"A self-taught artist from Dorset, UK, my passion for art began at a young age but soon a career and family took up all my time. Now I can follow my dream and in 2018 dusted off my pastels, developed a love for painting wildlife and seeing others enjoy my art. I strive to achieve high levels of realism. Pastels are the 'go to' medium at the moment but I hope to master a paint brush too soon."
What themes does your current work involve?Currently I am enjoying painting wildlife but I honestly enjoy any subject that I find a challenge and am happy with whatever theme and subject I choose. I especially like painting eyes, they are the window to the soul and give so much expression and meaning to a subject. I also love to paint metal objects and I love to include water droplets in some of my work. I enjoy painting people and I am more recently becoming inspired by movement within a theme such as dancing or natural actions such as wildlife chase.
Describe your creative process.I have to be inspired by the subject I am painting but that inspiration can be from a whole variety of things. Sometimes it's the sheer beauty of something - other times it's what is being depicted such as sadness, happiness, love. I then plan the composition and setting such as background, details, colours etc. I map out the composition and block in the basic colours [my least favourite part] and then once I'm happy with the 'map' that has been created, I work systematically from top left down to bottom right. This ensures that work is not smudged or damaged in the process. I use glassine paper to protect my work in progress and then finally, once I'm happy with the finished piece and only then, I sign my work generally in the bottom right corner. I never use a fixative.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?Right now my work is influenced and inspired by the natural world and by being able to raise the profiles of some endangered species through my art. I am inspired by some of the amazing photography that is shared and to be able to paint animals in their natural habitat many of which I could only otherwise see in captivity. I am inspired to improve, to challenge myself and I love nothing more than proving to myself that I can do and achieve something that perhaps once I didn't think was within me. I took up art again to find some work-life balance but it very quickly became something far more important to me than that. Now, I cannot imagine a life without art, the outlet it gives and the joy it brings is the best antidote to a hectic and demanding life.
What are your goals and plans as an artist in 2023?Who doesn't want their job to be something they absolutely love? I cannot think of anything I would love more than to become a professional artist. In the past 2 years I have been proud to receive a number of awards for my work. My goals and plans for 2023 are to achieve continued recognition and wider exposure of my work through exhibitions, competitions and social media. I want to keep pushing myself to get better - to learn more - to experiment more - to try more mediums and for art to be able to take a more prominent place in my life. I want to get better, I am constantly looking to improve - I want to make the very best use of my time to do all these things - just writing it here fills me with excitement and makes me smile!
How do recent advancements in technology affect your art practice? How may recent developments in Artificial Intelligence (image generator software) affect the definition of fine art?I genuinely believe that each medium has its own merit and is appreciated for what it is. Just like traditional and contemporary furniture, originals and replicas, they all have a place as long as they are an honest depiction of what they are.
What is the role of the artist today?I believe the artist has a duty to be true to themselves and the work they do. Art has to come from the heart. What you paint is inside you. As an artist I can sometimes struggle with confidence and self-belief; I am a work in progress of my very own!!! Yes we practice and yes we improve but the real talent is deep within us and is unique to each and every one of us. The role of an artist is first and foremost to paint what they love, not to try to paint what someone else loves; the second part comes from the first!
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
Oh so many things! To capture something within the art. To hear someone say 'WoW!' To bring out an emotion; to make someone smile or laugh or gasp or cry. For me, to watch someone get right up close to appreciate the work - or to stand right back and just stare. To make someone look twice or to make them feel like they have to have to have it! To be part of someone's home. We are all different and there is such an wonderful variety of art out there. For the artist its like being on the stage - having people appreciate what you do and bringing pleasure through your art is the best feeling ever.
This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist