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In Conversation with Louise Man

Louise is an local artist from Great Easton (Essex) who enjoys painting landscapes in both oils and watercolours. She takes her inspiration from the rural, north Essex landscape around her, which includes the ever-changing fields and the expansive East Anglia skies.

Louise prefers to paint in a loose, expressive style, aiming to capture the light and feel of a place through bold brush strokes and contrasting colours. She was a 'wildcard' entrant in the 2018 and 2019 Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year competition and offers art tuition at local art clubs and from her home.

Recent when Louise dropped off some new artwork at the gallery we had a chat around Louise's new work, I hope you enjoy our conversation ...

Q. Can you tell me a little about yourself and how your Art career started?

I’ve always enjoyed art and did to A level at school, but it’s been all self-taught since then. My ‘career’ if I’m allowed to call it that only really started about five years ago when I started painting watercolour birds for our neighbour. I turned the paintings into cards and started selling them in shops and it has evolved from there.

Q. Your work is mixed from Oils to Watercolour and Pastels. What is it about these mediums that particularly attracts you?

I enjoy painting in different mediums to keep things interesting. I really like the buttery texture of oils and the feeling of moving the oils around on the board or canvas that I’m working on. I also love the vibrancy and intensity of colours that comes with oils. In complete contrast I love the transparency of watercolours and the fact that they are hard to control, and the magic that happens when the colours bleed into one another. I love the dusty, crumbly texture of working with soft pastels, and the variety of marks I can make, from soft and blurred to hard, strong edges. Plus there are so many amazing colours for pastels, it gives me pleasure just looking at all the colours in my pastel box.

Q. Can you tell me about your process? How do you go from your initial idea (and how does that come to you) through to the result?

My initial idea might be from something I’ve seen on a walk and captured in photos, or inspiration I’ve seen elsewhere from other artists. If I see something I like, I’ll think in my head how it might look as a painting and how I’d go about achieving that and what colours I might use.

Q. Are there any little tips or tricks you’ve learned over the years, that would help or inspire budding artists?

A tip an artist once shared with me was to really look at what you’re painting. Look at the colours, the shapes and the tones and paint what you see, not what your brain is telling you that you’re seeing.

Q. Who is your favourite artist, and why?

I’m inspired by lots of different artists. I particularly like the gouache paintings of Lachlan Goudie, the portraits and landscapes and Tim Benson and the landscapes of Hester Berry. I also really love the watercolours and pastel paintings by John Tookey.

Q. If you could choose any artist to do your portrait, who would it be and what instructions would you give them?

I’d ask Tim Benson to paint me and just paint me as he sees me – no specific instructions! But I wouldn’t really want my portrait painted. I’d prefer to do the painting.

Q. We have brought in two new pieces of artwork in the gallery recently. Can you describe “July Sunset” to someone that has never seen the painting before.

This is a painting of a beautiful sunset in July a year ago when we were at my parents’ house for dinner. It was a warm July evening, around 9pm, and as the sun was setting the sky seemed to light up with lots of changing colours. I really enjoyed mixing up the oil paints to get the different shades of pinks, purples and oranges.

Q. Can you describe “Cromer” to someone that has never seen the painting before...

“Cromer” is a pastel painting of Cromer. The views is the pink and yellow buildings that are along the sea front at Cromer. The pink and yellow of the buildings is matched in the sky and the sand and it was inspired by the pastel paintings of John Tookey.

Q. Which one is your favourite piece in your collection at Wonky Wheel Gallery, and why?

My favourite painting currently at Wonky Wheel Gallery is July Sunset. I just love the warm colours and the vibrancy of the sky. It really makes me feel as if I’m standing outside, at the edge of my parents’ garden, looking out over the fields.

Q. During lockdown you have pivoted your business and brought out a luxury collection of tea towels and napkins, all with a labour of love. As you would cut them out and your mam would sew them for you? Can you share how this lovely luxury collection came about?

I had a commission to paint a large flower painting in watercolour which included lots of blue and pink flowers. So I practised painting agapanthus, sweet peas, eryngium planum (or flat sea holly) and love-in-a-mist. A few people saw them and suggested they’d look good as a fabric. So I did some research and found a company online that produced fabrics from artworks. I ordered linear metres of fabric, cut out the material for tea towels and napkins, and double folded the hems while my mum sewed the edges with her Singer sewing machine. It was time consuming, but they’ve been really popular, so I’ll be making more – but I’ve now got a supplier making them for me!

Q. I asked Louise to write a short note to her younger self about her art career...

Push yourself outside your comfort zone and don’t be afraid to try new things.

Last updated : August 2021 Author: Wonky Wheel and louise Man

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