Matthew has installed a studio in the ground floor of his beachside Victorian town house in Margate. He has designed a floor-to-ceiling sliding easel system that allows the aluminium panels to be moved and angled with ease, especially important during lighting processes of both painting and display. The large scale mechanical easels allow multiple paintings to be worked on at once, a necessary feature when looking at the layers of oils the artist builds into each portrait and the drying time each painting then requires.
Two types of lighting systems are used within the studio. Fluorescent lights with a dimming function operate for the painting process, highlighting colour tones and imperfections before the second lighting system is applied. This is an individually tailored ERCO light which enhances detail and is used for displaying as an integral feature of the finished art.
The studio serves as not just a working and display room, but also a setting where Matthew photographs the subjects and creates the images from which to paint. All walls (ceiling and floor included) are painted a matte black preventing any light and unwanted colour interference to affect the paintings. The blackout studio further allows Matthew to determine and control the light when exhibiting the final portraits, refining and accentuating specific aspects of the face, skin and bone structure, whilst casting the intended atmosphere for each piece with high definition sculpted spot lights.
The feel of the studio is clinical and organised but Matthew claims it to “provide the intimacy and seclusion needed to work on each piece; give the subjects the space to detach and express true emotion in their face during photographing, and a spareness for clients to view the pieces without distraction.” It is a very real atmosphere that allows one to see the progression and depth each painting has had worked into it.