If you could choose 3 essential materials or items of equipment to create with, what would they be?
(Just 3 *gasps*)
Right now, I would say;
1/ Charcoal – I have a tendency to work super tight at times and when I want fluidity, to really get in the zone where you lose yourself to the art orchestra that takes over (especially when sketching), I always reach for the charcoal to keep things loose and flowing. I can then release the need for a specific outcome and allow the dance of hand-eye play to enter.
2/ Fine liners – This is in stark contrast to the charcoal and it’s where most of my lino designs begin to take shape. I hone in from the play of charcoal practice to a more structured drawing tool. Cross hatching, continuous line, bold formations, defining negative and positive spaces. Simplifying something down to the purity of lines to compose the image helps me to focus. Otherwise I can easily lose myself in romanticising and over analysing colour.
3/ My Pfeil carving tools. They just glide so effortlessly across the lino and are beautiful to work with.
(I haven’t even covered my love of paint & inks).
What is your earliest memory of being inspired to be creative? Or to draw, paint, create marks.
I’ve always drawn and sketched as long as I can remember. It’s what brings me joy, feels natural and when I’m the most zen and at ease in the world.
All throughout school I doodled on paper in every lesson. Many of my teachers would have marked my exercise books dotted with drawings around the edges, sometimes there was a pleasant comment or reference to them in the margin. I only felt ‘at home’ and properly focussed when I was in an art lesson.
I drew a portrait of my Great Grandmother when I was about 9 years old. I remember sitting down with a sandwich eating lunch and drawing from a photograph for about an hour straight. Everyone around me made a big fuss about how life-like it was, it also had sentimental value to a significant period of time in our family.
The real moment that ‘set me free’ to be a creative was undertaking some drawing classes after A-levels (where Art is very academic) and I remember learning new techniques like peripheral drawing to warm up, composition, form and life drawing. This led to getting into Falmouth Art School for a Foundation in Art & Design – where I unlearnt so many habits and broke through previous limitations. Thanks to my Art Foundation, I only ever see things clearly through the lens of an artist, which often made a career in office environments interesting, fun and challenging. It’s also why these two worlds always remained so separate in my life.
Is there a dream project, exhibition or collaboration that you have always wanted to be part of or to lead on? If so, tell us more.
I would love to work on a community mural with other local artists. Or be part of a community art project.
Where do you take inspiration from?
It may be easier to list places & sources I don’t take inspiration from. Whatever I’m looking at, I’ve probably started to subconsciously paint or sketch it in my mind. I guess it’s how I view the world – ‘art tinted lenses’. Living in Cornwall, the light plays a huge part. The way it casts colours & depth across the sea, bounces shadows and shapes across the coastlines and rolling visual stories into landscapes. I study everything that passes my eyes with a curiosity to see something beautiful. Looking at colour, shape, tone, form and the feeling it evokes. I often look like I’m daydreaming to most. I do that too of course.
There’s something new coming on the horizon though. I’m not sure how it will come through just yet, but I will be taking inspiration from something we can’t see, only feel. Energy. In the last few years I have started practising Reiki (my plants love it). The concept of energy is something I want to explore through my art too.
If you could have a cup of tea or a perhaps a cocktail with anyone, who would that be? And what would ask them?
That’s really difficult as I’m not drawn to anyone ‘famous’ or who holds usual notoriety. It would be someone down-to-earth, quietly eccentric, gentle, playful who is fascinated by the world and has some random thoughts on life which challenge the status quo. Someone who softly goes about making the world a better place one random step at a time.
To stay on topic, if it was to be an artist, it would be Barbara Hepworth. I just connect with her work and process. Unfortunately she’s no longer earth-side, but if she were, I’d ask her something about cultivating bravery and pushing through the barriers of being a female artist. Plus I’d love to create a sizeable sculpture one day, so experimenting with someone who can arc weld and has a hoard of larger chisels, would make for a fun day.
Otherwise, it would be my old Maths teacher. We had a few Maths teachers at my school, but there was one who was very different. He had the most impact of all my teachers, and for many of my peers. He taught A-Level Maths to my creative brain, gave out some random gems about life and was a bit of a mystery. He looked at things differently and found a way to engage my round-the-houses way of learning without getting frustrated, he got creative with his methods. I don’t think he’d have a cocktail, so it would probably be a cup of tea, brewed on a campfire by the cliff edge overlooking somewhere like Swanpool or at a local cove along the Helford River. I’d ask him to teach me to surf (he wasn’t a typical surfer type). Then I could connect with the crashing waves I often paint.