The Royal Society Of British Artists 2021 exhibition, The Mall Galleries.
Finalists for the Sunday Times Watercolour competition 2020 with painting 'Ways to Leave Land',shown at the Mall galleries in February 2021.
I have recently become a keen daily swimmer and this has helped me to understand the estuary, its tides and wild-life better. It has also inspired thoughts about why we have a desire to leave land.
My painting Ways to Leave Land was produced during lockdown when I was fortunate enough to be confined to such an inspiring location. I start from sketches made while sitting in the harbour and by the boat shelter. I am interested in the idea of contained, small worlds from which the elements and wider horizons can be viewed. The village boat shelter creates a wonderful portal.
I have come to full time painting late in life having previously juggled my practice with teaching and earlier, child care. Lockdown gave me the chance to reconsider priorities and I took the step of focusing more fully on painting. This enabled me to spend time paying attention to a small area of our harbour. The result has been to create a series of studies based on the estuary, boats and the boat shelter wall.
I am as interested in the behaviour of the materials I work with as in the subjects I paint and share the view of the artist Anni Albers who said,
‘Being creative is not so much the desire to do something as the listening to that which wants to be done – the dictation of materials.’
I studied Art and Education at Goldsmiths’ College, London followed by time immersed in caring for four young children. I went on to teach art in schools and adult art centres. I have exhibited in London galleries and art fairs such as the Air Gallery Dover Street, Chelsea and Battersea Art Fairs, and venues in Hampshire and Devon.
In 2013 I moved to Devon and ran classes in life drawing and watercolour. While working in local authority adult education (Learn Devon) I was asked to take part in a nationwide, government funded, community mental health research programme. This entailed tutoring a Creative Watercolour course, while monitoring the effects of adult art education on mental health and wellbeing. The outcome of data from all involved in this nationwide project has been the implementation of the NHS's 'Social Prescribing' initiative where doctors can prescribe local art classes to alleviate stress and anxiety.
Having been taught by a pupil of Cecil Collins, I have been very influenced by his particular ideas and methods and incorporate these into my own drawing courses. The aim is to provide a calm space where exploration of techniques and materials are encouraged. It is a process-led approach with a focus on experimenting with materials to discover their specific and unique qualities. I was heartened to hear a student say of her own painting recently, ‘The Naples yellow didn't do what I expected it to, but it seems to have come into its own.’
My work can also be seen on Instagram @lou_inst_art, and on the Devon Artists Network website http://www.devonartistnetwork.co.uk/.
Current students' work on
Ways to Leave Land