We had the good fortune of connecting with Paul Newton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paul, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
From a very young age my greatest passion was to draw and paint – it was my first love. However through my high school years and later at university I put that aside to study Science based subjects; but ultimately I was dissatisfied. One night I was chatting with a friend over a glass of red wine about my dilemma – not knowing what to do with my life. He suggested that I join him at art school as there was a great social life, and what’s more, he told me almost as an after-thought, I could learn to draw and paint! Well, that was all the encouragement I needed. The next week I was off to art school, though I didn’t quite know what to expect. When I arrived and walked through the front door and saw the dusty white-washed plaster figures and drapes, still life arrangements, the smell of oil paint and gum turpentine in the air, and the array of dishevelled of eccentric characters who inhabited this world, I really felt like I belonged! It was a home-coming and a return to my first love.
In those days at art school, I was drawn to the human figure and ultimately that lead me to portraiture, a field I specialise in today. These days I get to travel the world to undertake portrait commissions.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
One of the privileges of working as a visual artist and specialising in portraiture, is the opportunity I have had to meet and paint some truly extraordinary people throughout the world. My list of portrait sitters includes people such as US Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and NBA Commissioner David Stern, Pope Benedict XVI and many others. I never tire of painting the human face; with its infinite variability, it remains always an exciting challenge to capture on canvas something of the essence, of the spirit of the sitter.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Prior to lockdown, I visited LA with my 13 year old daughter, so of course we spent a lot of time at Disneyland, Universal Studios, etc. She was keen to see the waxworks figures at Mme Tussauds – Zac Efron being a favourite of hers! We did all the usual tourist things but also spent time visiting some great art galleries, the Huntington Museum in San Marino, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Getty of course! It was summer time in LA and it reminded me so much of my home in Sydney, Australia. Especially seeing all the Eucalyptus trees that adorn so many parts of LA.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to recognise the Portrait Society of America, an organisation that for over 20 years has fostered an interest in and study of fine art portraiture.
Facebook: Paul Newton