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Counting Gordon Crosby and Terence Cuneo amongst your biggest influences is always going to stand you in good stead as motoring artist as long as you have the skill to carry it off… luckily Paul Dove has it in abundance.

Although Dove studied art at college in his late teens he confesses that much of his technique is self taught. Buoyed by the confidence that winning the prestigious 2001 International Motoring Art competition at only 19 gave Dove, he decided to dive headlong into a professional career of painting full time. “I’ve never had a real job” he quips as we talk over his love of motorsport and it’s history. 

“When I first started to get interested in Motor Sport history, Graham Hill soon became my favourite. He was perhaps the biggest character in an era when all drivers were big characters!

My Dad’s hero, Jim Clark, I think was ultimately the greatest, but Graham made up for any lack of natural ability with determination and a desire to win, meaning if Jim was leading, he was often the man leading the chase. He won a lot of races, in all types of cars and his comeback after his crash at Watkins Glen in 1969, for me, underlines his racing hero status.” When Dove is not painting, he is passionate about collecting items related to Graham Hill.

Working from his studio in the heart of beautiful Cornwall, Dove is inspired by old motor racing film footage, and vintage magazine articles to dream up ideas for his paintings. Each artwork starts with a rough pencil layout sketch before transferring the most important reference points onto the canvas. In addition to the vintage references Dove uses his own modern reference photography. This enables him to put the viewer in a position that would not usually be possible – directly in front of the Beast of Turin as it thunders across the beach towards you, for example. 

Initially Dove used oils for his work but now favours acrylics for the flexibility they provide when he wants to work up an image quickly, or make changes as the painting progresses. ‘As I immerse myself in the story of the painting I sometimes need to add details that I had not initially planned; other times I need to leave some out – paintings evolve’. 

Look at any Dove artwork and you will see an abundance of movement, atmosphere and a clever use of lighting. A skilful painting style that sees a strong light source appear from outside of the canvas margins in many of his renditions. Conveying a story and portraying a mood is important to Dove. “I like a strong contrast between light and dark, that’s often why I paint wet races at night”.

He has also created his own, unique style of capturing movement using repetitive brush marks on the canvas, a sort of painterly stop-frame animation.

Inspired by an old 1950’s AutoSport magazine from his reference library and taking him almost a month the complete, Dove’s most recent painting of Eugene Castellotti  – “King of the Mountains” not only shows his skilful use of light and portrayal of movement, it also clearly demonstrates his fine figurative work. Both of spectators and the driver, “any racing driver that you can see in my paintings must be a true likeness, his expression as much as his looks” says Dove.

Paul Dove’s work is comparable in many respects to Argentinian artist Alfredo de le Maria and with prices currently starting at just £1250 for an original painting (around 10% of the price of a de la Maria) this is an artist worth taking a good look at.

An original article written by Rupert Whyte for leading collectors magazine Automobilia Resource.