I've just about recovered from the 'Thirty Paintings in Thirty Days' challenge and have been bevearing away behind the scenes on some coastal paintings and commissions.
Now you're probably sick to death of my ramblings on here so I thought I'd introduce a new monthly blog post where some of my favourite artists and makers are featured.
Hopefully you'll learn a great deal about the person behind the art!
Kicking off the first one is Judith Yates. A seriously mulit-talented artist in her own right who over the years has worked with some of the best design studios and galleries both in the UK and abroad.
Not only does she have a wicked sense of humour but she's one sassy lady, kind with words, generous with support and advice and I'm proud to say, a good friend.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What’s your background?
Well, I already feel as though I’ve already had 3 careers in the art world one way or another. But in the end, I’ve always made a living creating images of different kinds.
So to be brief -I did a fine art degree in Newcastle upon Tyne moved to Brighton and sold work through galleries in London and Brighton for 5 years.
Worked in design studios, as a designer / illustrator for 8 years producing designs for high street companies . I then worked freelance, from home for 20 or more years designing for all sorts of products, scarves, ceramics, book covers , jigsaws, kids toys …the list goes on …I also created repeat fabric designs for an agent who sold to furnishing companies in America.
Then 4 years ago, I returned to my painting, I have never been so happy in my working life as I am now and part of me wishes I had never left it.
Where do you work?
I work on my dining room table, have done for 25 years now. The last 5 years have seen it filled with canvases of all sizes and art materials spread from one side to the other. I would love to have a real purpose built studio, who wouldn’t ? All sky lights …and huge white walls ….but back to reality … I know I am lucky to have the entire room for my work and I love my little studio!
Describe the view from your desk.
It looks out onto our small back garden, bursting with lush, jungly greenery and deep borders and weeds……lots of weeds, my bird table is strategically placed to spy on visitors, but so far so few!
What do you wear when painting?
Fabulous and chic clothing at all times of course! Slarted in oil and acrylic paint and fraying at the seams. I have never been one for a painter’s apron.
What couldn't you live without in your studio?
My huge, central, solid table, space to spread out everything around me, jars, paints, equipment, reference the whole lot.
How would you describe your art?
I'm really not sure.. ooohh now you’re asking. It is honestly not something I think about, nor do I aim to create work in a particular vein, but if I had to call it a name, possibly “Contemporary Impressionism” at a push, oohh that sounds flash!I’ll leave that to others and hope they are kind!
Has your art changed over time?
It changes all the time, because I left my painting for 20+ years, when I picked it up again 4 years ago, I went back to where I left off so many years back, but I am getting more confident every time I pick up a brush and closer to knowing what I want to put on the canvas, I do wonder where I would be if I had never left it for so long ……..I’m playing catch up, but catching up daily.
What work do you most enjoy doing?
My seascapes, all dramatic waves and shimmering light and my atmospheric landscape all wild places and subtle suggestion.
How do you know when an artwork is finished?
Well they do say it is finished when one more brushstroke would not improve it! But I know it’s finished when I’ve looked at it countless times and nothing more suggests itself to me.
Do you ever get artist’s block? If so, how do you deal with it?
No I can honestly say I have never got artists block, annoying though that may be! In fact quite the opposite, I get artist's overload, it’s the new term for it, I’ve just decided! I always have so many ideas for series of works buzzing round my head, that I have not got enough hours in the day or days in the week to complete them ……it’s like my head will explode with them if I don’t get them down on canvas, I can exhaust myself thinking about them all and even paint them at night in my head, I’m used to it now, its always been that way since being very young. If I could grow 4 sets of arms I’d be fine.
What is your dream project?
I think it would be a big exhibition, of my seascapes / landscapes on very large canvases, so large that you feel you're part of the painting standing in front of them.
Describe a typical day in your studio.
As soon as I walk in, I sit straight down at my computer in the corner of the studio and catch up with my fellow artist friends on Facebook . A day would not be complete without the usual cheeky banter of a supportive, witty, talented bunch, I always think it is an artist's version of a football dressing rooombut enough about those terrors!
After that catch up, I answer emails and try to start work at 9.00. Any later and I think I’m slacking.
The sweetest kind of day for me is when I am just painting all day, and I will work through until 4.00 just stopping for a very quick snack for 10 minutes and a chat with my husband who is tucked away in his own studio upstairs. All this is supplemented with copious amounts of very strong coffee, loud music and me singing along like a demented thing …I stop at about 4.00 utterly exhausted, no longer able to see what I’ve painted!
Is the artistic life lonely? If so, what do you do to counteract it?
Back in the days before Facebook, I used to go to the village shops and find myself telling the local butcher my life story, his face a mask of feigned interest mixed with pity! But now, I get on the party that is Facebook and I'm never alone, it’s like one big open studio with the advantage that you can politely close the door and say …see you later!
My funniest moment...
In life - too many to remember in detail, so many things about this life make me laugh out loud, most of them I can’t recall once gone and those I can, I couldn’t possibly repeat in public!
In work - my young self - hilarious!
My favourite living artist is...
Now this is tricky because I admire so very many for quite different reasons and all with vastly different work. But some I keep going back to, they are those who’s work makes me yearn to able to do what they do with the same incredible skill …..one of those is Robin Mason, he has magic in those hands!
I can't live without....
My kind, sweet, funny, understanding, partner of 28 years, my husband Colin……….PS can I use your best paints now?
To have time to look at the sky with nothing to do………
Being by any stretch of water, coast, lake...Must have been a fish in a previous life.
Food, sunshine, a large glass of white, a big easel, a new set of brushes! Some decent clothes to paint in, a long lazy holiday …but not necessarily in that order.
People who take themselves too seriously, cruelty, pomposity,
Not being able to paint for longer than a week.
To be 20 with the mind and wisdom of a 50 year old!
Time to just be still and breathe.
To become a really good competent painter and keep painting into my old age .
To end my life knowing I really lived at least some of it as I wanted to!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Personally -Always be yourself, you’re good at it and it is much easier than trying to be someone else.
Professionally – Paint what you love and others will love what you paint.
Professionally, what are your goals for the future?
To be represented by one or two great galleries, and paint happily for ever more. I don’t ask for much!
Where can we buy your art?
My Facebook page where I chat and post all new work and work in progress.
My website - where I put new work and keep up to date weekly http://www.judithyates.com/
Thank you so much Judith, I just KNEW this was going to be a great introductory blog post for my 'Meet the Artist' feature.
If you haven't already 'liked' her Facebook page, get over there right now and when you see an absolutely fabulous painting on her page that you just HAVE to have, all you need to do is ask! (I've done that already and it's now on my wall!)