Andrew Lansley’s landscapes made using egg tempera and watercolour

We caught up with painter Andrew Lansley to discuss his fascinating egg tempera and watercolour pieces, his artist residency in Antarctica, and why seeing wildlife in its natural habitat became the inspiration for his recent series of landscape paintings.

Landscape painter Andrew Lansley in his studio

Growing up in Birmingham, painter and printmaker Andrew Lansley experienced what he calls an ‘intense inner world’. For him, drawing and painting became a way of navigating and making sense of his environment.

We caught up with him to discuss his fascinating egg tempera and watercolour pieces, his artist residency in Antarctica, and why seeing wildlife in its natural habitat became the inspiration for his recent series of landscape paintings.

Q: Have you always been creative since childhood, or did you discover your talent later?

A: I remember being at school and drawing always seemed like a very natural thing. Others would always ask, what’s that in aid of? And I would say: ‘It’s a picture.’ I didn’t understand why it needed any other equivocation or explanation.

Q: Where did you grow up – did it have an impact on your work?

A: I lived in Birmingham up to the age of five. We were the only white family in the street and when my mother was expecting my brother I remember asking her whether he would be black or white.

So it was a pretty weird early childhood. I am certain that this forced me into an unusually intense inner world and drawing was simply a way of navigating and making sense of that.

Q: Before you became a full time artist, did you do any other jobs?

A: I worked at an independent school teaching art and photography for twenty years. I have fond memories of people and pupils I worked with, but I never felt I was any good at it, mainly because I never really understood why I was being asked to do things the way they wanted them done.

Creatively, the job made no sense to me at all. I was glad to get out and put that experience behind me. I still wonder how I allowed myself to be corralled into that path.

Q: What do you think you’d be now if you hadn’t become an artist?

A: I have loved flying and hill walking, which I did a lot whilst running the school’s CCF RAF section. The military interest seems to have rubbed off on my children and they are pursuing their own careers in this direction.

Music has always been my other passion and I sometimes wish I had been strong-minded enough to pursue that as a career. Model making is also a major hobby of mine: I picked it up again whilst receiving chemotherapy treatment and through lockdown.

‘So many things can get in the way of painting. Sometimes it is a bit like trying to wade through spaghetti.’

Andrew Lansley

Q: What’s a working day like for you? Do you have any daily rituals?

A: The start of the day is really important. Breakfast, dog walk, and chores get things out of the way so that by the time I get to work the decks are cleared. There are so many things that can get in the way of painting. Sometimes it is a bit like trying to wade through spaghetti...

Painting can involve anything from the preparation of panels to sketching, looking at books and pictures, travelling, walking or just being quiet and doing nothing.

It’s all part of the same process. Sometimes I go for weeks without painting a thing and I guess this ebb and flow is part of everyone’s creativity.

Q: When is your most productive time of day?

A: Morning! If it doesn’t happen in the morning, it doesn’t happen, but once I am in the groove I try to keep my working hours to a 9 til 5 routine. If I work into the evening, it impacts the next day.

Q: Do you have a favourite painting outfit?

A: My black Le Creuset apron, which is stiff with paint! 

‘The combination of egg and raw pigments seemed to have a quality that was impossible to achieve in any other medium.’

Andrew Lansley

Q: You use interesting materials like egg and raw pigment on gesso, can you tell us a bit more about that? 

A: The first time I encountered egg tempera as a medium was in a Channel Four programme called ‘A Feeling For Paint.’ It featured David Tindall and three other artists. The moment I saw him crack an egg and mix it with the pigment, I immediately thought, ‘That is what I want to do!’

Some months later, I found myself at the 1982 Royal Academy Summer Show, as a young art student in London, standing in front of the painting that I had seen him making in that programme. It seemed to exude an ethereal lightness.

The combination of egg and raw pigments seemed to have a quality that was impossible to achieve in any other medium. My next thought was that one day I would like to have my own egg tempera painting hanging in the Royal Academy.

Thirty-three years later, I eventually did it! As I learned more about egg tempera and its historical origins, my feeling was that these materials gave my work a sense of authenticity that was completely lacking in ready-made paint.

Q: Your landscape paintings are wonderful, can you tell us a little more about the genre and why you gravitate towards it? 

A: Yes, my paintings are predominantly made up of landscapes. Lately, I have also been including animals too. Some years ago I was at a birthday lunch and one of the guests suggested I should meet Alastair Fothergill. He’s the chap who produced the Blue Planet series and numerous other films with David Attenborough. I sent him an email, not expecting a response, and he actually replied!

Some months later, he arrived at my home studio, looked at some work and we went out for a beer. The topic of conversation included the pandemic and man’s incursions into the wild.

By this time I had been to Antarctica and seen some wildlife in its natural habitat. I saw orcas, seaIs, penguins and millions of birds. I gave Alastair a copy of my little book on Antarctica, which he received gracefully.

The point is, that it was at this point that I began to appreciate how animals really are such an integral and, dare I say, animated, part of the landscape. Up until that trip, my landscapes did not feature figures or animals.

I guess they were addressing the numinous and perhaps awesome qualities of a more or less impersonal and dispassionate presence. Now it seems that animals are an equally important part of that experience.

Animals are warm and furry. They are vulnerable, but they also express the wild dispassionate side of nature. Alastair said that it was his view that these pandemics would keep coming as long as mankind continued to invade the natural world.

Since then, I have continued to feature animals in my paintings. These have further evolved into what I now call, ‘The Tales Of The Orange Dog’. 

Q: Any key ambitions you still have on your to-do list?

A: More fame and more money?? No, seriously, I have already achieved most of the goals I set out with when I needed to prove myself and create a track record.

For example, being selected for the RA Summer show three times running, having a solo west end show, the Antarctica residency, and chairing the Bath Society.

All these things are great, but in the end, all that really matters is knowing one’s self as an artist and keeping busy and having a live sense of curiosity. These are the seeds of originality and creativity.

Without these it is pretty pointless because all those other things can only ever provide a fleeting sense of excitement. Everything you have becomes mundane eventually. If it’s only the new experiences and stuff you haven’t got yet that excites you, then it’s time to regroup and look inwards. That’s where great art comes from.

Related stories

spotlight 40 years of DACS: We talk to Amberley Jamieson to learn more about DACS’ mission to protect and champion artists

In celebration of their 40th anniversary, we talk to Amberley Jamieson of DACS’ licensing team to unearth the not-for-profits’ beginnings, the impressive work they have done so far in protecting artist’s rights, and their continued mission as they look forward to the next 40 years.

spotlight Our Team GB limited edition launch party, held at Cristea Roberts Gallery

See highlights from the Team GB limited edition collection launch night, where friends, family, colleagues and artists gathered to celebrate.

spotlight We talk to Tamie Cornwall-Jones about the rich history of Petersburg Press

Petersburg Press were exemplary in their approach to collaborating with artists. David Hockney, Sir Howard Hodgkin and Jim Dine are just a few of the many emerging artists to work with them. Playing a vital role in the company since she joined in 1969, Tamie tells us about the history of the Press and the treasures she still uncovers in the archive today.

spotlight Meet Adrian Houston, the photographer capturing the power and fragility of nature

We met up with Adrian at Kew Gardens to discuss his practice, his greatest adventures confronted with the extreme power of nature, and how we should all spend more time connecting with our natural world.

spotlight Exhibitions to see this spring

Discover our top picks, brought to you by many of our long-standing museum and art gallery partners including The Royal Academy and The Fitzwilliam Museum.

spotlight We catch up with London based artist, Hormazd Narielwalla

To mark the release of his latest signed limited editions, we caught up with the London based artist to discuss his use of tailoring patterns in his work, including history, storytelling, icons and artistic inspiration.

spotlight We catch up with Brighton based painter Faye Bridgwater to celebrate the launch her floral print collection

To celebrate the launch of her three new prints, we chat to Faye about her painting practice, social media, life as a Brighton creative, plus the projects that she’s most looking forward to in 2024 and beyond.

spotlight The history of Fiorucci: A masterclass in playful, head turning poster design

To mark the launch of our rare Fiorucci poster collection, we explore the history of the iconic label, as well as the poster campaigns that propelled Fiorucci to the worldwide market.

spotlight Meet Fi Douglas, the creative mind behind homeware brand bluebellgray

We caught up with Fi to learn more about her journey, the joy of colour and her art goals for the year.

spotlight Our favourite winter Vogue illustrations

We’ve selected some of our favourite early British Vogue winter cover illustrations to celebrate their Art Deco style, and to discover the inspiration behind the artists’ work, including The Ballet Russes.

spotlight Exhibitions to see this season

Discover our top picks, brought to you by many of our long-standing museum and art gallery partners including Tate, The Courtauld Gallery and Royal Academy.

spotlight Publishing highlights 2023: an interview with our Founder, Gyr King

The past year has been filled with a range of exciting new King & McGaw launches. We asked our founder and CEO to reflect on his 2023 highlights.

spotlight Introducing Winner of the Turner Prize 2023, Jesse Darling

Learn more about the artist’s compelling installation and his journey to becoming this year’s winner.

spotlight King & McGaw sponsors the Turner Prize 2023 at Towner Eastbourne

We are very proud to sponsor the Turner Prize 2023 at Towner Eastbourne, as it is hosted there for the very first time. 

spotlight Exhibitions to see this Autumn

Discover our top picks, brought to you by many of our long-standing museum and art gallery partners including The Royal Academy, V&A and The Courtauld.

Subscribe to our newsletter
Be the first to hear about our new collections, limited edition launches, and enjoy artist interviews.

By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy.

Contact us: customer care
Email us
01273 511 942
Mon-Thurs, 9 am - 5 pm Fri 9 am - 2 pm

All art prints and images on this website are copyright protected and belong to their respective owners. All rights reserved.