Artist Interview: Dominique Cameron

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 Dominique Cameron.

The Wood by Dominique Cameron

The Wood by Dominique Cameron

Dominique, landscape is at the centre of your practice, what is it about landscape that you find so inspirational?

Landscape and walking have always played an important part in my life, from an early age I would walk the countryside with my family and my practice has developed from those earliest times. I have always had the desire to know where it is I live and having moved house many times there has always been this sense of wanting to map any new environment coupled with a curiosity of what lies beyond the door.

I'm particularly taken with the series of work that you did inspired by 'The Wood', how do you decide which type of landscape or place to focus all of your attention on for a project?

I am interested in all forms and variations of landscape, so the projects I undertake will be different each time. For instance after a project in Leith, Edinburgh I wanted to find an equivalent for the complicated, chaotic nature of urban streets. I decided on a piece of woodland not far from home which was overgrown and secluded, very visually complicated but quiet. Currently I am working on a farm which sits atop a hillside looking out over the Firth of Forth – at that point I was needing to be in the open, with far reaching views as a counter to the wood. So one project leads to another…

The Wood by Dominique Cameron

The Wood by Dominique Cameron

The Wood by Dominique Cameron

The Wood by Dominique Cameron

You use colour very vividly in some work and stick to black and white in others, is there any reasoning behind this?

My use of colour is dependent on many factors. The large woods paintings were monochrome out of a desire to see the woods pared back. I felt that I could articulate better the space by just using black and white. However it wasn’t simply black paint – there were at least four different kinds of black used. Using colour would have made the immediacy of response more difficult. However the smaller works in oil reflected the sensuousness and richness of the plant life. So in short it does depend on the subject matter.

What are the materials that you work with and is experimentation important to you?

I work with many kinds of materials from oil, acrylic, charcoal, ink, through to watercolour and gouache. I do like experimenting with their differences and at times in the studio I will often use what’s at hand, and can often be surprised by the result. I am currently interested in the juxtaposition of drawing and painting so will often use both in works, and believe there are no rules in mark making, but play is an integral part of any practice.

Leith by Dominique Cameron

Leith by Dominique Cameron

Leith by Dominique Cameron

Leith by Dominique Cameron

Can you outline the process of making a piece of work from start to finish?

The question of process changes with environment, materials and support. Yet the one constant is the use of gesso. I prime every surface I work on whether that be canvas, wood, panel or paper. I like the ground of gesso that gives a slight tooth and makes the support more durable. I will then go in and out of drawing and painting, building as I go until I either think its time for a cup of tea – and therefore the need to walk away. I will return to sneak up on the work, catching it by surprise almost. I immediately will know where I’ve gone wrong, what needs to be changed, and be startled by my previous decision making – it is almost as if I have not encountered the work before, it feels so new.

Tell me about your studio or creative space.

My studio is a room at one end of the house. It’s the only room that has not had any work done to it. There are doors that open out to the garden and I have a view of the sea. It’s very messy, dirty and piled high with all manner of things. Every now and then I have a clean up as I find I no longer have space. It is not very large but it’s fantastic to have the space close by. If I choose I know I can work in the middle of the night.

The Farm by Dominique Cameron

The Farm by Dominique Cameron

The Farm by Dominique Cameron

The Farm by Dominique Cameron

What artists (living or dead) inspire you?

I take inspiration from many sources, not only painters, and this list can and does change, but the artists that have remained with me would include the painters Ivon Hitchens, Joan Eardley, Cy Twombly, John Virtue and writers Virginia Woolf, Kathleen Jamie, Alice Oswald, and the filmmaker Margaret Tait.

I love learning random facts about people, tell me three things about yourself.

Three things about myself – this has proved the most difficult question. Umm…. I like to dance when I work in my studio. I used to be a fire fighter and I do like clothing with roomy pockets - for all my collections of things.

Finally, where can people follow your work online?

You can follow me on twitter - @bourbonandwolfe, and on my website – dominiquecameron.com.

Thank you to Dominique for agreeing to be part of my artist interview series. I first found Dominique on Twitter and was immediately attracted to her black and white depictions of woodland, for obvious reasons if you know me and my own work at all. I’d love a studio like hers, with doors that open on to a garden and a sea view to boot, it sounds like the absolute dream. Remember to take a look at Dominique’s website where you can find many more examples of her work on the portfolio page.

Dominique’s interview marks the end of my artist interview series, at least for now. Thank you to all of the artists that have taken part this year and to all those that have read the interviews too, I hope you have gained as much from it as I have.

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The Golden Forest

I’ve just returned from a short break to the Forest of Dean, a place I have mentioned many times before. It’s my ‘childhood happy place’ and somewhere that holds a lot of treasured memories. This years visit was particularly special as my partner and I went in celebration of our anniversary - 12 years together. It was also our last little getaway before our baby arrives in January. Not only was it special for those two reasons but also because the autumn colours were so vibrant this year; richer and deeper gold, orange and yellow hues than I’ve ever seen before. It felt as though the trees were really putting on a show for us, to make our escape even more precious.

Last years trip to the Forest of Dean inspired many drawings and was the catalyst for starting the woodland studies series which is ongoing and a project that I particularly enjoy working on. It seems a shame that I rarely work with colour nowadays as this time it wasn’t so much the tiny details of the woodland that captured my attention but the incredible copper colours. Perhaps this will signal a change in my practice, from intricate monochromatic drawings in pen to abstracted landscapes focused on colour? Only time will tell.

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I hope you enjoyed these photographs taken by my partner Craig Pendrill. The Forest of Dean is located in Gloucestershire on the English/Welsh border.

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An Exhibition Realised

While travelling back in 2016/17 I kept a small sketchbook where I recorded little drawings and doodles inspired by the varying landscapes that I was seeing. By the end of the trip I had amassed a small collection of handmade postcards which I could see being developed into a whole new series of travel inspired drawings. On return from my eleven month trip in July 2017 I approached a gallery and submitted a proposal for an exhibition of drawings which was accepted and pencilled in to the diary for July 2018. I had a year to turn eleven months worth of experiences into a collection of work that would fill a space all on its own.

I got to work using the postcards that I had made as a starting point. I had a sketch from a walkway at Iguazu Falls in Argentina, a muddy road in Paraty, Brazil, a forest landscape in Argentina’s Lake District as well as many more. As the months trickled away I found that my drawings were developing, they were getting more detailed and my focus became rugged landscapes; forests and woodland scenes were featuring heavily which matched up with the drawings I was doing on another project which focused on British woodland. I managed to utilise some handmade paper which I had picked up in Pokhara, Nepal just before returning home. I created loose inky sketches using Indian ink, watercolour and charcoal and based the drawings on the stunning Santa Cruz area of Peru.

Three Drawings In Situ at The Sheep Shed Gallery

Three Drawings In Situ at The Sheep Shed Gallery

The Exhibition Poster

The Exhibition Poster

Over a year I’d made 22 drawings for the exhibition which by this time I’d titled ‘From The Road’ a nod to Jack Kerouac’s novel ‘On The Road’. The exhibition deadline had given me focus which I sorely needed as I’d been out of practice with drawing. I framed the drawings myself and fixed the frames with hanging materials. The drawings were then taken to The Sheep Shed Gallery in Weyhill, Hampshire where they were displayed for two weeks. The main objectives for organising the exhibition were to provide a way to take all the ideas and memories from the trip and put them down on paper, to provide a project that would motivate me to draw after a long absence, to gain more exhibition experience and to build a rapport with a gallery. I succeeded in all these objectives which left me feeling fulfilled and grateful that after a year of work I could say that the exhibition was a success.

The feedback I received was positive, apparently upon seeing the drawings close up many couldn’t believe it was done in pen by hand. Aside from achieving my goals I was pleased to have sold one of the drawings and have interest in others. Exhibiting at The Sheep Shed Gallery was such a pleasant experience, at the end of the exhibition I was offered a last minute spot on the gallery’s ‘red wall’ as an artist had withdrawn. If I hadn’t built a relationship with the gallery then this opportunity wouldn’t have been available to me and so I was very grateful for that. With one exhibition finished I was already back in the studio creating a small collection of brand new works for the ‘red wall’ which was displayed for two weeks in early September. I’d gone from having no real exhibition experience for a couple of years due to work and travel commitments to two exhibitions in a matter of months!

I look forward to exhibiting at The Sheep Shed Gallery again in the future and to also finding experience exhibiting elsewhere across Hampshire and beyond.

If you’d like to see all the drawings that were created for the exhibition then please click here. Many of the works are available to purchase in my online shop; to see what’s available click here.

If you enjoyed reading then please click the heart at the bottom, share or better still leave me a comment, I love reading them. ❤️