Mike Bernard RI
Mike Bernard was born in Kent in 1957. He trained at the West Surrey College of Art & Design, Farnham, followed by postgraduate studies at the Royal Academy Schools. Since then he has exhibited widely in London and the UK. He has held a number of solo and group exhibitions. He moved to Devon in 2008 where he has been inspired by the amazing light.
Mike was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour in 1997. He has also received a number of awards for his work: Elizabeth Greenshields Fellowship 1981 and 1987 (Royal Academy), David Murray Studentship 1978/80/81 (Royal Academy), 1STPrize Stowells Trophy 1981 (Royal Academy), British Institute Prize (Royal Academy), Lanseer Prize (Royal Academy), Highly Commended Award 1990 Silver Longboat Exhibition, Portsmouth City Art Gallery, Laing Landscape Painting Award 1993, Kingsmead Gallery Award 1999, Stuart Defries Award 2003, Lincoln Joyce Gallery Award 2007, The Ranelagh Press Award RI 2009.
When painting, his initial starting point is to collect on the spot sketches, subjects will vary from harbour coastal scenes to street and market scenes and occasional still lives. He is selective when describing detail as he wants to portray only the essence of the subject. Back in the studio he starts his paintings, (surfaces can include, paper, board and canvas), with layers of paper collage, newspapers, tissue, leaflets, magazines etc, gluing with acrylic medium. He create shapes which relate to the abstract structure of the subject. When the glue is dry, he applies acrylic ink in bold random strokes which encourages wonderful colour and textural ‘happy accidents’. From this state of chaos I endeavour to definite the subject through various drawing techniques, to a finished stage where the subject has recognizable passages, but at the same time retain a semi- abstract, impressionistic feel, engaging the viewer’s 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.”