Firstly, could you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m 27, I live in Oxfordshire and I have been working as a contemporary artist for just over a year. I have a degree in psychology from Oxford Brookes University and a Master’s degree in psychological therapies from Queen Mary’s University. Both of these have influenced my art and the direction I have taken it in. In my spare time I enjoy pilates, which I practise 3 times a week. I love travelling to see different places, but 2020 has obviously restricted this!
Could you explain a little more about how you first got into art, and painting specifically?
For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed painting and drawing, but I started painting frequently after getting a watercolour set when I was 8 years old. When I started GCSE and A level art I moved onto acrylics and found that I preferred the higher pigments and the increased amount of control when moving the paint around compared to watercolours. After my A levels I painted in my spare time on and off but mainly stuck to realism. After I finished my Master’s degree I became more interested in abstract art which links back to some of the styles I was interested in at school.
What inspires your work? Is there a particular subject which you prefer to paint?
I prefer to paint cityscapes, landscapes and seascapes. I love visiting new places because I get a lot of inspiration from the sounds, movements and colour from the scenes around me.
I like to try and reproduce different textures, whether this is sand and rocks on a beach or peeling paint on an old fence. I am inspired by restful colours and I try to establish a sense of well being in the viewer by using certain tones and scenes. I enjoy walking in the countryside near my home in Oxfordshire and I find the colours inspirational, the autumnal colours this year have been particularly vibrant.
Can you describe your process of going from initial idea to finished artwork?
I view my surroundings as constant inspiration – whatever I am doing I am looking at the colours, textures and scenes around me. I often have a list of paintings in my mind that I am wanting to do. I occasionally work from a photo – particularly if it’s a commission, but I often just paint free from the picture I’ve created in my mind. I add colour and texture gradually, building up layers of acrylics whilst aiming to create depth and a clear focal point.
How have your studies in Psychology affected your paintings?
I aim to create a sense of well being in the viewer when they look at my paintings. I am interested in how paintings can make someone feel and the emotions it may evoke. I feel this particularly relates to the colour combinations which has led me to focus more on the psychology of colour.
How important do you feel nature and the outdoors is to our mental health?
Speaking for myself I find that it is very good for my mental health, particularly at the moment, as working from home can make it difficult to have a clear divide of when you are and aren’t working. I love leaving my phone at home and going for a walk with my husband and even though it’s such a simple thing to do, I find that it has a really positive impact on my mental health. It is quite hard to be mindful in this day and age when you’re surrounded by technology and I find that getting outside and being in nature can be really calming and peaceful.
I have tried to create this sense of restful well being that the outdoors and nature gives me through my paintings, especially my Cotswold landscapes. Because the weather has an impact on the colours, mood and light of the outside environment, this creates another dimension to my inspiration. It creates a different experience both at first hand and for the viewer of the resulting painting.
Where can people find out more about your work, or view some in person?
When not in lockdown my paintings can be viewed in person at Park Gallery in Cheltenham (3 Montpellier Avenue, Cheltenham, GL50 1SA). They can currently be seen online at www.parkgallery.co.uk. When not in lockdown my paintings can also viewed at The SOTA Gallery (11 Langdale Ct, Witney, OX28 6FG) and they can currently be seen online at www.sotagallery.co.uk. My art is also listed online at Wychwood art gallery (www.wychwoodart.co.uk) and online at Oakham Contemporary (www.oakhamcontemporary.co.uk)