It is experiences of people and places near and far that inspire my work. In the vibrant paintings of urban life in India which have been shown at Gallery North, and now of rural Mongolia, I strive to bring the viewer on a journey similar to my own so they, too, can see the colours and feel the atmosphere. Through evocative detail I aim to tell a story in one image and create something which resonates with the viewer’s own experiences and imagination. Long visits and journeys in India, Japan and most recently in 2018 and 2019 through Mongolia are celebrated in these paintings.
Another key and continuing strand in my work is portraits of crafts people in action. Some are people I know well in my native Sussex – like a painting of the traditional trug maker. Others are creative makers encountered while traveling in Europe and beyond.
I observe these subjects as they work aiming to find a particular movement and expression that reveals them most completely. The focus is as much on the tools and materials, and artefacts being made, as on the crafts people themselves. This has led to comparisons with the renowned paintings and drawings of craftsmen in an earlier age by Thomas Hennel (1903-1945).
I have a long-standing passion for boats and sailing and marine subjects have always been a part of my art practice. I have painted working boats around the shores of Europe and elsewhere. Nearer to home, over the last twenty years, I have been drawing the fast disappearing traditional, wooden fishing boats that come ashore on the shingle beaches in and around Hastings.
For over ten years now my paintings, drawings and larger installations have been exhibited widely in the South East in solo, group and curated exhibitions and also shown in the selected, annual open exhibitions of the Royal Society of British Artists at the Mall Galleries and the Society of Graphic Fine Art in London. My work is in many private collections in this country and further afield including India, Greece and Canada and some hang in public locations. Before painting full-time I had a long career as a film and television Production Designer working with leading directors and actors on hundreds of plays of every period, drama series as varied as Dr Who and The Onedin Line and all the time using drawing skills to convey my designs. My formal art training was at Brighton College of Art and I have an MA from the Sir John Cass, London Metropolitan University.
Antony Penrose recently said of my work that, ‘Jeremy Bear is a quiet observer who misses nothing. The details he sees populate his television and film designs, bringing them an uncanny life. The same eye gives us the wonderful accuracy of his boat paintings … and that same sympathetic observation comes through in his paintings of craftsmen and of people in far off lands and show us he relates to them with respect, understanding and humility – for that is the nature of Jeremy Bear.
The Artist As Eagle Hunter
Acrylic on canvas 90cm x 70cm
Loading Camel for Trek in Mongolia
Acrylic on canvas 6ocm x 80cm