Sunday 17 December 2017

"Collectable Limited Editions for your Home"

Toni Goffe

Toni Goffe

Toni Goffe says after studying Painting, Illustrating and, secretly, double bass playing at Southampton College of Art, I decided to move to London to earn a living, which I supported by playing bass in London Jazz bands.

I did this for the next ten years and have illustrated more than two hundred children’s books, a number of which I have also written.


After marrying my wife Jill, a fellow art student from Southampton, we moved back to Hampshire with our two boys Tim and Tobin. It was here that I started up both an art gallery and a judo club. I am very interested in martial arts and have been studying judo since I was fourteen.


Although I was freelancing in illustration and painting I became more interested in painting since running the gallery. It was about this time when I met John Stobart, a marine painter, who was emigrating to America to set up a gallery. About a year later I joined him to study painting and run his gallery for him in Boston and for the next four years I painted and exhibited along the East Coast galleries of the United States.


Upon returning to England I continued with my painting and one of my paintings ‘Small Cat In Large Dog’s Bed’ was voted ‘best painting’ at an exhibition, having several buyers after it. Due to its popularity I made a limited edition print of the painting, which I showed to Washington Green. Upon seeing the print they asked me to join their portfolio of artists and I have been working with them ever since.

Most of the ideas and inspirations are gained from watching my two cats Mungo and Mingus. They are sisters and do not get on very well with each other. This makes observing them totally absorbing. The way they try and out manoeuvre each other taking the others’ favourite sleeping place, or taking command of the landing upstairs, daring anyone to invade.

Mingus sleeps a lot on the back of the couch in the window looking at the traffic and the cat next door. She gets very excited when she comes around, jumping up at the window, following her every move. She seems to be posing with every movement she makes. The sunlight streams though this window and creates a halo around her that she doesn’t deserve.


They were great when they were kittens. As with all kittens they were up to as much mischief as possible, getting into impossible places, having to be rescued every five minutes and then doing it all over again. It was hard work trying to keep up with drawing them. It was a period of great inspiration and I still have sketchbooks full of ideas for paintings of this time.
At the end of the day, when I would be relaxing on the couch looking at my days work, one of the cats would come and sit on my lap like a critic and look at the paintings with me. They never, however, show that they like or dislike them - they just look.

A painting will start with either a sketch or something I’ve just seen, like a cat sitting in a doorway or looking at me through the kitchen window.

Toni Goffe starts with a rough sketch on layout paper correcting as he goes. This may mean sticking paper over a much-corrected area and re-drawing until it seems right. Sometimes if the corrections get too thick he may have to copy the rough and continue working on that, building up the drawing until it seems finished.


This will be transferred to watercolour paper. I use Saunders Waterford 140lb. with a cp./ not surface or if I’m feeling extravagant Aquvarelle Arches rough 640 grams 100% cotton. These are then taped to a drawing board. I draw in pencil and begin colouring in watercolour; thinly at first, gradually getting thicker until the right tone is reached. I may add some pastel if I’ve got too heavy or even gouache, or, if all has not gone to plan, acrylic. Some paintings I have to abandon altogether because they have gone out of control and have to be thrown away. There is an unhealthily large pile of these!


At the end of the day I take the board with the painting on downstairs from the studio and put it on an easel I have in the sitting room. Then, the cats, my wife and I sit back and criticise it. By the next day I will have decided if it needs any alteration and will continue with this until I feel, either I, or the painting is finished.


I usually work most of the morning with a couple of breaks to stop my limbs from seizing up. In the afternoons I like to do something different as I’m usually artistically exhausted by lunchtime.


After a light lunch and checking the news, in case Mars has invaded, we might walk the dogs or do phone calls and other office stuff until 3.00pm. Then it’s down to the gym or Ki-Aikido practise till 5.00pm.
I tend to review the paintings till suppertime and then its time to relax. As I’ve been working inside all day, I like to get out. This could mean spending the evening at the Ki-Aikido club or playing double bass with a jazz band after which I’m ready for my bed!  

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