My name is Tim Olden and I grew up in the Southampton, England. Always a keen artist, I never took the subject up in secondary school having concentrated on other subjects. It wasn’t until I was 16 that I studied art in evening school, gaining an A level grade B in one year. I realised that maybe I was good at something. So, I enrolled in Southampton College of Art on a foundation year, then later specialising in Graphic Design.
I finished a course in 1979 achieving a 2.1 grade HND. I went on to work as a graphic designer and illustrator for many Advertising Agencies and Studios. Eventually, I became a freelance designer and illustrator and carved out a very successful career working in my own business. The business accounts I worked on, ranged from local, national and international clients.In November 2016, I made the decision to go back to my love of painting. I haven’t looked back since and have rediscovered my passion for everything equine and animals. Painting many pet portraits on Instagram has helped me get my confidence back to using watercolours. Working in gouache, I find it rewarding and I’m slowly creating my own style. Going forward in the coming months I will be painting in acrylic on canvas, and seeing how far I can progress.
Working with gouache paint comes very easy, as I have always preferred watercolour paints. The beauty of gouache is, it can be used as an opaque paint. Blocking out everything underneath for highlights etc. Or it can be used as a diluted flowing transparent colour wash, allowing the white paper colour to show through. This gives me 2x different opportunities by using gouache.
My choice of brand is Winsor & Newton, I particularly enjoy the Burnt Sienna, one of my favourite colours. It just seems to be the right one for me, as I haven’t found any other that matches it. So as not to rock the boat, I stick with what works best for me and paint using the colours I’m comfortable with.
Choosing the right paper is important, as there are so many options around. I’ve tried lots of different styles and textures until eventually finding what I’m comfortable with. For many animal paintings I use Daler Rowney 250gsm A4 Mixed Media paper. It’s nice and white not dull in colour as some can be.
I’ll use Daler Rowney A3 300gsm Hot Pressed paper if I want a sharper white. With watercolours, if I use this paper, the finished work can look fresh and sharp as the transparency of the watercolour shines through. Another option is the Langton cold pressed A3 300gsm pad.
For many years, I have used gouache together with Caran D’ache Prismalo watercolour pencils. They work so well together allowing the artist to place some fine touches and detail to the illustration. The fine detail helps make this style more of a commercial art. These products are what I use to make my work and style successful. I hope that any budding artists take note, to learn from others and take a few short cuts in their progression as artists in their own right.