Recently I had a lovely interview with Kickstart & Inspire about life as a practicing Artist. I would like to share it with you.. #myworld
What age did you fall in love with art?
I don’t remember an age when I wasn’t drawing or painting or sketching. I suppose I have always had the bug!
I do have a memory from school when I was about the age of nine and we had to paint Queen Elizabeth II and the teacher, absolutely loved my picture and asked if she could take it home. As I grew older, for me, the landscape became my main influence and inspiration for painting. From going on drives with my mum, I would be mesmerised watching the landscape through the window come rushing past. I had the urge to capture that feeling and transform it into a painting.
Where did you study and what was the most enjoyable part of your course?
So far, I’ve studied to degree level, but I definitely want to complete an MA in the future.
I studied at Norwich School of Art in Norfolk, graduating in 2010. I really enjoyed the freedom to experiment and define a direction in my practice. We often had practicing artists coming to discuss their work and I always found it interesting to see the methods and processes of other painters. It was inspiring to have artists tell us about their working day and the upcoming projects they had. It gave me the assurance that I could be a full-time artist once I had finished studying.
Did you find that there was enough information about art in school and how it could be a career choice?
I think I was one of the lucky ones who had my potential noticed and was supported by certain teachers to pursue an arts practice but generally I don’t think Arts careers were highly promoted at all. Before pursuing my art education, I also studied English Language and History at A level so that I had something to fall back on if a career in the Arts was not possible. Whilst I was studying for my fine art degree we were encouraged to visit the careers advisor where we would be advised about certain volunteering opportunities which might help pursue a career after studying. My peers have gone in all different directions from teaching to gallery management. There are opportunities out there for a career in the creative arts, they do need to be championed more!
Who’s your favourite artist?
I don’t think I would pick one artist as a favourite. I like the mood and colour of Cézanne and have learnt a great deal from studying his techniques for painting landscapes. Turner is another one in the interesting way he captured light, movement and feeling within the canvas. But for me I have never wanted to emulate the greats, only use the inspiration to guide my own explorations of painting techniques.
I am also an avid exhibition visitor taking in shows locally and nationally and feel I gain most from these when there is also an opportunity to talk to the artists, learn and share experiences.
What do you feel when you are creating a painting?
Honestly it is a battle. Sometimes it is a serine, reflective moment and other times it is dealing with conflicting head and gut. Though mostly I give the gut instinct a chance. You feel your way through the painting bringing out the essence of a place or evoking a mood for the viewer. I don’t think you can really explain it, I guess the closest thing is that it’s like a good chef cooking without a recipe; it’s exciting, the unknown. That’s incredibly powerful and addictive for me—something that really keeps me painting.
How long does an average painting take to paint?
Depending on being in the right frame of mind it can take months, days or hours. Generally, I’ll be painting a series of works at the same time, so it can be hard to keep track of how many hours have gone into each painting.
I use many different techniques to produce a painting and this can also determine the time scale it takes to complete. I use oils and I prefer to make my own oil paint by using dry pigment and cold-pressed linseed oil. By using a glass muller and palette knife to combine these ingredients together I can control the quality of the colour produced.
Once I have created the oil paint I will generally use the selected colours to produce a series of paintings, dipping in and out of each one as each layer of oil paint dries. Alongside oils, I regularly use charcoal to set compositions and to highlight details in the paintings. I have a work in progress that I started a year ago, but it is still developing!
Is there a target market for your art?
Most of my buyers are specifically looking to invest in original works and this is a growing trend. I receive a lot of compliments from those in my home county, but I am targeting anyone with an appreciation for the beauty that can be found in the British landscape.
I also try to make work with varied price points to ensure that everyone is able to own original art. It is just as important to me that somebody loves it aside from how much money it has cost.
What’s your most challenging experience as an artist and how did you overcome?
I recall in 2013 there was a summer where I had persistent ‘artist’s block’. I just couldn’t paint anything that I felt had serious value. The only way around it was to paint everything and anything to just keep painting through it.
Being a painter, people assume you can just pick up a paint brush and paint a great picture at a moment’s notice. It doesn’t quite work like that just in the way that one morning I might feel like I am able to create five paintings but then not feel inspiration for another month.
When do I paint best? I need to feel inspired, excited and ready. Ideally not under extreme stress but not too relaxed. It works best for me to be under the right amount of pressure and have the right focus. I have an idea of what I would like to paint but I need to be relaxed enough that if it goes a different direction I let it develop, I don’t fight it.
What’s the message in your art?
Landscape is a constant, although seasons change, and colours transform it is an expectation that these elements of mother nature will always be present and the belief in this gives us a sense of safety and comfort in the familiar. When we are out in the landscape and there is nothing for miles except an ever-changing sky and endless horizon it gives us the realisation that we are only a small part of the puzzle.
It is that innate beauty that is made so naturally by the environment that I am recording. The idea that a stormy sky can produce a variety of, not only colours, but texture, dimension and energy. Every cloud is unique in its formation. To be able to capture a fleeting moment of nature in an uninhabited view. My paintings are devoid of human figures and construction which allows the viewer to take a solitary stance and immerse themselves into the landscape, to be able to appreciate nature in its rawest form.
Finish this sentence. Art Inspires me because…
The possibilities are limitless.