questions answered

I was contacted again by an A level student who wanted to interview me about my work and I thought I'd post her questions and my answers here, I'm sure she won't mind and I thought they were good questions.

Joanna: Thank you for your reply, my Art teacher had warned me about the hectic schedules of artists! Here, I have put together a few questions that interest me relating to your work. I know it's quite a long list so don't feel pressured to answer them all!Thank you for your time. I can see from observing your artwork that you experiment with a wide range of mediums; how long does it take for you to complete small or large scale pieces?

me: that one is like 'how long is a piece of string' :>)

small plein air seascapes are often about 11 inches square and usually take about an hour or just over - they can't take any longer because the light and the tide and the colours change so fast! I tend to work with a knife a lot plein air as it's so easy to clean and keep colours from muddying. Tiny paintings may take only 10 minutes.

These then lead into larger studio works that evolve from the studies and aren't a copy of any. These can take weeks as, unlike the plein air, I don't have a rigid idea of where they are going, they are subject to change as the painting starts to 'talk' back to me. I work on quite a few at once usually. They are layered, with scumbling and glazing and broken paint surfaces that show the colours beneath and a lot of this needs the painting to dry before I can continue. These tend to be in series on a subject - for instance the seascapes/landscapes/flowers/waterways series. I like to work around a subject.

After my degree I decided no more 7ft plus paintings until I could afford carriers all the time! I limit paintings to the largest size of 5ft by 3ft 6in as that fits in my car :>) - having had a canvas sail off the roof rack I get paranoid about carrying them that way!

Joanna: What (or who) influences your work?

me: mmm lots of influences! past ones are Degas - particularly for his unconventional compositions, Toulouse Lautrec, Schiele, Rodin (his drawings), for their fluid lively and telling use of line, the Expressionists for their use of colour, Monet and Turner for their obsession with light, Rembrandt's work I love for his marks, which are really abstract and free when seen close up in real life but coalesce into intricate lace or flesh as you step back.

Contemporary influences are Kurt Jackson and David Prentice - 2 artists I absolutely love. They capture the light, changing weather and seasons and a sense of time, Their mark making and observation are fantastic whilst being free and lively. Then there's David Blackburn who does amazing abstracts, Lucian Freud for powerful dynamic drawings, David Tress, Ross Loveday, Kyffin Williams and a host of others.

If you look at my blog ( I got talked into doing this by a friend who is very good at using the internet to further her art career), you'll find others I've written about if you look at the links in the right hand column and the tag 'exhibtions' - and links to them.

Joanna: Do you tend to work from primary or secondary sources?

me: primary initially and then I take off from the research material a little like jazz musicians do with music.

Joanna: Is there a place that you regularly exhibit your work, or do you move around?

me: I move around, showing with friends - I'm in several local art groups including the Leicester Society of Artists and the Association of Leicestershire Artists, The Leicester Pastel Society and for a long time I was a member of the Print Workshop. All of these have exhibitions and I normally take part.

I regularly show with the Neptune Gallery in Old Hunstanton and then show with other galleries up and down the country on an irregular basis, group and solo shows.

Joanna: And finally....
Where do you see yourself in the future?

me: mmmm I don't do planning very well! but getting into better and better galleries, London would be nice and is a possibility that is bubbling on the back burner.

I teach as well so don't rely on my paintings to keep me, which means I can paint what I want and then show in the gallery that fits rather than keep a gallery happy with more of the same, which might become boring (to me).

Next week I'll hopefully be able to get back to painting as I'm working fewer hours and this art fair will be yesterday's news :>) - first I need to sleep and sleep and sleep.



sharon young said…
Hi Vivien
Just been routed to your blog by Shirley Ann. Your w/c's are absolutely stunning, I love the loose style you work in. And I was particularly impressed with your use of PS, it really did enhance and change the pieces into another piece.
I shall definitely be back for another look, when time allows.
The questionnaire was most interesting and I particularly like your comment about waiting for the painting to speak to you.
vivien said…
Hi Sharon :) thanks

I've bookmarked your blog to visit when I have time to browse further, your textiles look beautiful and that's something I would really like to play with more.
I passed your blog onto Sharon but hadn't left you a message myself.
Too busy browsing back through the days and then onto your website.
Wish I could create such a free style.
I was particular interested in your digital images as that is one of my favourite media. I even treat myself to an A3 printer with a flat feed to print onto unusual and textured surfaces.
I have added your blog to my bookmark and my blog (if that is OK with you).
I am busy revamping my website at the moment so it is taking up precious creative time - trying to juggle everything at the moment.
Keep creating
vivien said…
Hi Shirley :)

I tried to find your blog but there wasn't a link in your profile :(

let me know the address?

thanks for adding my blog :)

incidentally I find subscribing via bloglines is perfect as I don't have to remember to check blogs constantly - I just check my bloglines list and I can see who has written new posts.

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