Kumar Saraff studied Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University, going onto study painting at the Royal Academy Schools. Here he won several awards and prizes, including the David Murray travel scholarship for landscape painting and a silver medal for excellence in painting. After graduation Kumar worked within the Art and Design department of a large west London further education college before relocating to Mid-Wales to paint full time in 2002. As well as painting, Kumar participates in art based community projects.
Kumar’s art has its origins in a European landscape painting tradition, using the colour and form of light effects on landscape to take the viewer on an exploration of paint on surface.
‘…Kumar really knows how to capture fleeting light and shadow and to make apparently drab scenes zing with pleasurable tension. It is a subtle form of theatre, endorsed by his own enjoyment of the colours and texture of oil and watercolour. Seeing his work for the first time it struck me that he has an Italianate way of composing landscape that has come down from Richard Wilson, the 18th century Welsh artist and the so-called ‘father of British landscape painting’ who was himself influenced by Poussin. If that sounds too fanciful, look at Kumar’s dramatic charcoal drawings of rain storms off the west Wales coast and then at an 1824 Constable sketch of a rainstorm near Brighton or a Turner painting showing a storm at sea. Constable and Turner admired Wilson very much and so the comparison doesn’t seem ridiculous at all.
Kumar’s work satisfies a need which many of us feel to believe that the British landscape is still as it was in Wilson’s, Turner’s and Constable’s days, (relatively) untainted by progress and supervised by (not always) benevolent landowners. We know that is an illusion. Nothing stands still and never will, but Kumar is so skilled at choosing subjects which avoid the ruder intrusions of modernity that his paintings allow us to forget the vanishing hedgerows without actually telling any lies.
Kumar’s landscapes and interiors are accessible enough to gladden the heart of traditionalists while striking a fresh note. To those who know them, it is startling to see such familiar places through different eyes.’ Caroline Juler, art critic, Wales correspondent for Galleries magazine