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Portrait of A Dorset Artist – Colin Willey

Colin-Willey-PortraitIt was only when Colin Willey trained to become a teacher that he realised he wanted to become an artist.

Now the successful painter, who lives in Dorchester, exhibits at the Royal Academy of Art every year. Notable collectors include the novelist, broadcaster and former Conservative MP, Edwina Currie

He moved to the area in 1997 when his wife Amanda secured a job as an art teacher at The Thomas Hardye School, Dorchester. This provided the foundation for Colin to become a professional artist.

Colin’s paintings follow in the tradition of Constable and Turner. “I love the freshness of the outdoor studies Constable painted,” says Colin. “It’s easy to forget that what Constable was doing was new and innovative and largely unappreciated in his own lifetime. Like Constable I often paint close to my home and in the places that have an emotional significance to me. I’ve lived and painted in the county for 15 years now and feel very much at home here.”painting-in-the-snow

Colin also feels a connection with Dorset landscape painter Frederick Whitehead. “I like this link with the past and the idea that all those years ago he was travelling around Dorset painting similar views to the ones I’m painting now.” The beaches at Charmouth, Portland and Studland capture Colin’s attention because of the light where he’ll often paint big dramatic skies and billowing clouds. Most recently Lulworth Cove has provided a great source for much inspiration. He’s drawn to a particular part of the Cove called Stair Hole, which Whitehead also painted (his example hangs in Dorset County Museum, Dorchester).

Sea-and-rocks“It wasn’t easy in the early days but I stuck with it and worked hard,” says Colin. “Now I feel very lucky to be able to say that I make a living doing what I love.”