This week's blog post is a little sneak preview of the press release for BBC Countryfile. This will be live on the Countryfile website from the 1st June!
Louise Luton and the art of capturing natural beauty at BBC Countryfile Live
Louise Luton’s Salisbury art studio looks out over the valley across to Old Sarum. It’s easy to see why any artist would live where she lives. Surrounded by fields, livestock and constantly changing skies; Louise is inspired by nature. She will be demonstrating her oil painting techniques at Countryfile live and giving visitors an insight into her inspiration, and how she creates such stunning oil paintings.
“It all starts with drawing, but unsurprisingly animals rarely pose for me just because I have my sketchbook out! So I have to take reference photos too. David Hockney once described drawing to be like chess, “your mind races ahead to the moves you eventually make” I agree with him, when I make gestural, quick sketches I can already get a feel for the painting I might be able to produce once I’m back in the studio. The quick sketches rarely carry enough information on their own, but if I were to rely entirely on photos I’d miss the character of an animal. It’s the same for landscapes - a painting should give you the feel of a place, not simply what it looks like”.
My oil paintings begin very traditionally,starting with very thin layers of blue and umber at first. I make sure the landscape, or face of the animal is composed perfectly before continuing any further. Once I’m happy, then the fun begins and I can incorporate broader brushes stokes, surprising colour and splashes and splatters. This is the character of the painting - I love it!
Louise frequently exhibits in and around Salisbury and sells at National Art fairs, but BBC Countryfile Live provides a rare opportunity to see Louise at work. “I’ll be bringing some blank canvases and unfinished pieces to work on. Oil painting takes multiple layers, so as soon as the underpainting is completed on one piece, I’ll set it to one side and move onto the next layer on another piece. Visitors to my stand will see work at various stages in addition to the finished pieces on display and for sale. The whole stand will be quite a dynamic place, changing throughout the event. I’ll have my sketchbooks with me too. Most people are fascinated by artist’s sketchbooks as they are a real insight into how we go from a starting idea to finished painting. I love my sketchbooks - I’d never part with them! I’ll be happy to help people get started with sketching while they’re at Countryfile live.
Louise Luton, was born in Salisbury in 1971. She graduated from Digby Stuart (London) in 1992 with an honours degree in Fine art. She has been an artist and teacher for over 20 years, and after living and working in London, Exeter and Bournemouth, returned to her hometown of Salisbury in 2009.
Louise was commissioned to produce a public art piece as part of the 800th anniversary Magna Carta Celebrations
Louise Looks forward to seeing you at Blenheim palace for BBC Countryfile Live. She is in the Craft Heroes marquee on Stand 28
Do you wish you knew how to navigate your way into the art world?
There are plenty of articles, blogs and books for artists, on how to approach galleries to sell their work. There are almost as many books on how to sell without gallery representation.
But there doesn’t seem to be much advice for first time collectors to buy art!
So here are some ideas you might want to try.
Have a good look at your home. Where do you want to put your artwork? Have you got a minimum or maximum size? Have you got pallette in mind?
Have a look in your locality.
Go to a small gallery,often they are coffee shops too, so have a nice cuppa and slice of cake and start working out what sort of things you like, and how much they cost. You are allowed to browse.
In August I'll be exhibiting in Boston tea Party in Salisbury. In fact they have a different artist there every month.
Go to an art fair. Small or large you’ll find something that will at least help you hone your eye and make up your mind what you like.
Some art fairs are for galleries to show the work of artists they represent, others deal directly with the artist. Either way, its good to go and have a look. Collect plenty of flyers and cards so the you can look them up later.
Keep your eyes open in hospitals, hotels, restaurants - many artists are showcasing their work now in public places. They might not be for sale, but you’ll get a name to look up later.
There are some surprising places to find great art works. This Summer I'll be at the New forest show with my Countryside companions collection and I'll be a BBC Countryfile live at Blenheim palace demonstrating oil painting techniques. There will be other artists and crafters there too. It's a great opportunity to find out more about art, as there are so many other things going on too, noone will expect you to be an expert on art. Simply rock up and enjoy yourself!
Most professional artists have their own websites, but you might not be able to find them based on a google search. Once you have a name go directly to the site.
Some artists have an online store don’t be put off if they don't. You might be able to arrange a time to visit their studio.
If you make an appointment to see an artist in their studio, keep that appointment - they will have set aside time for you. Do not worry about buying straight away. Often artists anticipate visitors to their studio, might end up commissioning work rather than buying what is already there. Often couples visit together, then they want to go away and think about it, then come back another day.
If you have seen their website, or work elsewhere, and you like it; tell the artist you’d like to see something similar. If an artist is setting up for an exhibition, they may have far too much work to display in their studio, give them a chance to show you what you wanted to see.
If you feel unable to approach an artist to arrange your own appointment, then email them asking if they are doing any open studio events in the future. They’ll get back to you with date you can visit.
Try to have some alone time! I always try to leave any clients alone for a bit (I offer them a cup of tea and go off to make it) that way they can have a moment to get to grips with the work without pressure. Many artists do the same.
Ask them about their work.
Ask them about the medium they are working in.
Tell them where you’re thinking about putting the work - they might have a great idea for you. Discuss what you might want, even if you're still unsure. The artist will want to help you.
If you want to buy; go for it! Start with the work you like, if that’s too expensive ask if they have anything in your budget. Many savvy artists take the time to ensure they have a variety of works at different prices for this very reason.
It’s honestly a really lovely experience visiting an artist's studio. I love welcoming people to mine and showing them my work and how I create it.
You’d be welcome...
My blogs, seem to refer to art being good for you quite a lot.
Drawing from observation uses both sides of the brain.
Drawing as an activity is calming and contemplative, and can lower blood pressure and reduce stress.
Drawing can develop and enhance our appreciation of our surroundings.
So, I dare you to come and draw with me! You'll have a super time.
I have often spoke of my love and awe of Salisbury Cathedral.
I have a long standing relationship with the cathedral.
I've worshipped there.
I've sung there many times.
I've been to gigs, plays and festivals there.
I wrote my dissertation on the Prisoners of Conscience window in the trinity chapel.
I got married in the Medieval hall, the oldest building in the Cathedral close.
I've "done" the tower tour.
My Baron was auctioned there.
And I've drawn there more times than I can count.
Last year I was lucky enough to be invited to deliver a workshop in conjunction with Salisbury museum and the Turner exhibition, teaching people how to draw that famous view from the South transept.
The workshop was a complete success. I've since been back with other groups, adults, and students.
This incredibly complex building never fails to inspire (though it can be intimidating at first).
When I've sat drawing on my own, I'm stuck by the number of people who say things like "Oooh I'd love to be able to do that", or "if only I could draw, but I just don't know where to start"
Well now is your chance.
I'm heading back into the cathedral with some artists and you could be one of them. Absolute beginners or people who used to be good at art but haven't picked up a pencil for 30 years, or even people who are pretty good at art, but want to develop their drawing skills.
These art classes are for you.
I have two course coming up in the Cathedral.
Monday 4th July and Tuesday 1st November. Don't miss this opportunity to come and draw in the Cathedral.
I'll show you to get to grips with the incredible architecture of the Cathedral. I'll show you how to approach this extraordinary subject matter. You'll see me demonstrate drawing, you'll have a go at some stunning views within the cathedral. And I'll even recommend some easier options if it all get too overwhelming. I'll help you through selecting your view, where to start and how to keep going!
All you need is a sketchbook and a pencil!
So what are you waiting for?
Head over to my workshop page or if you need to find out more, feel free to send my a little email. You'll be under no obligation and I can explain more fully what you can expect from the day.
All the colours of nature come to life in spring.
I absolutely love this time of year, how could I not? For an artist it's wonderful!
The view from my studio is spectacular at this time of year any time of year in fact, but as I move further down the garden I love seeing the bluebells in my orchard and the primroses on the slopes. Nature at its best; playing with the complementary colours of purple and yellow, springing and singing against each other- it's truly inspirational.
I’ve enjoyed seeing on the Internet and indeed on the news, the huge number of the fantastic photographs of bluebell woods in and around the area I live in. Three of the most spectacular bluebell woods in the whole of England are in the New Forest just a few miles from my home in Salisbury. Every year it welcomes thousands of visitors walking through a carpet of purple bluebells in dappled light. Everyone thoroughly enjoying watching the colours of nature come back to life after the cold dark winter months. Springtime in southern England reminds me a lot of when you return from a holiday and see the first glimpses of old Blighty from the air. We suddenly realise why it's called a green and pleasant land! The whole landscape really does become lush and verdant and as an artist I very much enjoy watching it the changing colour and light from the view from my studio.
In fact, the intro to my artist’s statement is ‘inspired by the changing colour and light in nature’. And it is at this time of year that that becomes very apparent. The evenings get longer and lighter and a fantastic pink clouds start appearing in the evening. In addition to the strong greens in the landscape as the trees start growing leaves again, and the ground becomes lush there are incredibly strong patches of yellow popping up on all around Wiltshire as the oil seed flowers bloom into life. It's also a very inspiring time of year for me and my animal collection as I get to visit farms or simply go walking in nearby fields and can see newborn lambs springing around in the field ready for me to draw them!
A recent article claimed that all we need to do for a long and happy life was to eat purple foods, go for a walk every day, and draw. Learning to draw is great fun and going for a walk is just marvellous at this time of year, you cannot fail but to find something that will catch your eye.
Simply seeing colour spring into life as an artist all I want to do is dive in and paint it. The winter months belong to my charcoal sketches, or working from photographs or archives of sketchbooks. But once the spring is here I get to go out and about! I get to draw in the open air and paint.
So this weekend, go and enjoy the sunshine, the bluebells and have the eye of an artist - notice the changing colour and light in nature.
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