Artist of the Month: Allen Webb

7 Mar 2008

This Bahamas-based artist seeks to capture the natural landscape right outside his front door.

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Evening Exuma
2000, oil on canvas, 24 x 30.
Collection the artist.

Artist Allen Webb has two loves: tennis and painting. As a professional tennis player and coach, he has traveled the world and now teaches many high-profile clients. He has even invented original equipment to aid tennis players and help improve their grip. Despite his achievements, he is still shy—yet extremely enthusiastic—about his artwork. The Ohio native attended the Columbus College of Art and Design, in Ohio, for two years before working in the art department at a local advertising agency. One intense year at the ad agency taught him to work quickly and create commercial art, but his love of tennis propelled him to move on and compete in tournaments, and eventually coach. And, though his love of the game never waned, “The entire time I was traveling, I always found spare time to paint subject matter in the different countries I lived in,” Webb says. He has exhibited his work in several international venues.

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Tar Bay
oil on canvas, 2000, 22 x 28.
Collection the artist.

His preferred media are watercolor and oil, although “I use a lot of watercolor techniques when painting in oils,” he explains. “I water down the oils with turpentine to make them thin.” He has extensive experience painting detailed pieces such historical scenes, but the artist now finds the most joy in painting clouds and water scenes inspired by the views from his home in the Bahamas.

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Exuma Sunset
1998, oil on canvas,
24 x 30. Private collection

Because cloud formations change rapidly, Webb works very quickly and strives for consistency. “I often paint seven or more paintings in one day because I want a uniform feel to the process and I want to catch the dramatic and exciting array of clouds,” he says. The artist is able to do so by limiting his palette and materials, creating a simplicity that allows him to maintain one concept and color scheme. His palette consists of only four colors— black, white, purple, and blue—and he uses only two brush sizes. After selecting the area to paint, he takes photos to use as a reference, and first paints the sky across all his pieces. Once that is dry, he uses his brush to lay out the cloud formation across all six paintings, which can take upwards of three hours. “The color of the water doesn’t change much,” Webb says when explaining why he saves this area until the very end. “For me it is important to catch the right mood at a given time of day.”

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Silver Beach
1999, oil on board, 12 x 23.
Private collection.

As with many artists who take on other occupations, Webb does not always have a week or so to focus on a piece. Having always sought a balance between painting and coaching, he constantly reminds himself that time must be made for painting. “Always keep practicing, even though you aren’t selling your work,” he advises. “Even when I can only paint in the evening or on days off, I take out my reference photos and get to work.”

For more information on Webb, visit www.awebbart.com

Naomi Ekperigin is the editorial assistant of American Artist.


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Comments

Veronique Aniel wrote
on 18 Jun 2007 6:57 PM
I love the simplicity of his compositions, and the colors of his work. Less is more!