+How did you get started?
I have always been a maker and doer since I was little! When given a book as a child I was more interested in the pictures than the words. I just love the creative process and admire the work of all artists, illustrators and creators –it is fascinating to see how an image is created and what mediums were used. I have many styles, from illustrative to impressionist. I keep getting side tracked by something else I want to try!
+What is your work all about?
I work on local scenes, animals, nature, flora and fauna. My work tends to record a moment in time. I like to include animals or birds in all my paintings as I feel it gives life to the picture.
Things change so quickly these days, I am lucky enough to have lived in the countryside all my life…inspiration is on the doorstep…I’ll never have enough time to paint it all!
I am also a florist too so flowers and gardens are never far away from my mind, they are lovely to paint especially English cottage garden flowers and wild flowers.
My book ‘Flora’s World’ is a collaboration with Bob Baker co-writer of the Wallace and Gromit series. Bob lives in the local village and his writing talent is amazing. We were lucky enough to cross paths and the result is Flora’s World. The stories are loosely based on my funny happenings whist running a market town floristry business! I have loved illustrating the first book as the stories are set in and around the market town of Oakley Bottom which is based on our lovely part of the Severn Vale. We are planning on releasing a second book later this year.
+What makes you tick/drives you?
I was brought up to have a love and appreciation of the countryside, country folk and all that goes with rural living. Working daily at the local primary school with fantastic children inspires me every day! I am driven by the need to create as my mind is full of ideas that I need to get down on canvas or paper! It is a kind of madness!
+How did you find your style? Has it changed since you first started?
Now I am older and wiser, I feel fine about having a multitude of different styles. Although I have always veered to the illustrative side of art, but I am trying to loosen up with bigger brushes and canvases. I remember my art teacher asking me why I outline everything! That’s just how I work!
Society seems to want to put everything in boxes these days. Creatively I don’t fit the box! I read a lot about different artists and art processes. Many will say find a style and stick to it, I disagree and find it suffocating. Like anything in life, you are not going to find out if it is for you if you don’t give it a go! So… my style is sometimes folk art, impressionistic, illustrative or just kind of ‘Lorna Pageish!!!’
+Can you briefly explain your creative process, mediums etc?
When painting I usually start with a photo of a view, animal or aspect of nature that has inspired me, a canvas or board for my ground. If painting in oil, then I use an acrylic under painting i.e. I block in the colours for speed as oil takes a while to dry in between layers. The water-soluble oil paint range by Windsor and Newton I just love as it dries in a few days which allows me to keep building up the layers of paint. I tend to have more than one painting on the go so I can keep painting whilst another is drying.
With watercolour, I use some in tube form and also in the pan, artist quality are the best. I use plenty of water and I paint from light to dark, generally adding some pencil crayon shading and fine line in black at the very end.
My illustrations for the Flora’s World Stories are drawn in pencil, then coloured in with Spectrum Noir Alcohol pens, pencil shading over the top to bring out dimension and then outline in a fine liner in black to finish.
I tend to work all over the paper or canvas, I flit around wherever I fancy!
+How do you come up with new ideas? Do you have a process?
New ideas can come from Pinterest (I’m addicted), Instagram, You Tube, books, magazines, the garden, a country walk, a piece of literature, well anywhere really! I tend not to sketch my ideas as I don’t have the time, I just do it! My floristry background has helped with regard to lack of planning as I plan in my head where things will go on the canvas or paper! I have a trained eye for balance, proportion and colour… many years of floristry. I am always looking art for inspiration, it never tires me!
+What do you do during creative slumps?
I do have creative slumps! A busy life, family, work, housework etc. just takes over sometimes. I could do with time management training! A good walk with my little dog Eb is always helpful or a browse on Pinterest will always inspire me. I get ‘down’ when I can’t create, but once I get going again I can’t stop!
+What is the best/most fun part of your job?
Having paint on a brush and seeing a blank canvas turn in to an image which relates to the viewer is just an amazing. I love to hear people tell me their memories of a place I have painted.
With regard to illustrating Flora’s World book I love the response from children, they are the harshest critics and if they have something to say they will just go for it! It is so exciting to go, visit schools and work with the children on character design, have drawing workshops with them and talk about the stories. At book signings, I get the chance to talk to each child and seeing their little faces light up with excitement, it is an honour. If I can inspire children to follow their dreams, then I am happy!
+What is the worst or most difficult part of your job?
There isn’t really a worst part but there are tedious bits. I’m not great at tech, I don’t ‘get’ Twitter and as for emails etc… they are non-stop! I am not good at selling either really, I don’t push the sale of my art, I need to get better at this! Juggling, that’s the trickiest bit - I would like to paint all the time but I have to work too to pay the bills!
+Do you have any other projects or hobbies you’re currently working on?
No, I don’t have the time generally!
+What are your goals for 2017?
I am taking over some office space on the farm which I will turn in to a studio. Hopefully that will make me productive with regard to my art… I also hope to have Flora’s World book two in print in the Autumn!
+Top 5 inspirations for your current work?
Impressionist oil paintings,
the British countryside,
The Severn Vale and
+What would be your ‘words of wisdom’ to your younger self just before starting off?
Believe in yourself and do not be put off by the talent of other artists. Learn from other artists. Visit Art Galleries. Have a go at anything and everything artistically, you’ll learn from your mistakes and your successes. Paint or draw every day. Don’t give up on your dreams.
+Is there anything else you would like to add?
In the words of Claude Monet ‘Every day I discover more and more beautiful things. It is enough to drive one mad. I have such a desire to do everything; my head is bursting with it’.
Ditto! That’s me!
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