For the past year I have been experimenting with texture, collage and mixed media. Whilst I love the flow and movement of watercolour, my art tutor, Claire Thomas, has encouraged me to experiment more and to work in series, following each theme for six weeks or more.
For one series, based on the corroding cliffs at Ringstead Bay, I used watercolour and acrylic inks on gesso textured bases with grass, seaweed and found objects from the beach.
More recently, I have been painting a 'trio', starting with a watercolour, then making a collage of that painting, then an acrylic painting of the collage. The collage stage makes me focus in on colour and tonal values, while the acrylic pushes me further as this is a new medium for me.
My style is representational but I try to have areas that are suggested, softened – I like that touch of mystery. Nature is a constant source of inspiration, but I may see something that catches my eye - a pattern of shapes, or the play of light and want to paint it.
Looking back, it was a Saturday workshop 20 years ago that burst open my creativity. Enthused, I took a year's sabbatical and did a Foundation in Art and Design at Kensington and Chelsea College. But drawing and painting were my true love so on returning to work I kept my passion alive by visiting exhibitions and reading lots of art books on the work of many artists from Arthur Melville, Joan Eardley, Andrew Wyeth and Jean-Louis Morelle, to John and Ann Blockley, Kurt Jackson and John Lovett.
Keeping the dream alive was worth the wait. Now retired and living in Dorset, I have the luxury of a studio at home. My husband is a potter and artist – he does Sumi-e and Japanese calligraphy – so we bounce creative ideas off each other.
Having exhibited in London, Wiltshire and Dorset, this is my “year off” to play, experiment and push out the boundaries of what I do.
I will be exhibiting this summer at the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show, and in the autumn with the Army Arts Society in Salisbury. I will also be showing my work at the 208 Dorset Arts Week.
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The Slade Centre Prize