Danny Abrahams first picked up a paint brush at the age of 32 after his girlfriend, Danielle bought him some paints and an easel to try and help him find a new outlet for his creativity after he quit playing in his band. By the time he was 35, Danny had left his job and was painting full time. Now he’s one of Yorkshire’s finest landscape artists with his work being exhibited and sold all over the country.
“I didn’t have a clue what I was doing.” Danny smiles when I ask him about the start of his painting career, “I didn’t know the difference between acrylic or oil paint and I’d never been in a gallery. But I needed something creative to do. I worked around the country doing lighting and needed something creative to do in my free time. I’ve never been into art but I decided to give it a go. I could tell instantly I was pretty good. I painted every night. I’d get home from work, paint until two o’clock in the morning, go to work, get home, paint until two o’clock in the morning.”
“I’ve never been into art but I decided to give it a go”
His hard work evidently paid off but did Danny ever think he’d enjoy such success the first day he picked up a paint brush?
“I’ve got quite an addictive personality so if I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it right. I wouldn’t just have a go and then pack it in after a couple of weeks and that’s what a lot of these people who say they can’t paint do. They’ve never really tried.
“I bought books and videos but the more stuff you watch the more you realise everybody has their own way of doing stuff and if you’re sitting listening to people telling you how to do all you’re doing is copying. I decided to learn my own techniques and do it my own way.”
Through his continued devotion to developing his craft, Danny has developed a unique style that is instantly recognisable. One of the most defining features of his
paintings are his exquisite skies which Danny admits are one of his favourite things to paint:
“I DECIDED TO LEARN MY OWN TECHNIQUES AND DO IT MY OWN WAY”
“That’s what I started painting first. It’s the easiest thing to just be creative with because you just get your paint on there and push it about and see what shapes it creates in the sky. I can paint skies and trees forever as every tree and sky is different. I use a varied palette and never stick to the same colours.”
Danny is a proper Yorkshireman with a thick accent and a warm personality – and like all good Yorkshiremen is honest to the core.
“I’m not a talker, some artists will tell you everything but not me. People ask what inspires me. I enjoy getting up and painting – it inspires me not having to go to work every day and work for somebody. I’ve got to pinch myself!”
Danny describes being a painter as the best thing in the world but admits that it can be hard to motivate himself sometimes, but he’s discovered the secret to productivity
– a dog!
“IF I EVER TRY AND PAINT SOMETHING AND I DON’T FEEL LIKE PAINTING IT JUST DOESN’T TURN OUT RIGHT”
“It’s quite hard when it’s a cold morning and you haven’t got nowt to get up for!” Danny grins, “That’s why I’ve got myself a little dog, Seymour. He gets me up every morning and I’m painting a lot earlier now!
“It’s hard because you can’t just turn creativity on and off. If I ever try and paint something and I don’t feel like painting it just doesn’t turn out right. It just doesn’t happen.”
Thankfully, Danny’s creativity doesn’t leave him too often and he’s creating plenty of paintings. From the industrial to the popular love and family scenes he paints, his work is admired by thousands. I wondered if Danny thought art had to be powerful or have a meaning or whether it was perfectly alright to just look at a painting and enjoy it?
“Yes! It’s like music. You don’t have to know anything about music to enjoy it do you? Who am I to say that somebody listening to Boyzone is wrong? You’re not wrong or right. It doesn’t matter if it’s got a meaning. It’s about if it’s got a meaning to you. You don’t have to explain it to anybody.”
Danny is clearly passionate about his art and it being enjoyed by anybody. He is testament that it’s never too late to find your passion and succeed and so I wondered what his advice would be to someone else who might be a budding artist or looking for a career change.
“My advice to anyone giving painting a go is just stick with it. I always say to people; create a painting and don’t throw it away. Do another painting and hold it against your first painting and if it’s better, you’ve progressed. Then do a third painting and hold that against your second painting and if you keep doing that and your next painting is always better than the one before you quickly find that you do get good,
“Most people do one painting and throw it away and then never paint again. You have to stick with it. ‘Owt you do in life you have to stick at. We have a throwaway society nowadays. No-one wants to build anymore, people just want instant fame or money. They’ve no drive, they just want it. You have to stick at things.”
Well, Danny has certainly stuck at it and is reaping the rewards! If you’d like to find out more about Danny or view some of his incredible artwork head over to his website dannyabrahamsart.com.