My name is Martin Azzopardi and I am Australian born to Maltese parents. I lived most of my life in Australia and my last 8 years I’ve been fortunate to live in Europe. Europe inspires me, mainly for its beauty, character and vibrancy and I have travelled almost throughout. It is also a smorgasbord of cityscapes and subjects for the avid artist.
I guess I would call myself more of a landscape/architectural artist who has an interest in the play of light and atmosphere on the subjects. Although lately, I am also interested in developing my study of portraits and the human form. I see my art as a gift which needs to be nurtured and one I am very grateful to have.
After a recent, fairly serious accident from which I am still recovering this has been highlighted even more to me now, because we never know when it could be gone. From a very young age, I recall myself drawing and painting in my spare time. It was something that was burning in me and that I loved to do and continue to do.
As I grew into my teens and began work, I pursued my painting mainly on weekends and when I had spare time, as I worked in a full time government job for 22 years. Having a busy life made it difficult to spend time on my art, but I always managed to find time to attend art classes in evenings and weekends to learn more on the techniques required in painting and drawing.
My classes included oils and watercolors painting, life drawing and portraits in pastels. Oils and watercolors are my first choice, but I prefer watercolours because of their transparency and vibrancy.
I attended the Ruth Tuck school of watercolour classes in the evenings where I learnt about different techniques. I am also a huge fan of the world renown artist Sir Hans Heysen who lived and painted close to where I grew up in Adelaide, Australia. His use of light in his watercolour paintings of landscapes, farm scenes and gum trees had me captivated from a young age. He died just after I was born, but his paintings inspired me for the rest of my life.
Since then, I have been inspired by many modern day artists and two years ago I did a workshop with the acclaimed watercolour artist Thomas Schaller who is a master of creating light in paintings. From him, I learnt a great deal and feel my watercolour painting improved substantially. I am always learning with every painting I do and it’s only by drawing and painting regularly that I improve.
Before I begin a painting, I prefer to do a quick, small sketch of my subject to familiarize myself with proportions, tones and perspective. After all, a good painting is only as good as the drawing it begins with. Sometimes, I will do a small practice painting to determine colors before I start, because I find it daunting to begin a painting without some guidelines. From this I determine my tones and values, saved whites, mid shades and darks. I’m still evolving this in my works.
I then put my first washes of colors to create the background, saving areas of white where I want my highlights, let that dry, then work up my colors from there. I approach every painting similarly but don’t use any particular system just as long as there is the right amount of tones and values in the painting so it works.
I am attracted to color so my paintings tend to be colorful, but I also realize the importance of toning down color to give a more realistic look. At the moment I’m using Van Gogh watercolours combined with Winsor & Newton.
In the past, I’ve used a mixture of watercolour papers but am currently using Arches. My art is still evolving, and I’m now making more time to practice my drawing and painting to strengthen my skills and hopefully improve my paintings in the future.
Over the past years, I have had some small exhibitions and lately, after requests from friends to see more and for sales, I use my Facebook page (Martin Azzopardi Art).
I believe painting is a continuous process of challenging yourself. Not being afraid to explore and try new things, but instead, evolve through life experiences and practice. We all tend to be critics to our own work, but my experience is not to be to hard on yourselves.Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in