“The technique of reverse oil painting on glass means you have to work in reverse, beginning with the highlights and eyelashes. The oil dries quickly on glass, so the face has to be painted in one sitting and with only small adjustments later. I try to avoid applying too many layers because I worry that, if the oil is moving through the layers, they might crack. I keep it to one layer as much as possible. I always like to have a painting I’m working on with the Nature Boy theme. If I revisit it, I can hopefully do different things and discover new ways of capturing the intensity of his gaze. I need to think about those stories or characters because otherwise the painting would become a bit dead.”
Oliver Bedeman is a figurative painter whose work shifts between familiar and imagined portraiture. Representational painting is at the heart of his practice, with delicate portraits often painted using the Hinterglasmalerei technique – oil applied to the reverse of glass. This keen observation overlaps into oil paintings that focus on fictional figures, characters that exist outside of specific times and places; using both imagination and observation, from interpreting lyrics and fictional characters to witnessing the foibles and fortes of his brothers.
Oliver studied at the Royal Drawing School and teaches the schools Young Artists programme at the Ashmolean in Oxford. He has exhibited regularly in prestigious painting competitions including the BP Portrait award, Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize, the Threadneedle Prize, and won the Lady Rothermere award for his work at the Royal Drawing School. His work is included in several UK collections including the Royal Collection, Somerleyton Hall, Raveningham Hall and the University of Chichester. Moreover, Bedeman also has a collection of successful solo exhibitions including those at 10 Gresham Street, London (2019) and ‘Nature Boy’ with us at The Fairhurst gallery (2016), which remains poignant to Oliver and his work.
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