‘Try everything, experiment, don’t give up’
This time, for our ‘Under the Spotlight’ section, we had the pleasure of spending some time with a local artist who loves to experiment with materials. Her work is brilliant, jewel coloured and often inspired by the human body.
Do you have positive/negative memories of art when you were at school?
I absolutely loved art at school. I had the best teacher who really went out of his way to encourage me (and others). He ran an after-school art session once a week, on a Wednesday (I still remember when it was!) for those doing the ‘O’ level. It was the highlight of my week.
What would your school report have said about your art?
That I tried hard but should have more confidence in my abilities.
Did you go on to further education in art or are you self-taught?
I started ‘A’ level art at my local Sixth Form, but found it a very different experience to school. They assumed that if you were doing art then you were going on to have an art-based career. I had no idea what I wanted to do at the time, so I felt like a fraud and a little out of my depth. I ended up giving it up entirely. I didn’t do anything art-related for another 15 or so years after that. Then I saw a class advertised at Union Place (“Life Drawing”) which said it would be partly portrait drawing too. I quite liked the idea of that, so signed up. The tutor was John Stanley-Clamp who was great at introducing me to a whole new way of drawing.
What or who has inspired you over the years?
Lots of people who I have been fortunate to know and be taught by…Marcus Finch for his great technical advice, especially for drawing the figure and for letting us all play around with different ideas and materials in his art classes. Naomi Frances, who is a great sounding board for ideas and has provided me with so much inspiration over the years. My partner Joe, who really encouraged me when I first took up drawing again and gave me lots of much-needed self-confidence. Phil Tyler, whose painting course I went on. Up until then, I hadn’t really done much painting. His course and expertise allowed me to finally paint and I haven’t looked back since. And of course, my very first art teacher, Mr Pearson, who opened my eyes to art in the first place.
What Artists do you admire?
So many… but I really love the work of Tamara De Lempicka. Her paintings of the figure are just so beautiful.
What is your favourite piece of work (yours and someone else)?
My own favourite work, is usually the one I am currently working on. You spend so much time working on it and looking at it, that you do have to love it a little bit. But once it’s finished, I move on to the next one…
As for another artist’s work, “Andromeda” by Tamara De Lempicka and “A Mi Voix” by Dorothea Tanning.
What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far? What are you proud to have achieved?
The highlight was when I first sold a painting, it meant so much that someone loved it enough to buy it and have it in their home.
What have you sacrificed for your art?
What’s the best bit of advice that has been given to you?
That is doesn’t matter what colour you use, just make sure that the tone is right. That advice really opened up painting for me (Phil Tyler).
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist/craftsperson?
Try everything, experiment, don’t give up. When you are painting or drawing, keep standing back and look at your work; look at it upside down or in a mirror to make sure it’s working.
How do you start a piece of work?
Find an image that I really like the look of, sketch it out first and then if it feels right, paint it.
When is it finished?
When I think if I did another thing to it, I may destroy it. Then cover it with resin!
Do you have a mantra, quote or line from a song that best sums up what your art means to you?
Hmmm… probably “If I could turn back time” because I wish I hadn’t wasted those years prior to taking up art again.
Does music help with your creativity? If so what would you choose to listen to whilst working on a piece?
I do like to listen to music and be uninterrupted when I work. I can’t do anything if I feel that I will have to stop at any time to deal with anything else. My musical tastes may be a little odd to some! But I like to have it on loud, whether it’s Crazy Horses by the Osmonds, or Papa’s Got a Brand New PigBag by Pigbag.
What is your favourite medium to work with/in?
I love working with acrylic paint, it is very forgiving and dries quickly, which suits me very well as I can be quite impatient!
Do you have a lucky or favourite something that you use that has been with you forever?
Not really, but I do have some favourite paintbrushes that I use.
Are you living your dream through your art or do you have one – what do you strive for?
Art is a great escape from the daily grind of life, it takes you out of yourself and there is such a great sense of achievement when you create something. I can’t imagine my life without it.
Is there anything you avoid with your art?
Using oils, I don’t know why, but they really intimidate me!
Thank you Marie. To see more of Marie’s work just visit her website: