Hello and welcome to the bloghop I'm taking part in! I've just returned from a virtually internet free holiday in France.. it was blissful in that way - although I did miss Instagram and just managed to access my stepfather's wifi on the last day for an hour or so :)
Just before I left for my holiday I was asked if I'd like to take part in a bloghop of artists or makers by painter Claire Leggett. You can read her own post here. I didn't want to pass this up and luckily I found two friends who have agreed to take part: Tracey English and Este Macleod do visit their blogs and find out about their work process; both of them will post for the blog hop on Monday 18th August.
Now for the tricky bit...
1. What am I working on?
I've had a little break from working on a specific thing - rather I aimed to sketch if I felt drawn to do so while on holiday. That way I hoped I wouldn't feel that constant pressure of "I should be doing that.." that all artists probably feel. As it turned out I painted two watercolours, one as a gift for my friends' whose house we stayed in for the first half of our holiday and the other just because I felt like it. Here are some pages of my sketch book. As you'll see I used biro, coloured pencil, ink (above) and watercolour. Now that I am home I need to work on the GTS (Global Talent Search) run by Lilla Rogers, I managed to read the brief while away so my brain started to work on that and I did some scribbles and I really mean scribbles!
The image at the top is a card I made yesterday from the collage I made for the last MATS Bootcamp it will be for sale in one of my shops as soon as I've finalised the envelopes and where I will sell it. I'm going to do a few more food and drink related illustrations to go with it.
2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?
That is so difficult for me to answer. I am a painter primarily although I really enjoy layering painted and drawn work in Photoshop too, sometimes I even use Illustrator - although only minimally. I am very much driven by colour, beauty and emotion. Lately I've enjoyed incorporating hand drawn or painted text in my work. I would say that I've always been adaptable and multi skilled; my background after art college was as an 'in house' greeting card and stationery artist so we were often required to paint and draw in many different styles. I then went on to being a children's book and greeting card artist as a freelancer.
My work is usually softly painted. I love to use layers of colour and - if painting a still life - capture the way light falls and how an object's colour is affected. Increasingly I am more drawn to shape and abstraction but I also like to draw and paint cute images for my Moobaacluck range. I'm very versatile! That's the word :) As for differing from others, I just paint and make what I like and steer clear of being too influenced by other artists work. If I see I style I love, I will admire it but there's just no point in trying to emulate it (unless you're beginning in your art journey and simply want to work out how it was done and then add your own stamp).
3. Why do I create what I do?
I love to produce physical manifestations of things - making something - from a loaf of bread to a painting is so satisfying. Obviously there are disappointments but these are counterbalanced by the successes. It's great to make a piece of art that someone connects with; you hope someone will understand you a bit more too or be uplifted by what you've seen and have managed to show. I can't go for too long without making something. In the last few years I've had to constantly make wooden decorations and print my cards for my little business Moobaacluck - which doesn't always leave enough time for the new exploratory painting. Something I am addressing this year.
When a painting goes well time slides - it feels joyful and exciting simultaneously. A gift.
4. How does my creative process work?
Each piece is an adventure.. I have a hazy idea of what I want to make - particularly if it's not from life, in which case it's not as easy as simply painting what's in front of me. In the latter case the tricky bit is composition - what to leave out perhaps - the fact that light changes, so you haven't got as long to complete something. Of course you can take photos and go back to it. I've done that too. I rarely draw a before painting as I love to look and paint straight onto the canvas or paper. For illustration commissions it's usually essential to make a clear sketch first then paint the final image separately. Once I've done a detailed drawing then I feel like I've done it already..so that's not so much fun for me, but that's something I need to work on. I love to do one or the other. Ideally I'd do a very small scribbly sketch and see what develops when I paint. I like the mystery and discovery. One of my favourite paintings was purely done as a memory of a glimpsed scene; it struck me so much that I sat down to do it and an hour later had a painting I loved.
Once, about 5 years ago, I started painting the silver birches at the end of our garden and because it was a huge painting I had to take pictures to work on it in my studio. Thank goodness I did because half way through the painting my neighbour had them cut down! I ran to stop him but they were diseased and had to go.
I hope you enjoyed reading this - and if you read this far - thank you!