Question: Can you tell us about yourself/your artistic background and education?
Artist: Painting and drawing have been my absolute greatest passion since very early childhood. From a young age it was clear I had a natural talent to draw and endless enthusiasm to be creative. I excelled in Art throughout my education and in 2002 I graduated from Huddersfield university with A Fine Art Degree with honours. During this period my painting was heavily dominated by large scale floral oil paintings a theme which dominated my work for several years afterwards. However, between 2005 and 2018 my working life as an artist was put on hold and became more of a personal indulgence while I pursued a successful career as a professional photographer. Whilst photography was a creative process I very much enjoyed and was thankful to be able to earn a good living from especially whist raising my two children, it didn’t have the same satisfaction as painting and so in 2017 my lifelong aspiration to be a professional Artist became my goal! I slowly phased out the photography work and increased my painting time, I began entering open exhibition shows, art competitions applying to galleries and local art fairs. In 2019 I closed my photography studio and reconfigured the space into my Art studio and gallery.
Question: Can you take us through the process that you go through to complete your masterpieces?
Artist: I am somewhat of a creative magpie, to which I mean I don’t stick to one single medium, I like to use oils, acrylic and watercolour paints, as well as block printing, inks, collage and pastel. The surface choice is just as important, I like to use canvas, paper and wood panel. Each has its own special quality which I choose to suit the subject, I also still see art as an experimental process that naturally develops and changes depending on timescale and the mood of the image. My work is always instigated by the subject matter and the vision I foresee, I choose my medium and surface accordingly. The one thing which connects all of my work is my vivid use of colour, colours are what inspire and excite me the most.
Currently my work is dominated by the natural world and local nature and landscapes surrounding my home studio in south Yorkshire, mostly expressed through acrylic on canvas.
I begin with either a photograph I have taken on a walk or a reference sketch from my sketchbook. Once I have my initial composition planned out I prepare my canvas if using acrylic paints I start by painting a bold red ground onto the surface, then using violet I create my base and structure of the darker areas which is then worked into with several overlapping layers of primary then secondary colour to create a vibrant image.
Question: What is it about Landscapes that draws you to paint them?
Artist: In my youth I used to be of the mindset that landscape paintings were somehow old fashioned or perhaps not as exciting as other subjects. Thankfully my opinion has now changed as I have matured and now see our world with new eyes. Perhaps it’s the looming threat of climate change or the ever expanding developments around us with loss of natural habitats and declining wildlife. Being a mother I often tell my own children about my childhood and compare how different our local landscape now is and has changed in the past 30 years with new buildings and busier roads. some things are still somewhat the same so I suppose by connecting with a landscape and being inspired to create a painting is my nostalgic way of preserving it.
Question: What are your most important tools you use to create your masterpiece?
Artist: In my studio I always have my radio on and a mug of coffee (hot or cold) to hand they are my foundations! I have an array of faithful equipment which are more like old friends, like my field easel I received for Christmas in 1988, my favourite little plastic water pot and most Importantly my treasured old red apron now utterly crusted with paint!
Question: Do you have any art influencers? If so what are they?
Artist: I can’t say as I have one single individual who has ever influenced me artistically more than another but rather the accumulative achievements, drive and determination of the many women artists historically. when I was about 16 and I began to research into the role and representation of women as artists through history and the challenges they had faced or even overcome, it instilled in me to not be told I couldn’t be an artist, if you dream it you can do it, you just have to not give up and go make it happen!
Artist: The most honest answer I could give to this question has to be that a good day is one when a painting sells! To know someone values my work enough to not just be complementary about liking it but to part with their money and invest in my work gives immense satisfaction that not only what I create is appreciated it is also purposeful.
Question: Do you showcase or exhibit any of your work? If so, where can we find your work?
Artist: Pre Covid pandemic my exhibition schedule was much busier, regularly exhibiting artworks in municipal and commercial gallery exhibitions. This moved to a more virtual platform over the past 18 months, however as galleries and life in general are beginning to move away from the virtual world and resume to some level or “normal” I’m optimistic about returning to physical exhibitions and even hosting my annual Open Studio event. I have a 3-week Solo show planned for 2022 at The Raven Gallery in Mexborough, a solo show in 2023 at the D31 Gallery in Doncaster. A wide collection of my paintings are also available on my website www.photos-art.co.uk and of course through the usual social media channels of twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Artist: Currently my most short-term plan is finishing my latest body of work to launch as a new collection, hopefully before this year is out! I’m also just putting the finishing touches into planning some new workshop tutoring sessions at my studio, its still in the early phases of scheduling but hopefully will soon be listed on my website.
I currently see my career as an artist developing more internationally, I have very recently been approached by a New York gallery with interest in representing me which is really exciting!
For now ill keep on painting away in my studio, as long as the coffee is flowing, the radio is on and my kids stay in school with no more Lockdowns !