Sunday, November 20, 2016

R.I.P Andy Wood PRI, RBA (1947 - 2016)

I'm very sad to report that Andy Wood PRI RBA died yesterday morning. He had been seriously ill with cancer and I've been expecting this very sad news for a little while.

Andy Wood, President of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours
(photographed in 2014 following his appointment by Ted Sepple).
His daughter reported his death on Facebook yesterday
Sadly papa wood lost his fight with cancer earlier today, in the arms of his one true love. There's no words to express the pain and emptiness we're all feeling right now, shocked, heartbroken and speechless.
It was a great honour and privilege having him as a dad, I don't need express how much a legend this man was, as everyone knows.
Rest in peace father, see you again another day. As you'd always say 'Laters'
Some of the comments by fellow members of the RI give a very clear sense of the extent to which he will be missed by his fellow watercolour artists.
The world has lost someone special. I will miss him so much. Rosa Sepple Acting President RI

It was such a privilege to work with Andy...and just to know him. Sandra Walker RI

I loved every minute of the RI working with Andy and enjoying his company - he will be so missed by us all Lilias August RI

Some people come into your life and touch it in a very special way. Andy was one of those people and we will miss him terribly. David Parfitt RI

Andy Wood - a life in art

A timeline

  • 1947: Andy was born in Porlock in Somerset and was later brought up in Surrey. 
  • 1965/67 Croydon College of Art, Croydon, Surrey
  • 1967/70 Newport College of Art, Newport (Casnewydd-ar-Wysg), Monmouthshire (Sir Fynwy) - His degree was in Fine Art (Painting) and Film 
  • Andy didn't go straight into art after graduating. Instead he had many different jobs before settling down in one place and painting. These included: starting out as an assistant school caretaker; stage electrician at the London Palladium; designing posters and programmes for pop concerts while living in Snowdonia, North Wales; building a children's arts centre, teaching arts and crafts; working with a "Theatre in Education" drama group in Sussex. After which he moved back to London where he ran an arts centre and worked on adventure playgrounds in Hammersmith.
  • 1976: PGCE at Maria Grey College of Further Education (a teacher training college) in Twickenham
  • 1977: Moved to Charmouth in Dorset and began painting full time (and just to joined the Dorset Fire & Rescue Service as a Retained Firefighter and continued in the fire service until 2002.
  • 1989 - 1992 - He was an artist in residence in Dorset and Devon on three occasions - at
    the Honiton Festival and Devon Opera in Devon and at the Woodroffe School, Lyme Regis in Dorset.
  • 1996 He opened the Andy Wood Gallery in Lyme Regis. This showed his paintings and prints as well as the work of other artists and friends.  During this time he was also President of Lyme Regis Art Group for three years.
  • 2002: Andy closed the gallery and moved with his family to Rye in Kent

  • 2007-2009 - Served on the RI Council
  • 2009: Andy was elected Hon. Secretary of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours. I think this round about the time I began to get to know Andy better. We often had a discussion in the Mall Galleries about how the RI might change and move forward.
  • 2013 and 2014: Judge of the Shenzhen International Watercolor Biennial in 2013 in China (Facebook Page) reviewing 2,825 entries from 54 countries (2013) and 2,825 entries from 1,700 artists (2014)
  • 2014: Andy became the 15th President of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours. He started using the suffix PRI after his name and also became an honorary member of Royal Watercolour Society.  I remember he was a very proud wearer of his chain of office and performed his formal duties with professionalism and aplomb.

Andy Wood PRI presents Deborah Walker with her Turner Medal (2015)
  • 2015 Trustee of British Institution Fund 
  • 2015 Governor and Trustee of Federation of British Artists
  • 2015 Judge - Watercolor Salon II, Thessaloniki, Greece
This is his more detailed C.V.

Andy's art was international

His work was international - in terms of what he painted, where he exhibited and where his art collectors lived. His work featured in numerous exhibitions in England, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Canada and the United States of America.

His paintings are alsoin the collections of His Majesty the Sultan of Oman, the Central Carolina Bank, the Chelsea Arts Club, the Lyme Regis Museum and Duke University.

He's also one of a very few painters in watercolour to have broken into and become acclaimed within the Chinese watercolour painting community. Last year Andy was one of the judges of the Shenzhen International Watercolor Biennial in 2013 (Facebook Page)

His paintings have also featured in articles in several publications including: ‘Artists and Illustrators’, ‘Leisure Painter’, ‘Watercolor Artist’, ‘Pratique des Arts’ (France), Art'issime (Canada), and L'Aquarelliste (Canada)

Andy also wrote about painting and being an artist on his blog Andy Wood - Picture This

Here are some of the paintings by Andy which have featured on my blog over the years. I liked both his talent for design and also his handling of colour, tone and brushwork.  He was a really good watercolour artist.

Winner of the Winsor & Newton Prize (2012)
Paintings by Andy Wood
Watercolour Paintings by Andy Wood PRI (2014)
Plus a comment about his paintings of snow (2011).
Andy Wood RI RBA's paintings of snow. From a distance they look photographic but get up close and they are very clearly paintings. Immaculate handling of tonalities and subtle colour changes and terrific attention to the colour of "cold". You can see a couple of them on the home page of his website.

The last time I saw Andy was at the Annual Exhibition in April of this year when he was as ebullient as ever.  Below is a picture of Andy conducting the President's Tour of the annual exhibition.

Andy Wood doing the President's Tour of the 2016 Annual Exhibition of the
 Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours

He talked to me about one of his paintings in the exhibition. It's called Last Chance. You can read the story of the painting on his blog in a post called Route 66 and all that
The bridge in this painting is the Lindsay C Warren Bridge across Alligator River heading out on Route 64 towards Nags Head. I was driving along with the cruise control set at 60mph - the speed limit was 55 but nobody stuck to that and the only time I was pulled over the highway police just passed the time of day asking dumb, dumber and even dumber questions just so they could listen to my 'British accent' – I was driving along, listening to the radio, minding my own business and wondering when the next gas station would be when a Rickie Lee Jones song came on the radio - “Last Chance Texaco” - and the gas station in the painting appeared in the distance. There was no thinking involved – I had to paint it.
Last Chance by Andy Wood (RI Annual Exhibition 2016)

I will truly miss Andy. He was one of life's gentlemen (in both senses of the word) - and an excellent watercolour artist whose paintings I will also miss very much.

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