Artists at Home: John Martin, Allan Howard and Micheal Pritchard

Updated: Nov 26, 2020

The RBSA is committed to continue sharing work and engaging our community in the visual arts, even while our gallery is closed. The surge of creatives sharing their daily art practice online during social distancing has been uplifting to see. If you’d like to get involved and share your artwork or articles, please get in touch at

John Scott Martin PPRBSA RSMA – HMS TRENT commission

Last year, the RSMA commissioned a painting of a new ‘River Class’ ship to hang in the ship’s wardroom. The brief by the commanding officer was that the ship should shown in a West Highland location, as HMS Trent was built in Glasgow. John Scott Martin took the overall background from one of his photographs taken when sailing last June between Skye and the mainland.

HMS Trent (pencil sketch), John Scott Martin

Additionally a pair of red deer stags should be introduced into the composition. The ship has associations with the City of Nottingham, stags being a part of the coat of arms of the city. Coincidentally John was qualified with an NDD at the Nottingham College of Art, which is now a part of Trent University. This is the approved colour sketch, also the pencil drawing onto the canvas which includes the precise detail.

HMS Trent, John Scott Martin

The painting will be 70 x 50 cms. Various stages of the painting will be photographed and emailed to the captain for comment.

Allan Howard

Allan writes about his recent work:

I have several ways of working using different techniques and because I start in a somewhat random way the out come at the start is not predictable. Once a start has been made the painting seems to dictate itself in a way that is beyond explanation. Apart from being an enjoyable way of working ( mostly) I feel that it is also creatively challenging.

Nowadays, all my paintings are non- representational. I am not abstracting i.e. ‘taking from’ – I just start and let them evolve. So they don’t start from an external subject.

However, as I read as many science books as art books they sometimes look biological, or something reminiscent of something you might see under a microscope.

Allan Howard

Often they look vaguely astronomic, or the opposite, geological, but of course they aren’t any of these things. They are paintings – paint on canvas or paper. Oils or gouache. I like to think I am ‘making real’ rather than imitating real.

They start, in a semi random way, you have very little idea what the end result will be. You have to keenly watch what is happening under your brush as if you are an outside observer.

Allan Howard

Of course you are not an outside observer. You are in control. Sometimes when you are ‘in the flow’ it doesn’t feel as if you are. The thinking time between brush marks shrinks right down to split seconds – then it will stop dead. So you sit down and look. If it is a mess, you don’t give up, you make something from the mess, and hope the flow will start again.

You then take a ‘finished’ picture, hang it on a wall and trust that it will survive the trial of looking at it over a period of time. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they get destroyed or altered. Recently one was drastically altered after about three years.

I like to think they mean something but not something that could be put into words.

Allan Howard

Micheal Pritchard

Micheal Pritchard shares the brochure from a 1970 spring exhibition at the RBSA Gallery, in our previous New Street location. After exhibiting his screenprint, Drifting By, Micheal went on to exhibit in London and became a member of several art societies.

RBSA Gallery, 1970

Drifting By, Micheal Pritchard

Coming full circle, he also displayed work in the RBSA Open 2020.

See the full RBSA Open 2020 image gallery here:

Lippett.Mark.Union (RAF Tilstock)

RBSA Open 2020

Thank you to all artists for sharing their work. If you’d like to get involved please get in touch at

About Us

The Royal Birmingham Society of Artists (RBSA) is an artist-led charity which supports artists and promotes engagement with the visual arts through a range of exhibitions, events and workshops.

The RBSA runs an exhibition venue – the RBSA Gallery – in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter, a short walk from the city centre.

The gallery is currently closed due to Covid-19.

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