This months featured artist is Louise Collins. Louise is another of the artists I know based in Surrey, England and shares her art journey and her beautiful artwork.
Please tell me a little about yourself.
I have lived in and around Banstead, Surrey all of my life.
My earliest and most inspirational teacher was Mrs Smale who taught art at Woodmansterne Primary School. She encouraged my passion for art by inviting me to be creative during break-times, allowing me access to any resources I needed. The art room seemed to resemble an Aladdin’s Cave containing amongst many things, boxed oddments of fabric. One of my earliest recollections are of these, inspired me to produce a huge and very satisfying collage of ‘Uncle Bulgaria’ from the then very popular ‘Wombles’ television series. This I believe demonstrates how important our earliest influences are of those people and things around us. If you can get a great personal satisfaction from creating art, that is all that matters!
The icing on the cake has to be if others also enjoy your work, which is where I find I am now with the realisation that many years on, I am being commissioned pieces.
Have you had any formal training as an artist?
After completing ‘A’ levels, I tried to attend art college but was asked to reapply the following year as my portfolio wasn’t varied enough. Feeling somewhat disillusioned, I trained as a hairdresser when by chance, I came across an advert which read – ‘Artists, looking for something different?’ Art graduates needed to apply, however, after an initial interview with the company’s MD who loved the very same portfolio the art college had previously rejected, I managed to secure a post as a mannequin artist using oil paints. Ten years later, I was one of the only two remaining artists left out of six……. not bad considering I wasn’t initially qualified enough!
However, the company was trying hard to out ride the recession when traditional mannequins with heads were on the decline, resulting in the UK division of the display company reinventing itself, by replacing them with the more fashionable bust forms in a stone finish.
Following a ten-year break to complete and raise my family, I became a teaching assistant and for the past sixteen years, I’ve been able to revisit and expand my creativity by making props, designing 3D headdresses and painting backdrops for school productions.
Do you have a particular subject or theme you work to?
Four years ago, I began pet and wildlife portraiture using artists pencils. I followed an artist called Lisa from ‘Lachri Fine Art’ who gives online tutorials and researches materials by pitching them up against each other whilst creating identical pieces.
Last summer, I was commissioned to do two large pieces using acrylics which has now become my preferred medium. Working with acrylics, allows me to create much larger pieces and I love its durability once sealed and varnished. I work on canvas panels and enjoy the flexibility it offers for display as a framed or unframed piece.
Where can people see your art, do you have any exhibitions coming up?
I’ve belonged to Banstead Art Group for the past three years and have the fantastic opportunity to exhibit my work during village days, at our October annual exhibition and on our group’s Instagram. Our monthly meetings are an amazing way to meet very friendly, like-minded artists whilst sharing experiences and ideas and visiting artists also come and appraise any work we wish to submit.
Louise will be taking part in Banstead Art Groups annual exhibition which is on from 24th to 26th October this year.
To see more of her work please visit http://www.bansteadartgroup.com or join the art groups Facebook and Instagram pages https://www.facebook.com/banstead.art.1 and https://www.instagram.com/bansteadart/