So, Leigh Art Trail 2019 came and went in a blink of an eye. And, while most of SEVEN just about manage showing our creative projects at one venue, some of us exhibited at two – yes Amanda Jackson, we’re talking about you.
While most of SEVEN lead various creative lives Amanda also happens to be a talented painter who has shown her work at a number of Leigh Art Trails. This year she shared a space at the Birdwood Bakery with printmaker Shelley Jupitus, where she showcased a series of oil paintings which Amanda described thus:
“Painting the littoral zone; a celebration of the nature of the places where water meets land.”
Essex Is An Inspiration
As Amanda explains the natural Essex environs are key to her creative practice:
“I have lived beside the Thames Estuary in Leigh-on-sea and Westcliff-on-sea most of my life and my work explores my sense of this place and the surrounding landscape of Essex coast and countryside. My painting practice is sustained by a deep sense of the familiar and entrenched memories of the landscape, walking and drawing and returning to the studio to paint”
The Artistic Process
As you know SEVEN is always keen to peak behind the scenes of the artistic process, so how does Amanda take her painting from inspiration to finished artwork?
- First off, Amanda has been honing her practice on the other side of the country at Newlyn School of Art:
“[L]earning more, making contacts, expanding my horizons – literally East to West – and whilst there, soaking up the landscape that I love.”
- How has this experience impacted her practice then?
“My studio practice has changed – which is a good thing. I am learning what parts of my old practice can stay and what needs to step up a gear.”
“I also made the move out of my home into studio space which allows me freedom to work on several paintings at a time enabling one painting to influence another.”
- So how does Amanda go about a specific painting?
“I am working more intuitively,” Amanda tells us. “With a starting point but no idea of what the outcome might be, a particular painting had been troubling me for some weeks and I thought I would share the process with you.”
We’re all ears! Well…
“It begins with a rejected canvas that I had painted in the spring for an exhibition, but rejected it. I have become a champion of reusing canvases and rather than paint over in white, I just start painting.”
- Does she work straight onto the canvas or does she have a sketchbook?
“Working from a photo of some rocks and associated drawings and colour studies, the initial process took place over a period of two months.”
- Did she hit any rocky* patches? (*pun intended!)
“The final version has been turned through 90 degrees,” Amanda says.
“I needed to stop, there was something problematic about it, it is not unusual for me to like small areas of the painting more than others and at this point I knew that much of the existing painting needed to go.”
Sounds a bit dramatic! What happened next?
“The painting remained on the studio wall for a while, we had Open Studios and it was interesting to hear visitors’ thoughts about it, but it still niggled me. The painting journeyed to Newlyn and discussions with Marie Clare (one of the tutors) gave me more food for thought: Was I just trying to give too much information in one painting, should it be more pared back?”
So Amanda went back to some of her colour studies:
“I laid out all the photos and drawings from the beach at Newlyn, which is where the initial ideas sprung from. I was drawn to the pile of boulders. Other paintings in the series are hanging on my wall, drawings are laying out on the table and all of this feeds into the painting.”
- What about the colours?
“The choice of colours that evolve from this point on were drawn from those already used and the colours in the landscape but I cannot explain how this comes about as it is an intuitive process.”
- When does she decide it’s finally finished?
“The final version or should I say, this version to date will stay on the wall for a while, my pondering time… I am happier with it than I was.”
Find Out More
Follow Amanda on Instagram at @amandajacksonart to keep up to date with her latest artworks, exhibitions and inspirations. And of course, she also shares her creative sketchbook projects as part of SEVEN over at @sevenartistsuk.