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Surrey Life Landscape Painter of the Year 2016 - inspiration from Claygate artist Richard Knight

PUBLISHED: 10:04 01 December 2016

A detail of Richard's stunning painting of Claygate Cricket Club, which is currently on display at The Art Agency in Esher

A detail of Richard's stunning painting of Claygate Cricket Club, which is currently on display at The Art Agency in Esher


With just over a month left to enter our new Landscape Painter of the Year competition, there’s just enough time to create that Surrey masterpiece before The closing date! To give you a bit of inspiration, here we meet one of the resident artists at The Art Agency in Esher, our gallery partner for the competition, who has been enjoying some competition success of his own just lately

Richard pictured in the Sky Arts series, which is showing on our screens this autumn (Photo Chris Lobina / Sky Arts)Richard pictured in the Sky Arts series, which is showing on our screens this autumn (Photo Chris Lobina / Sky Arts)

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2016


If you’ve been considering which local beauty-spot to feature in your entry for the Surrey Life Landscape Painter of the Year competition, then you’ll know that we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to idyllic Surrey scenes.

One person who knows that better than most is landscape painter Richard Knight, one of the resident artists at our gallery partner for the competition, The Art Agency in Esher, and who himself has been enjoying some competition success of late, having been shortlisted for Sky Arts’ Landscape Artist of the Year. Presented by TV personality Frank Skinner and presenter and journalist Joan Bakewell, the series is being shown on our screens this autumn.

“I was delighted to receive the phone call from the producers telling me that my work had qualified me for the competition,” says Richard. “This validated a decision I made several years ago to become a full-time artist.

“My paintings attempt to capture the perpetually evolving patterns and rhythms of light created by architecture, landscape and people by fusing observational drawing with colour, texture and pattern. I want the spectator to recognise what and where I paint and enjoy my interpretation of familiar places and situations.”

A long-time resident of Surrey, Richard was brought up on his family’s farm on the coast of North Cornwall. However, he left his tractor behind to train in graphic design and illustration at Kingston University in the mid ‘80s. He went on to spend 30 years in the creative industry in London, first as an illustrator and graphic designer, before becoming a full-time artist. He now lives in Claygate and works from a studio in Wimbledon.

“I absolutely love the contrast of being able to enjoy such beautiful countryside and yet still be in London in such a short space of time,” says Richard. “Walking the dogs around Claygate gives me the fantastic compliment of country and town living – an uplifting place to start the day. There are walks that go on uninterrupted for miles around here, from Claygate Common to Esher and Oxshott and beyond. Followed by a Sunday lunch at the local pubs, what could be more perfect?!

“Then it’s off to Wimbledon Art Studios, a fantastic community of over 130 artists. It’s also our bi-annual Open Studios this month, so do come and visit my studio! In addition, I have also been more than pleased that The Art Agency in Esher has been such an advocate of my work having sold many pieces for me. They have helped fuse my work and home life in the best possible way and are fun to be in partnership with.”

Surrey scenes

One of Richard’s works currently featured at this popular gallery is the quintessentially English scene pictured at the top of the page, showing Claygate’s cricketers in action.

“London tends to be the centrepiece for most of my paintings,” says Richard. “However, I am always keen to incorporate my love of painting with the Surrey environment and the Claygate Cricket Club gave me the perfect opportunity to do some ‘plein air’ or location painting. With a great focal point and contrast, looking out from the surrounding wood gave me the perfect frame to highlight the sunlight on the players, not to mention creating quite a bit of interest from passers-by!”

So, what advice would he have then, we wonder, for fellow local artists thinking about entering Surrey Life’s new painting competition?

“My first suggestion would be to limit your palette of colours and also to think about a focus point to work from – not necessarily in the centre of the piece but try not put too much detail into every part of your work,” says Richard. “In my view, that is what photography does; painting gives us the chance to paint not only what we see but what we feel about our subject.”

• To find out how Richard gets on in the Sky Arts competition, tune in on Tuesdays at 8pm. The series’ grand finale, when the winning artist will be announced, is due to be aired on Tuesday November 29 at 8pm

• The Wimbledon Art Studios open event runs from Thursday November 10 to Sunday November 13. For more information, see their website at



Are you inspired by Surrey’s bucolic beauty? Love to have a chance to show your work in a gallery? Then why not enter our new competition to find the Surrey Life Landscape Painter of the Year 2016? The competition is open to both amateurs and professionals. So, whether you have exhibited before or not, this is your chance to show your work in the gallery of The Art Agency in Esher, as well as win a cash prize of £250.

The prize: 
• A chance to exhibit at The Art Agency in Esher alongside the other finalists
• A feature in Surrey Life on you and your work
• A first prize of £250

To enter, send up to three images, including the title of each work, the medium and where it was painted, as well as a brief biography of yourself, to or

The closing date is Monday December 5, 2016.

The finalists will be announced in our January issue and they will then be invited to take part in a show at The Art Agency in Esher, early next year, where we will announce the winner.

Rules of the competition:

• Open to residents of Surrey

• Must be own work

• Must be a painting – can include oils, acrylic and watercolour on canvas, paper or board

• Must be new work (not previously shown or sold) and available for exhibition

• Minimum age: 18 years

• The judges’ decision is final

• Archant reserves the right to use images in future publicity

• The number of entries is limited to three works of art per person

• Normal Archant terms and conditions apply

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