Quilliam lives at Waikuku Beach just north of the city of Christchurch in New Zealand’s South Island. He retired in 2009 from his long term job teaching Graphics and Computing at a secondary school and now sees himself as a professional, if part time, time artist.
He has worked in pencil and pen and ink for more than twenty five years often focussing on works which include older or dilapidated structures. Over that time his works developed from relatively simple to highly detailed and then back to a more basic form which suggests detail.
His watercolour mantra is select, simplify and suggest. He starts his works by selecting a subject, often from sketches made on location, adding or subtracting features to create a pleasing composition. Next, time is spent on simplifying the work to suit the watercolour or watercolour and pen medium. A reasonably detailed pencil drawing is made, finally he paints the scene, again trying to suggest rather than define the detail.
Mostly he works wet on dry, building up layers of transparent pigment, adding glazes to develop the mood of the scene.
A love of travel has seen him practising his art in Australia, France, Ireland and the United Kingdom as well as his home country.
In 2003 and 2005 Quilliam attended Painting weeks with Sally and David McEwan in Lodeve near Montpellier in the south of France and many of his recent paintings have been influenced by David’s tuition and his time in this beautiful area.
A love of the warm sienna colours of the buildings of Mediterranean Europe along with the golden sunlight of the area has seen much of his recent work concentrated on trying to capture architectural detail and the way the light plays on it.
A limited amount of Quilliam’s work is available from the Culverden Gallery in the North Canterbury Township of the same name.