After graduating from North Tyneside College, Jeff Rowland became self employed as a professional artist in 1984. Inspired by his grandmother using oil paints, Jeff has always been drawn back to painting in oils despite experimenting with glass engravings, printing and paintings with different materials. Described by himself as a "gun approach to art", Jeff Rowland struggled to find his feet at first, before deciding to re-train in 2000. Whilst completing his HND in advertising and illustration as a visualiser in Newcastle, Jeff worked on live briefs and successfully won a NEPA award. After graduating, Jeff went looking fro work but could not get away from art and therefore decided to give himself a second chance of starting a career as an artist. After exhibiting in galleries in Northumberland, his work was taken to the London Affordable where he experienced a sell out. This did not stop there, as Jeff continued to exhibit his work and concequently gained equal success elsewhere. Over the last two years, Jeff Rowland has witnessed a change in his work and style, pushing him to develop his compositions and convey certain atmospheres in his paintings.
Inspired by the rain soaked streets featured in films such as The Bridges of Madison County, Jeff Rowland uses the element of rain in order to implement a meaning or a back story to his work. Using and adding clues in his composition allows the viewers to make their own minds on how the story begins and how it comes to an end. As part of his work process, Jeff always likes to experience what he is about to paint. Having done a series of paintings about trawler men, Jeff Rowland did his research by going out to sea on a trawler and sketched whilst the men worked. Getting soaked, freezing and smelling of fish enabled him to transcribe the exact atmosphere he was looking for onto canvas. Living in the North East coast means that Jeff gets his fair share of rain to work with, which in exchange edges him to go out and sketch crossroads, bridges and streets, catching the light reflections from street lamps and cars. His paintings are not specific to a location or a city, which again leaves the viewer to imagine where the scene takes place. With Irish and Scottish origins, Jeff adds references into his work such as the name of bars or names on signs featuring in the composition. Inspiration can appear anywhere at any given time for Jeff Rowland. The sight of building structures, landscapes and streets are enough for him to imagine his next painting and the backstory to go with it.
Jeff Rowland's first step into painting is to pick the canvas and determine whether it will be portrait or landscape. After his own ritual of passing the palm of his hands over the tooth of the canvas which gets him into connection between him and the material, Jeff roughly sketches out the areas where everything will be using a block of graphite. Then using his fingers he adds the marks and shapes in order to give himself an overview of how the painting will look. Before proceeding to painting, Jeff fixes the graphite and mixes up to six colours on his palette using cerulean blue, ultramarine, Van Dyke brown, lamp black and titanium white to create a spectrum of greys and blues. These colours are applied vigorously and then, working from the background Jeff adds suggestions of something going on. As he works towards the middle distance and foreground, he applies darker and heavier paint in order to pull the foreground forward. Once all that is done, Jeff then adds the rain using a decorator's brush which leaves paint marks unconstrained to a uniform pattern.
Living in Monkseaton with his partner Alison and their son Chris, Jeff Rowland gets up at 6:15am to make tea and after dropping her at work, he usually starts work about 7am. Before starting, Jeff clears his studio in order to clear his head before choosing a new canvas and starting to paint. Taking a break for lunch, Jeff cannot resist painting and eating at the same time and getting himself completely immersed in his work, the day goes by at a very fast rate. At the end of the day, Jeff Rowland will add and finish off his work, always wanting to add a little extra. Then, automatically Jeff will look to starting the next piece. Jeff ends his day with an evening meal and a well earned glass of red wine.