Did you always know that you would be an artist? Where did your involvement in art stem from? 

As early as I can recall I was drawing at any opportunity, so art has always been a natural instinct.

You went to Art College, what was your experience like? 

I went to De Montfort University in Lincoln to study for my Fine Art Degree, as a mature student amongst 18 to 20 year old students, I was at first isolated because of the age gap, but as we progressed through the first few months, we all became a tight group where age was no barrier.

It was a most wonderful experience, at times stressful and at others hilarious, I remember the whole three years very dearly. I learned so much about the history of art, sculpture and my chosen medium, oil paint, after experiencing the use of every type of paint and application, we were never taught how to paint as is commonly believed, if we wished to paint, we were expected to strive to that end independently but were importantly encouraged to look, see and feel as a prime target.


You have a mix of abstracts and more landscape artwork, what do you enjoy creating the most and why? 

I love painting in either style, I find the abstract pieces much more difficult as the work comes from an idea, shape, notion or colour. Initially in the making I create my own complicated ritual which is essential for the work to develop, as I produce problems which I resolve one by one, during this process I make discoveries which are juxtaposed between experience and experimentation where eventually the painting takes on its own identity and ultimately dictates its own resolution. Not to say the landscapes are easy because they come through a fleeting memory and imagination. In these Landscapes I make depictions from childhood memories of panoramic skies, the sizzling stillness and silence of a summers day, the horizon reaching far into the distance and the sensation of being there, then there are the raging elements to consider, the power and majesty of the skies, clouds rolling and changing constantly as they pass.



Who and what are your main inspirations?

When I was studying art I was very much inspired by 1930-40 Abstract Expressionists artists Barnett Newman, Clyfford Still and Mark Rothko, mostly of color field painting, If you have ever visited Mark Rothko’s work, the brooding serenity, the quietness and the presence in the work is extremely emotional.

Regarding landscape painters, there can be no other than Turner, a genius who has never been equalled. But it is very important not to be too inspired by other artist’s work, but to strive to develop your own meaning and style.


Could you please describe the practical process you go through when making a painting? 

The first thing is to make sure the studio is clear of distractions, space for the work, easel and my large palette, oil paint selected and prepared, brushes and palette knives set out in a clean environment.

I start working on the painting, and continue for one or two hours taking regular breaks so I can go back to the painting to see it with fresh eyes to decide if it is going in the right direction, I may then decide to alter the format for a variety of reasons, at times it is important to keep going with a painting before it begins to dry, so late evening work is often required, it is important not to be diverted by an interesting mark made so as not to alter the original intention and descend into chaos.

Depending on the complexity of the work, the length of time they take varies from three days to three weeks, as sometimes an area would need to dry before I can continue as I largely paint in oils using a wet in wet technique.


What does a typical day look like for you?

Painting until noon, then on into late afternoon, each day is the same if I am painting. Some days spent considering what I will be painting, sketching ideas on paper, thinking, browsing previous work, so as not to duplicate an idea and most important to me is complete concentration.

Artwork by Norah Ranshaw

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