Painting the Blues

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Painting the Blues

Not all of us can pick up an instrument and perform a perfect blues song or grab a paintbrush and capture that moment forever. Luckily for Lincoln McAlister, while he can’t perform the song he can do sketch it out. We had a chat to Lincoln about his artistic ability and his love for the blues.
Hey Lincoln, Thanks for taking the time to chat with Forte magazine, can you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hello how’s it going? My name is Lincoln McAlister and I’m a painter living in Victoria, Australia.Originally from around Melbourne.
Great thanks Lincoln! You’re currently doing a ‘paint the blues series’ which mixes, art and music (our two favourite things), how did this idea come about?
Well I’ve loved the blues for a long time and drawn and painted for just as long. It was just a natural progression from painting life and everyday things to something I have a real interest for. I have little musical skills otherwise I would have maybe gone down that path. So I paint about it instead. Though I do want to learn to play the fiddle one day.
Are you a big blues fan, where did your love for blues develop?
Massive blues fan. I grew up near Melbourne in the Dandenong Ranges. When I was younger I worked on a lot of the farms and nurseries in the region, kicking the dirt off my boots. A lot of blues musicians lives and songs were about starting out in fields and breaking out with the talent of a guitar or singing. I just developed an affinity for the music, history and culture – it spoke to me. Blues can be about hard times but it’s about good times too. There’s always something to reach for.
Tell us about what inspires you.
All the blues paintings I do have an original image as a reference, because obviously in this case I can’t paint from life. Some I paint I’ve heard or listened to their music, or read about their life and wanted to record it in some way. Others are just a striking image as a base. The paintings aren’t exact, and that’s ok, who wants a photocopy?
Where does the magic happen? Do you have a studio?
I’ve never had a studio. The places I’ve had usually just have a spare room, or some had a useable shed. I used a shipping container once for a summer in Bega NSW, but that’s another story.
Do you take requests for artists to be painted or do you pick which artists you would like to feature?
I’m happy to take requests for particular artists. There are a lot of Australian artists I want to paint. As long as it’s interesting and has a story. I’ve had a completely different series in mind for some time now to do with early space exploration.
Tell us about your painting process, what techniques do you use?
I used to use an easel standing up but evolved to just using a drafting table flat at a slight angle. I paint flat, starting off with a sketch on the canvas in pencil just to get the details down. Then I bring out the feautures more with a darker pencil like a 3B, and then I start working with paint.
For all the Blues fans out there who might be interested, how do they go about enquiring with you?
They can contact Forte, or get the magazine. I have an ad in there with contact details or it’s online too. Or even through Bluethumb online gallery with the contact form, or in the phonebook.
What is your favourite piece you have designed?
A painting of Robert Johnson. He wasn’t a bluesman, more of a myth.
Do you only do Blues, what if someone wants something different?
I take commissions on any subject, depending what it is of course. But I can paint what i see.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thanks for talking to me Forte, and love the blues.