Colette, have you always wanted to be an artist?
All my life I wanted to be an artist, from a very early age I was always painting or drawing. I bought my first set of oils and canvases when I was 16 and from then on, I knew I wanted to be a painter. I wanted desperately to go to Art College, but it wasn’t considered a “proper career path” so my hopes were dashed. Nevertheless, I carried on painting, working full time, and then bringing up a family. Throughout my life painting has always been an incredible source of joy and relaxation, as I encountered challenges in my journey I found solace in my art.
I now work full time as an artist: Painting and selling my work internationally and it’s a wonderful occupation, it has taken me a lot of hard work and sacrifice to get where I want to be. I have sold and shipped my paintings all over the world: all over the USA /Canada/ Europe/Dubai/ Japan with the furthest destination being Tasmania. I am also fortunate enough to have many returning buyers who come back time and again to add to their collections.
Your art is inspired by flowers and you bring lots of colours and textures into your paintings; has this always been your style of choice and if so why?
Painting has always been a part of who I am, it’s always been there for me. I am a self-taught artist and to tell you the truth I like it that way, I’ve developed my own style as I continue to experiment with paints and mediums to this day. I’ve always been interested and inspired by things of beauty in the natural environment whether that’s gardens, flowers or the landscape. Nature is my inspiration, my muse.
How would you describe your creative process?
My creative process is very spontaneous: I see something in nature and instantly know that I have to paint it. Maybe it’s the challenge of recreating something that looks beautiful to me or possibly about capturing the moment. I am drawn to the way the light plays on a subject, the colour and texture. I tend to be preoccupied most of the time with the painting I am currently planning or creating. I become obsessed with seeking out colours and tones that relate to it.
Where do you seek inspiration?
I like an artwork to be organic and spontaneous, developing in its own way. Although I usually have an idea and the image in my mind, I rarely sketch a design or do too much planning. Starting with the blank canvas I use a couple of layers of white primer then begin to add colour, working out my areas of light and shade. I build my work up layer by layer. I like to have a source of light in my paintings so I use colours to convey this. My paintings are noted for their texture which is a result of the layering of paint, I use a palette knife to paint with and occasionally brushes, I also use strips of cardboard and cloth!
What does a typical day look like for you?
I paint most days, I feel lost without a canvas on my easel! I am, up with the lark (as they say) and often paint around 4am in the morning. I am at my most creative in the first part of the day, I have a head full of ideas and I enjoy painting when the world is silent. I usually go off to the gym around 6am for an hour or so and then back to work. I have to tackle the admin which is usually what I do around first thing, or it will never get done. Sales take priority and preparing and packing paintings for dispatch. takes quite a bit of time.
Because of the way that I paint: I use many layers of paint there needs to be a substantial dying time in between layers. I’ll start again mid-morning and then do another long session in the afternoon.
Which artists, living or deceased most inspire/influence your work?
I admire many different artists and their styles of work from an early age I loved Van Gogh’s use of colour and the movement in his work. the way that he saw the landscape and the light. Monet’s paintings of nature particularly the ones of Giverny, probably because I also have an affinity with gardens. I believe it’s important to have your own style and techniques, individuality is important.
If you had one piece of advice for someone seeking a career in art what would it be?
Work hard, practice your craft, experiment with different techniques and mediums and never give up!
If you had a dinner party and could invite 3 guests, living or deceased who would they be and why?
The three guests I would like to have at a dinner party would be Salvador Dali as I am in awe of his imagination and artwork. Leonard Cohen as I love his music and the sound of his voice is so relaxing. The American author John Steinbeck as he is a wonderful storyteller.
What does the future look like for you?
None of us can predict the future and all I hope for is that I can carry on painting and selling my art.