New member: Martin Cosgrove

Martin Harlow Carr 2018 (7)Our newest member, Martin Cosgrove, will be having a solo exhibition of oil paintings at Bradford Cathedral from 27 April to 3 June 2019. There will be an opportunity to meet him over wine and nibbles on 8 May 2019 when the doors will be open from 6:30pm for an informal talk starting 7.00pm. Free entry, all welcome.

Martin writes:

Personal background

I was born and lived in Bradford until the age of 18 when I moved to Sheffield to attend medical school. My career as a doctor took me to many places but I returned to live in Bradford once more in 2014 just prior to the end of my medical career.

At the age of 14 I had to drop art at school so that I could pursue a career in medicine but continued to use drawings and diagrams to make sense of science during my medical training. I have a very visual way of thinking and understanding. As I matured, I started to undertake art classes and painting retreats until, at the age of 50, I decided to take a step towards radically improving my skills as an artist by taking the Art Foundation course. I passed with distinction from Cambridge Regional College in 2012 and have never looked back. In addition to painting, I work as a volunteer with Artspace, Bradford Cathedral as an exhibition curator.


Landscape paintingsSunrise North Norfolk Coast

I aim to convey a sense of place in my landscape painting that does not represent pure visual imagery but a deeper feeling that I develop as I engage with my subject matter. I paint from the heart using my eyes, sketches and photographs to inform but not constrain my work. I love to play and experiment, even though this potentially ruins the underlying, hitherto successful painting. Creativity for me involves letting go and taking risks. As the painting develops it takes on a life of its own and I have learned that it’s often best to follow the painting in the canvas rather than try to impose my original plans.

I am always looking for predominant lines and colours when I study a landscape. I strip out everything that is not necessary (such as buildings, people and roads), and try to get back to what lies underneath.

One line dominates a landscape: the horizon. We come back to this line time after time to orientate ourselves and yet it remains forever changing, sometimes clear, sometimes indistinct but forever it is the line of the moment, forever fresh.

Approaching the RidgeOil Painting

Oil painting using traditional methods is a very slow process generally taking months, sometimes years, to complete a painting. Each layer takes about five days to dry. I have been painting in oils for the last 10 years and since building a purpose-built studio at my home I have been able to concentrate my efforts and increase the number of paintings that I am able to work on in parallel. I can have ten wet oil paintings on the go at any one time, all at different stages of development. Often the problem is knowing when to stop so I usually I leave the potentially finished painting to hang on the wall for a while – and wait.


I use traditional techniques for painting. The high-quality paint is mixed with a small amount of artist quality linseed oil and turpentine or similar thinner. Three methods are used to apply the paint to the canvas: a palette knife; a hog or sable brush; or pouring very liquid paint on the canvas and allowing it to run.

Paint is not only applied but can be removed when wet using a lint free cloth, or can be removed when dry by using a palette knife and excavating the paints, exposing underlying layers.