Paul Cash Interview

Local Secrets Online Magazine
Fiona Scoble
1 Jul 2009

After several years being distracted by the things life had to throw at him, Paul Cash has returned to his love of painting. Working by day as a Porter at Selwyn College, his first oil paintings were of the beautiful architecture and gardens he was surrounded by. The college was so impressed with his work that they bought some.

Continuing to work in oils, his landscapes have progressed towards a more impressionistic approach with foggy horizons and skies reminiscent of the soft mauve light in Camille Pissarro's snow scenes. His portraits are a mixture of college characters that have caught his eye, and studies of loved ones. Both demonstrate fine draftsmanship and an eye for the personality in a face.

How important is your working space to you? Could you work anywhere? Or if your studio was messy?
I can work anywhere as long as I can be uninterrupted. I'm a porter at Selwyn College and if I'm on a night shift then I paint. It helps to keep me awake!

What things must you have with you in order to work?
Good music! I've got a selection of CDs - Bowie, Cowboy Junkies, Led Zeppelin...

Did you always want to be a painter? What do you think made you become one?
When I was a child it was my dream to be a painter. I lost that dream for about 30 years because life caught up with me, but it's back now. I was a carpenter for a number of years after I had to convert a building; I really enjoyed putting the floor in and thought - "oh I like this! I'll carry on." - so I taught myself carpentry.

Has a particular artist inspired you?
Number 1 would be Turner. I would also say Monet, but everyone else says him! Then Velazquez, because he painted the best nude in history, and for portraits you've got to go a long way to beat Sargent. Also I have my friends that paint and they all inspire me.

What's the most difficult thing you've ever had to make?
A portrait. A face; any face. Noses are horrible! If it's a big bulbous nose then it's fine, but a normal nose on a young face is really tricky.

Do you think living in Cambridge influences your work?
Living in Cambridge is brilliant because of the Fitz and Kettles Yard; having them on your doorstep and being able to just walk to a Picasso or a Matisse or a Modigliani. Also I've taken much inspiration from Selwyn College and the people in it.