For a painter, my background has been described as ‘elusive’. Perhaps because I worked for many years in wildlife conservation, concentrating on breeding rare species. This started as a teenager under the great conservationist and wildlife painter Sir Peter Scott at The Wildfowl Trust, Slimbridge. Later I earned a PhD in ecology from Glasgow University, for work towards re-establishing the Cornish Chough.
To eke out a living I wrote many articles, papers and books, learning line-drawing to illustrate these myself until a burning passion for Fine Art finally overtook the restrictions of illustration. A knowledge of nature, behaviour and the dynamic relationship between our ‘civilised’ selves and a distant primitive animal heritage has influenced my work. Has not a visual response to nature lurked in our DNA since we lived in caves? Picasso, no less, said “None of us can paint like that any more.” We can but try Pablo.
As a result, Portraits, Landscapes, Still-lifes and Figurework leach out of my North Devon studio set, appropriately enough, between wild Exmoor and manipulated farmland, where I live with my lifelong lovely soulmate, Mij. Work is founded on reality, ‘on objects interrupting light’, and abstracting psychological sexual energy from nature including the human of course. Sometimes they merge, as in Figurescapes. Realising transitions were as important, prompted another category: Thresholds.
Life drawing provides the necessary rigour and discipline
One critic said, “Richard Meyer’s paintings are vibrant and expressionistic, emerging from the margins of an eternal triangle, where Civilization meets Nature – meets Man – meets Woman.” And as Frances Fyfield, the crime writer, said “Richard can muck out the stables of an elephant!” Yes, that’s true, I can, and have, also Rhinos and Zebra and many other things including small children.