ARTIST CHRIS DAWSON IS A WINNING TALENT. Bermuda is home to many talented artists. With the opening of the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art in 2008, The Charman Prize, a prestigious art award, was established. Participating artists in the biennial exhibition have the chance to win cash prizes totalling $21,000. It is open to all artists who have been residents of Bermuda for at least six months and to Bermudian artists who reside overseas. In 2015, 35-year-old Chris Dawson took top prize, winning $10,000 for his stunning, lifelike oil painting, The Three Queens. “It was very, very exciting, but a bit nerve-wracking as well,” says Dawson. “As the prizes were awarded, and I realised there was only one left to be called, my heart was racing!” At the award ceremony, Dawson was joined by his entire family, including those depicted in his masterful painting of a family playing a card game. Experience Bermuda caught up with Dawson to talk about his art and what he’s currently painting. When did you develop an interest in art? During my teen years I was primarily focused on representational drawing in pencils and charcoal. I then moved on to airbrushing for a few years before finally settling into my current medium of oils. Did you study art? I attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and studied photography, illustration, drawing and painting. I obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. What or who have been your main influences in art? I’m influenced a lot by the work of the old masters: Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Velázquez and John Singer Sargent, amongst others. What are you working on now? My main focus is building a continuous body of high-quality work. I find my ideas and thoughts are constantly changing in regards to how I view my work and what messages I want to get across. Do you have a favourite medium? I work in oil paints. I have a love and passion for painting people, portraits, the figure and for painting still life. I am also fascinated by oil paint. I love the smell of it, the textures that can be created, the way it glides under the brush and the different characteristics of each pigment. I primarily paint on panels for their longevity. What fact about you would surprise people? I make most of my paints from dry pigments and oil, which give me a highly concentrated pigment-loaded paint. Freshly made paint is quite amazing. Most of my colours consist of earth tones, and I try to keep the palette limited to approximately eight to 12 colours. What’s next for you? Although I am focused on doing commission work (portraits, family portraits, etc.), it’s really more about an internal path that I have with myself. Where can we see more samples of your work? My work may be viewed online on my Facebook page, which is Chris Dawson Fine Art Studio. If anyone has inquiries in regards to commission work, I can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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