Andrew Field, a teacher of art and design at the British School Al Khubairat, Abu Dhabi, urges his pupils to get out of the classroom to draw and paint. He speaks about why he practises what he preaches.
You are a painter. What do you specialise in?
Always landscapes, seascapes. This is my interest and what I love to try and capture. Not the city at all. It always has to be the outside environment. It always has to be the more remote areas of Abu Dhabi.
Why not cities?
I did a degree in art with geography. I have always been an outdoor person. Also, coming from Birmingham, I couldn't be any further from the sea. So what I am really doing, I suppose, is I am embracing and appreciating the fact that I am actually living in Abu Dhabi [city], an island. It's wonderful because I have an apartment that overlooks the sea.
How long does it take you to produce a painting?
I go out early in the morning usually and I'm out until about 11am or 12pm, and within that time I will produce about two paintings within three or four hours. It's fairly quick. I do work quite fast because my aim is to complete a painting in a sitting because the light changes so quickly and you only have an hour and a half before the light moves on. The natural environment is always changing so I have to react quickly.
You're a teacher, a painter and are married with three children. How do you fit it all in?
It is absolutely hectic. I get up really early in the morning, especially on weekends, and go out and paint for three or four hours and then come back and dedicate the rest of the day to my family. Then, when the children are in bed, then I do administrative things, so updating my website, sending emails, having meetings with people in and around Abu Dhabi to try and arrange future exhibitions, so it's really, really hectic, and then, of course, the daily routine with working at school. In the afternoon, I spend time with my family, or if my wife is looking after the children I go out and paint for a couple of hours after school.
You sell your work as well. Have you ever considered becoming an artist full-time?
That's the dream. But with a family, three children and a wife to support, it's really important that I have a regular income because art is one of the luxury items. My art is selling very, very well, and the name is getting around Abu Dhabi and people are becoming much more familiar with my work. In 15 years' time when my children have grown up and when the responsibility isn't so great financially, I would love to, definitely. But at the moment, teaching is first and foremost my priority. My practice as an artist relates to my profession in art education.