Thursday, 14 July 2011

My early days

I first got properly into painting at sixth form college. I was certainly already into my art in a big way having opted for a GNVQ in Art and Design with A-Level Art History (all eggs in one basket there!). The GNVQ was a great introduction to a wide variety of artistic disciplines but I settled on painting as my main focus and it was at this time that I started using oil paint. I loved it. Having previously only used acrylics, which I found tricky as they dried too fast and were difficult to correct mistakes, oil paints were a revelation. I had been given a set of oil paints when I was about 7 but I wasn't allowed to use them because of the toxic lead tubes. When I was a little older I was given a beautiful set of water colours, I used to mix them to the consistency of poster paint and copied the flowers from Cicely Mary Barker's book of flower fairies. I never did learn to use water colours properly, oil paints suited my style a lot better so I stuck with them.

After sixth form I went on to art foundation which was much like the GNVQ in terms of variety but crammed into one year. It was here that I developed an interest in life drawing which continued as the bases of my work into my first year at university. At the start of my degree my paintings centred around life drawing but I had no confidence in painting faces or hands and feet, so they just disappeared off the edges. At the suggestion from one of my tutors that this made my paintings akin to pornography in that they were just bodies on display, I started to include faces and the moved on to portraiture. I can see now how my tutor arrived at this conclusion but at the time I just thought he was being arty and trying to read things that weren't there.

For my graduation show I produced a black and white display of portraits of my cousins and my boyfriend Mike.

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