1) Tell us about yourself (background, location, age, fun facts, hobbies)
Born in Wales, I am 25 years old, I have three siblings, and I am currently living and working in Stratford Upon Avon with my partner Matthew. I have loved art all of my life, and vividly remember being no more than five years old staring at a painting on a wall, utterly transfixed. From that moment on I knew that all I really wanted was to learn how to draw and paint, and I am still learning every single day!
I have a degree in Psychology, and as a self taught artist I have experienced a lot of trial and error in refining my artistic skills and abilities, particularly with my painting.
I dabble in Yoga, I am obsessed with dogs, and I own far too many turquoise things and silver rings!
2) How does the use of colour covey meaning in your paintings?
I am very much motivated to paint images that convey a sense of happiness and energy. Colour plays a huge part in conveying this meaning. It may sound obvious, but bright and vivid colours can really cheer up a visual space and add a touch of energy.
3) What inspires your artwork & the vibrant colour palette?
I am inspired by light, skies, reflections, and placing real emphasis on things which are unassumingly beautiful. I never made the conscious decision that I wanted my work to be colourful. In fact, before I discovered that I loved painting two years ago, I worked almost exclusively in black and white with charcoal and graphite. As soon as I started painting I felt like I had been released from holiding back something and I was spoilt for choice from the array of colours that were available to me. I just wanted to explore, and use as many as possible! I suppose the vibrant colour palette was simply inspired by my curiosity and fascination with colour and it just spiraled from there. Previous to that I was too reserved with my art to just ‘go for it’. Now colour is how I express myself.
4) How do you choose your subjects?
On a very basic level, I simply paint what I perceive to be beautiful. I am fascinated by the sky, love the countryside and adore animals and their unique little characters. But what is more important is that I need to feel some kind of emotional connection to my chosen subject. I need that ‘aha’ moment when I choose a subject to paint and I can be very picky about which reference image is the ‘chosen one’. I am lucky enough to live in a very scenic part of the world, and I like to go on long walks for inspiration with my camera. I often take hundreds of reference photos until I take a photo that I feel will allow me to best create an image of how a moment made me feel. On just one painting I can use anywhere up to fifteen reference photos. I have also always thought that it is the most simple things in life that can be the most unassumingly beautiful. From things such as the dappled light through trees, rain drops in a river, or reflections in a puddle. When painting, I strive to capture the little moments that dance to my attention and make me feel peaceful with the hope that this feeling transcends to those who view my art.
5) What have been some of the most beautiful scenes that you’ve seen?
As someone who was born in a small seaside village in Wales, I grew up surrounded by dramatic coast lines and stunning green fields. My bedroom window overlooked the sea and I would often sit and stare at the blazing sunsets and ever changing skies, and I don’t think this fixation has ever left me. When faced with a vivid and beautiful sunset sky, I often think that I have seen the most beautiful scene I have ever seen…that is until I see another one! To me the sky is like a wonderful painting that the artist is continually working on, forever changing and dancing in different levels of light, colour and shade.
One particular scene does stand out in my mind as the most beautiful scene I have ever witnessed. In 2011 I climbed a volcano in Bali to see the sunrise at the top. I was tired, cold and struggling to see in the dim light as I climbed with friends to the summit of the volcano just before dawn. When we finally reached the top I was not prepared for just how beautiful it would be! The deep purple lake at the foot of the volcano shimmered with a silvery sort of haze that became more and more vibrant and sparkling as the sun began to rise. The saturated blue mountains in the distance glowed pink and orange as the sun reached them, and the luminous clouds seemed to dance across the sky. To me it was like heaven, and the memory of the event continues to inspire my art work.
6) Why do you paint?
My art teacher at school once said to my mother at a parent’s evening that if I were to follow a life without art I would be a ‘square peg in a round hole’. I think this perfectly sums up why I paint. I paint because it simply makes sense for me. I paint because I love it and I paint because I feel an innate desire to do so. I cannot really explain the feeling of contentment, peace and completion that I experience when I am painting. It is like a form of meditation for me, where the chatter and noise in the back of my mind switches off, and there is just the transfixing process of watching the brush sweep colours across the canvas.
7) What is the most difficult thing about creating for you?
It is very difficult to love something so much, but not be able to do it all day everyday. Art is always on my mind. I think about it from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep. I am still in the infancy of my art career, and am not yet able to paint full time. I paint as furiously as I can around a full time day job and whilst I am incredibly motivated to chase my dream wherever it may take me it requires a lot of drive. Creating the art is my primary focus, but I still have to find the time to market, promote, research, and refine my technique. Sometimes I wish I had a magical watch that would stop time so I could fit all of these tasks into the day! But I know no matter how difficult it may seem, this is something I will never stop working towards.
8) What about the most rewarding?
I think the world is comprised of such stunning and endearing things that I want to interpret, communicate and celebrate with others in my own personal way. I am not concerned with producing ‘perfect’ works of art that are true to life, because I think each person’s perspective or representation of the real world is entirely different. The joy of art for me is to capture my perspective and share it with those who view my work. The most rewarding element to this is when I have successfully conveyed the emotion and energy that I wanted the viewer to perceive when I began painting the piece. Simply receiving feedback from people who say that my work makes them feel ‘happy’ is immensely gratifying, and one of the many reasons why I love painting.
9) Can you walk us through your process (do you paint from photos, or imagination, how does your work take form)
My process starts with a flicker of an idea for a painting. Whether this idea comes from a commissioning customer, or a painting for an exhibition, this is where it begins for me. I generally like to mull this idea over for a day or two, letting it come together in my head ‘naturally’ before I start putting paint to canvas. I use reference photos, but definitely add a considerable amount of artistic license to them- I see them more as loose guides than rigid rules to follow. I am not much of a ‘planner’ (unless I am working on a more complex piece) and prefer to get stuck into my paintings and just enjoy the process of discovery as I follow the path my painting takes guided by my thoughts and ideas. I work with a mixture of oil and acrylic paint and I generally start my paintings by choosing a colour for the under-painting, building from there using energetic brush strokes. I tend to work in stages, and typically each painting will undergo several transformations, building on layers and fine tuning details until I am satisfied with the outcome. It is often very difficult to know when a painting is complete, and I have read (and agree with) that as long as the artist still owns the painting, it is never truly finished. My physical process ends once I stop painting, and have signed and varnished it…..but this doesn’t necessarily mean I will stop making alterations in my head!
10) What are people’s reactions when they see your artwork?
I receive a lot of positive comments about the colours that I use, and words like ‘happy’, ‘vibrant’ and ‘beautiful’ are often used to describe my work. Whilst the reactions I receive are very complimentary, art is incredibly subjective and I am sure that my work is not to everyone’s taste. Although perhaps the people who do not like my work are just too polite to share their reactions with me!
11) How was your work evolved over time?
My work began as an experiment after I stopped using pencils as my medium of choice and switched to oil and acrylic paints. It became bolder, brighter and more vibrant as a result of this transition, and continues to subtly evolve all the time as I learn new techniques to improve and stamp my ‘voice’ on my work. Motivation is key when evolving my process. I remain motivated to improve my work everyday, and stay inspired by other artists and learn from them too. I am sure that my work will continue to evolve over time as I grow as an artist, and this is something that I cannot wait to embrace.
12)Any parting thoughts?
Thank you for taking the time to read about my art and inspirations! It is a blessing to chase this dream and I hope there is a long and exciting road to keep exploring. Bring it on!