry trees during Japan’s spring time and how the blossom’s seemed to have a great intensity at night, seemingly emanating their own light against the evening sky. In Japan they herald the beginning of spring and are celebrated throughout the country and possibly the vibrancy and beauty of the environment during this time impacted upon the work.

A friend told me of a conversation he had with the artist and playwright John Byrne who said he doesn’t have time to worry about inspiration, with so much to do he just gets on with it. How much is your practice just getting on with it and how much is waiting for inspiration to strike?

Thomas Lamb Weeping Cherry Tree at NightCertainly the former one as it’s through working that some of the best ideas or approaches emerge for me although I find that walking in the landscape is also a great source of discovering new ideas which can lead to unexpected possibilities.

There’s a real poetry to your work. Robert Frost defines poetry as when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words. If we substitute words for image is that close to what your work aims to capture?

Well, I have always found painting and drawing the most direct way for me to communicate my experiences of the world around me. Idiosyncratically the end result is hopefully something akin to painting or drawing a picture that I am unable to explain.

A nice easy one to end with (!)… Why do you make art?

I want to paint and create a vision that furthers my experiences of the world.

That’s the end of our Thomas Lamb interview. Thanks again to Thomas for taking some time out from his work to answer our questions.

For more images and links head over to our Thomas Lamb page.