The Guest Artist section is a place for artists to talk about their work, techniques and materials. I am sure that one artist explaining how they solved a problem will help other artists and I hope that a community evolves where artists will assist each other with their artistic dilemmas, share ideas and technical information as well as make connections and give each other friendly support.
To join the conversation please add your comment below. It will be great to have some interaction!
The fourth artist to share her art with us is Erin Richardson who lives near Cambridge. Thanks Erin!
A Peaceful Journey
JA: Please tell us a little about yourself.
ER: I grew up in an artistic household, surrounded by original art, art materials and artist’s biographies. I’ve loved other people’s sketchbooks (and the smell of turpentine) from a very young age. My parents favoured oil & pastel. Drawing is something that came easily to me. I can remember drawing pictures (pastels) for my younger sister to enter into school competitions as her own work. She always won. I’ve never had a drawing or painting lesson, outside of my home environment. Having picked up lessons, techniques and tips, through my childhood, I’ve always had a clear understanding of drawing & painting. To date my work has been sold through galleries. Following damaged paintings, missing paintings and payment troubles, my work will predominantly be offered for sell via my website, in the future.
JA: What materials and techniques did you use in making the artwork you are showing here?
ER: I begin with an acrylic wash to prime the canvas, often using a complimentary colour for that purpose. After drawing, collage is applied, then sealed using clear gesso. The rest is produced using oil paint. I apply the paint with a variety of tools, my fingers, rags and a lino roller (printing) are current favourites. I work on either stretched canvas or canvas board.
Mother Goose - in progress
JA: What challenges (if any) did you face in making this work & can you give other artists any tips for solving similar problems?
ER: With the Mother Goose painting, there was an empty space to the left of the figure. To balance the painting, I stuck a piece of collage there, using the same material I used for her skirt. After working over the collage with oil paint, I have a great abstract shape, leaving the viewer free to interpret that as they choose. I see these paintings in terms of texture and colour. My advice is to study the balance of your painting, and do what works. You’re creating art, not mimicking reality.
JA: How does this work relate to your artistic practice, how you approach art over-all?
ER: The mixed media paintings, generally come to me out of the blue. As I work on the painting, it becomes clearer how to proceed. I do not pre-plan the paintings. Most of the time, I experience my mixed media work as unconscious. Not me, I’m just the hands that put the idea into the material world. I’m invariably surprised with how the painting develops, if I’m honest. How to do this? Years of practice, mastering your materials, mastering the techniques of drawing and painting, so your response is instantaneous rather than stopping to engage the thinking mind. You get to the point where you no longer have to think about ‘how’ to paint. That’s when you tap into the creative self, the painting flows out onto the canvas. The true creative self is responsible for my mixed media work.
I see my equestrian art as a technical skill. I know how to draw and apply paint to create the image of a horse. My experience and training allows me to choose colours that are either harmonous or complimentary, depending on the image I wish to create. I use photos for reference material, maybe taking an image of one horse, repainting it with different colours and markings to create the appearance of different horses on one canvas. Logical mind creates my equestrian art.
Grown Your Own - in progress
Grow Your Own
JA: Do you have any art advice you would like to share?
ER: My advice is to not fear artistic block. The creative flow is deep and wide, sometimes we need to stop, fill the well, deal with other issues, heal, dream, cry, rant…whatever. I am an artist. That is not going to change if I don’t paint 24/7 – I have learnt to trust the flow. I personally don’t need to ‘feel’ like painting in order to paint. I sit down and do it. When I actively don’t want to paint, I pay extra attention to my inner urges. By following my inner urges, artistic block passes more easily than if I spent my time lamenting the lack of artistic ideas.
JA: What is your favourite art material?
ER: I’m totally in love with Winsor & Newton’s Clear Gesso. It allows me to include collage in my oil paintings, and provides the most beautiful surface. I recommend it to other artists, frequently, I’m amazed that so few know about it before I mention it.
Any links to your website or contact information you would like to share?
www.erinsartjournal.com – there’s a contact page on the site