Wanstead resident Peter Luscombe and other members of the Essex Art Club will be exhibiting their work at the Barbican Library this month. Here, Peter explains how his training as an architect led to a lifelong hobby
I was articled to an architect for three years when I was 16, which was a sort of apprenticeship. This method of training has long since been superseded by full-time courses in colleges and universities.
Then, trainee architects were required to be able to draw and paint, and the work – known as testimonies of study – had to be submitted to and approved by the Royal Institute of Chartered Architects before one could sit their exams. So, along with evening classes in building construction, history of architecture, structural engineering and building design, we were given lessons in watercolour painting. In my case, our tutor was a very good local artist called Reg Hamlin. I’m very grateful to him, not only for a good grounding in watercolour technique but also for insisting that we painted out of doors as well as in the studio. This has stood me in good stead. We also had to learn how to set up perspectives to illustrate our designs, and this too has proved invaluable.
Throughout my career, I produced illustrations both for my own designs and for the various practices for which I worked. However, my interest in art has not been confined to work. It has been a hobby throughout my life. Not surprisingly, given my early training, my main medium has been watercolour, although I have recently branched out into acrylics. As to subjects, I paint most things, buildings and landscape naturally, but also still life, portraits and maritime subjects.
I’m a member of several art clubs and a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers. I was chairman of its Fine Art Society for several years and am still vice-chairman. Locally, I’m a member of the Essex Art Club, which I joined not long after moving to this area in 1990. Despite its name – which dates back to its founding some 118 years ago when the area was still in Essex – most of its members live in Redbridge and quite a number in Wanstead. We hold an exhibition annually over a weekend in October in Wanstead House. We also try to have an exhibition somewhere in Central London and this year, we are fortunate to have secured the lobby of the Barbican Library as our venue.