Artist on File: Anthony Wildig
This month Clare Kendal Bate met with Landscape Artist Anthony Wildig at his home and studio in Bushey.
I spent a splendid sunny afternoon talking with the charming Bushey watercolour landscape artist, Anthony Wildig.
Anthony has lived at The Old Bakery in Bushey since 1984 where he sells antique furniture and displays his own art work. He is also a very skilful restorer of antique furniture, a craft he has practiced since leaving school. Over the years Anthony has worked with oils, etching, aquatints and stained glass making. ‘I liked all the technical aspects. I loved all the different handmade glass - just handling the glass was so tactile.’
Born in Watford and educated at Watford Technical High school, from a young age he took a keen interest in architecture, painting and working with wood. When he left school he took an apprenticeship with a London furniture restorer and learnt his craft during his 7 years there. Anthony has been commissioned to work on some notable collections in this country such as those in Woburn Abbey and Blenheim Palace and he has travelled to California twice to work on the fine French furniture in the J Paul Getty Museum.
‘My grandfather used to do some really good pencil sketches but painting doesn’t really run in the family. However, my father was a keen woodworker so I learnt about that from him, which presumably lead to my chosen career’.
Anthony began painting with oils but once he tried watercolours ‘there was no going back’. He has now concentrated on watercolours for over 30 years and they proved to be an ideal medium for him to capture the architecture and the wide variety of landscapes found throughout Britain.
His work has been exhibited widely in Hertfordshire and most recently in Bushey Museum, where he was invited to hold a one man show. To help the museum raise money, he donated the image of his View of Bushey Pond and High Street and the museum produced a greetings card which is on sale there.
Anthony’s frequent visits to Aberdeenshire have also led to his work being exhibited in galleries in the North East of Scotland.
‘Over the years I have had a number of solo exhibitions in this corner of Hertfordshire. I have also participated in the Childwickbury Arts Fair for several years now and thoroughly enjoy the company of the other exhibitors and engaging with the public and receiving their feed-back to my work.’
Anthony has just returned from Suffolk where he revisited some of his favourite painting haunts of Southwold, Dunwich, Aldeburgh, Constable Country and Pin Mill with its Thames barges, rotting boats and mud. ‘Someone gave me a no.30 brush recently which inspired me to produce some bold skies’. I saw an example of this in his most recent painting called Boats at Aldeburgh with a very beautiful sky.
‘I made a similar visit to St Ives and West Cornwall two years ago and was captivated by the lush hedgerows. While there I discovered for the first time the steep wooded valley down to Lamorna Cove and just had to paint it. I can see the attraction for artists painting there 100 years ago.’
Anthony’s favourite artists number amongst the British Impressionist and Post-impressionist collectives of the Newlyn School and the Glasgow Boys. ‘This year I went to see an exhibition of the work of Sir John Lavery, one of the Glasgow Boys, at the Royal Academy. He is an artist I very much admire’.
‘Over the last 25 years, the alterations and repairing of this former bakery (the ovens were still hot when I moved in) have been a major part of my creative life, together with the creation of what has been described as a unique secret garden. Every bit of me has gone in to it’.
So why don’t you visit Anthony at the Old Bakery and enjoy his wonderful landscapes. Or see his work at Childwickbury Arts Fair on 1-3 July this year.
Anthony Wildig, The Old Bakery, 53 Park Road, Bushey, WD23 3EE.
by CLARE KENDAL BATE