Mark Sofilas hails from Western Australia where he enjoyed a successful career as an artist and illustrator until 2008 when he relocated to the UK and now paints full time from his studio in Leeds. His paintings bring the fresh perspective of the outsider to the landscapes of northern England and Scotland. He works primarily in oils on canvas or on wood panel and enjoys exploring textures, colour and the intrinsic geometry of the natural world. His use of colour is bold, direct and challenges the viewer to consider familiar landscapes or figurative themes in a very different way.
Mark is an exhibiting member of the Leeds Fine Artists.
‘My paintings are very heavily guided by the emotions a particular scene or moment evokes in me. It’s this feeling that I try to convey to the viewer. It might be something as simple as smoke drifting from a chimney pot or silhouette created by a particular light source. It may be the strength or history, which emanates from an everyday object or piece of architecture.
Over time I’ve discovered that I can best achieve this by exaggerating/ characterising colour, manipulating perspective slightly and pushing shape and form to arrive, hopefully, at a nicely balanced place, where the image created has not only captured the physical quality of the scene, but more importantly, the feeling of the occasion. I’m a self-taught painter and not locked into approaching my work with any procedure or direction in mind.
However, I take photographs of my subjects, but like to rely on memory and imagination, the ultimate goal being to recreate exactly what I’m feeling onto a flat surface. I don’t do preliminary drawings, instead I prefer to adapt a more organic approach and design the paintings as I go. This helps the end product retain a freshness and feeling of spontaneity.
I always have an image and mood in my mind’s eye that I’m trying to put down and I find that working this way allows me to be flexible and go with any happy accidents that more than likely will occur. It’s these little surprises that I can adopt and learn from and take into my next painting.
I enjoy the journey that this direct and unstructured approach take me on an find that it enables me to either get close to achieving what I had in mind and heart or on occasion, arrive somewhere unexpected but just as rewarding.