I'm a curious type; I like to know what informs an artist. Who or what do they look to for inspiration? How do they work? Each month I will be asking an artist I admire a few questions, this month is Louise Chatfield.
Louise, your landscape paintings are so vibrant. Is making work with a lot of colour important to you?
It is. I find I am drawn to colour, and it is very uplifting! People tend to smile when they see colour. And I like the unexpectedness and surprises you get when putting colours next to each other. Having said that, I do start off a painting sometimes intending to use many and it ends up with perhaps only 3 or 4. Something in my subconscious no doubt!
What first drew you to focus on landscapes?
I just love the countryside and its many moods. We are so lucky to have such a variety of landscapes in this country, from Scotland to the Peak District, Wales, Cornwall... and everywhere really. And the play of light and dark, especially around the coast.
You use a variety of mediums in your work, from oils to acrylics. Do you have a favourite medium to work with or a favourite method of applying the paint?
I do love oils. They are so buttery, wonderful colours and can be moved around, used thickly or thinly and generally ‘gloopy’ (a technical term!) I use palette knives a lot, and often my fingers - having to remember to wear thin gloves - as well as wipes. They are great for blending.
You are based in landlocked Rutland, does the area local to you influence your work at all?
It is a beautiful county! We have some wonderful countryside and also Rutland Water, which is incredible. I rarely paint outdoors, I tend to absorb what I see, occasionally take photos, then see where that takes me. However, I must say I do wish I was a bit closer to the sea sometimes.
You are part of the Welland Valley Arts Society and the Rutland Open Studios - is being part of two artist organisations important to you? What opportunities do they give you?
Having moved here just about a year ago, joining organisations does mean getting to know local artists. I think it is important to share ideas, contacts, as well as problems and (hopefully) solutions. Painting can be quite an isolating thing, if we are not careful! And, of course, it means I can exhibit my work, get feedback, and see others’ work as well.
Tell me about your studio or creative space.
Ah. Well. I have the spare bedroom! Oh for space for a large studio in the garden - no such luck, and actually no room! I try to be organised, but don’t succeed very well.
What artists (living or dead) inspire you?
I first ‘noticed’ paintings when I was introduced to the Pre-Raphaelites years ago. Also, John Singer Sergent - I saw an exhibition in London and was fascinated with how he applied the paint. Joan Eardley - still very underrated in my opinion, I love her work. Turner.
I love learning random facts about people, tell me three things about yourself.
- I am getting very interested in exploring using textiles and stitch with paint. A new project!
- I love steam engines, watching them, riding in them - I had a ‘drive a steam engine day’ for my birthday once. It was great.
- I can’t swim or ride a bike - is that random?!
Finally, where can people follow your work online?
Thank you to Louise for taking part in my artist interview series. I love her description of oils and how she involves her fingers in the blending process, I really feel like I need to dig out my old oil paints and have a play too.
If you'd like to take part in my artist interviews series then please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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