Background – Although Charnwood born and bred, I’ve been a camp follower to my husband’s career moves for the past 30 or 40 years, living in Kenya and Indonesia, before going on to Dubai for the last couple of years.
Inspiration – It was in Dubai that I had my Eureka moment. I had been messing about with all things arty for all my life, and had struggled to find a style with painting in oils and/or watercolours. I was using the Dubai International Arts Centre for making my ceramics and 3D pieces when I noticed a class which was to run on Acrylic. It came at a time in my life when I was losing interest in classic art styles and I was much more stimulated by 20th century stuff, especially Gerhard Richter and Ben Nicholson, so I was no longer really attempting to do anything other than abstract. Oh, the joy of a big canvas and messing about with acrylics.
Eureka! – Acrylic opened me up to a completely new style as I found it suited me best to work layer upon layer with lots of short pauses in between to allow for quick drying.
Method 1 “Empty Head” – My favourite place is my big kitchen and that is where I choose to paint. A painting begins with a large prepared canvas with a mid-grey coating with maybe a smudge of colour here and there. I try to empty my head of anything but the feeling of the space or emotion I want to portray. Working with a reduced, carefully chosen pallet, I then make the first mark, then the second. Then stand back and check that there is a good balance of that colour and if not add more or wipe some off. Then, when dry, choose the next colour and repeat. The picture builds up until it just seems finished. I then leave it a few hours before seeing it again and that is when I know what I need to add in the way of textures or point of interest where it seems to be needed.
Method 2 “Control” – On some days, I resort to inspirations from photographs of old doors, walls, boats etc. to work up a composition of geometric shapes using Richter style dragged paint layers. This is a really controlled way of working and very useful when I can’t empty my head for truly emotional work.
Where – My work has been in several galleries, both in Leicestershire and Norfolk, but galleries need to be regularly refreshed and that takes up painting time. I now find it suits me better to just use websites and exhibitions to display my work, as well as some loyal businesses that put them on their walls. Exhibitions are great fun, even if it is hard work putting the display up, but I am lucky enough to share the venues with friends which makes life much easier. I do sell some but probably not as many as I would if I persevered with the galleries – perhaps when my other life slows down a bit………..
Future – My plan for 2017, apart from this exhibition, and work for another at the Stamford Arts Centre in May, is to loosen up and do more “empty head” work again which might require a less busy life. Wish me luck.