"The ROI to me represents a shared passion for painting and real friendships. I hope that artists wishing to join the ROI will feel that too"

Lucy McKie ROI on visiting Mall Galleries as a teenager, the colours on her palette and what she wishes she'd known at the start of her career 

Lucy McKie ROI Irises in Bulb Vase £2,150

Born into an artistic family, Lucy decided early in life to be a painter. She was elected a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 2011 and serves as a council member for the society.  Lucy's work focuses on intricate detail and capturing beauty, natural light and form. She aims to reflect a serene and uplifting feeling within her compositions, and really capture a moment in time.

You and the ROI

What does the Royal Institute of Oil Painters mean to you?

I first visited the Mall Galleries as a teenager and always really hoped to exhibit a painting with the ROI one day - I didn’t expect to become a member. The ROI to me represents a shared passion for painting and real friendships. I hope that artists wishing to join the ROI will feel that too.


Why should artists want to exhibit with the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

I feel that the ROI is a very positive, friendly society that wants to see a range of art from all kinds of painters. All the members have a real enthusiasm for the medium and are very passionate about encouraging other artists.


Why should people want to buy art from the Royal Institute of Oil Painters?

If you love oil paintings, the ROI has a broad and eclectic range of styles and subjects to choose from. You can see a very wide and varied choice of art in one show.

June Mendoza AO OBE RP ROI HON SWA David Morgan Hewitt

Past or present, what artist from the ROI do you most admire?

June Mendoza is someone who I have admired for as long as I can remember. I love her work, her wonderful quality and amazing skill. Her portraiture always captures sitters perfectly.


What is your favourite work in this year’s exhibition?

My favourite painting in the show this year is “Late Snow, The Farm” by Michael John Ashcroft AROI. It’s very subtle, thoughtful and atmospheric. The colours are beautiful.

Michael John Ashcroft AROI Late Snow, The Farm, £1,650

Your Materials

What paints make up your palette?

I use the Winsor and Newton Artists Range. The colours that I use most frequently are Titanium White, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, French Ultramarine, Payne’s Gray, Yellow Ochre, Winsor Yellow, Winsor Violet, Winsor Orange, Cadmium Red and Sap Green.


What framer do you use and do you always use the same framer?

I use a local framer that is based near me, and I nearly always have frames that are white or off white, as they seem to distract less from the painting.


What is your favourite art supplies store?

I love the bespoke canvasses made by Jackson's Art. They are beautifully made. I tend to get a lot of my art supplies from Jackson’s Art.

You, Your Work and Your Studio

What gallery did you first sell work at?

For many years I used to mainly do portraiture commissions so I think it was actually quite a long time until I starting selling work in a gallery.


Where do you produce your best work?

I do all of my work in the studio. I like to build the paintings up steadily and spend a lot of time on detail, so it’s the best place to quietly work on the paintings gradually.

Lucy McKie ROI Still Life with Late Summer Light

Do you have any rituals or routines when preparing and starting a painting?

I always spend a lot of time sketching the initial composition, and changing things around until I’m happy enough to start in paint. I’ve noticed that if I think the painting will be quite a challenge, I’ll find myself avoiding starting the actual painting and distracting myself with all kinds of other things I think need doing!


Where is your studio and what’s it like?

My studio is very small and if I’m honest, not very tidy. It is filled with canvasses and all sorts of bits and bobs I’ve collected over the years. Certainly not one of the lovely spacious studios that I see other artists painting in!


What advice would you give a young artist starting out or wanting to join the ROI?

Go to the annual exhibition and have a really good honest look at the show. Then do what you do as well as you can and keep on submitting. We’ve all faced many rejections and it is hard, but it’s also part of the process.

What is important is that you continue to paint and keep your own uniqueness, because ultimately that is what will stand out. It is essential to love what you do.

Keep painting and if you can, talk to the members and realise that everyone shares the love of painting and understands the challenges - the ROI is a very friendly group.


What do you know now that you wish you’d known at the start of your career?

That virtually everyone has times of self-doubt and impostor syndrome even if they pretend they don’t! I thought I was the only one until I started to get to know so many artists and realised it can happen to us all.

Perhaps we do need it to an extent to assess our work truthfully, but you also need to love the process and have faith in what you are doing.


Discover the Royal Institute of Oil Painters Annual Exhibition 2020

'Reflections from the Artist' is an ongoing series of advice from and insight into the practice of artists who exhibit at Mall Galleries. 

Discover the full series here.

Next Up... John Walsom ROI ARSMA

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