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
My first visit to Reading art fair was last year and what a great fair it is. I sold well, met some great people and spent the whole weekend talking about art. It was great and I'd recommend it to anyone
Let me fill you in on what you can expect.
The Fair begins on Friday 22nd April for the Private view evening, and continues through the weekend 23rd and 24th April.
I have some Private view tickets available for you, and I have 2 for 1 tickets for the rest of the weekend, simply email me, if you'd like to come.
Love it and let go! How all artists learn to let go when they create the work and when it's finished.
Love it and let go. How all artists learn to let go when they create their work and when it's finished.
I love teaching and always have done. Now as a full-time artist I still teach workshops to adults, to pupils on school visits to galleries or exhibitions and and to art students in a variety of different media and subject matter.
Most recently I have found myself saying it to my latest workshop recruits "Stop worrying".
Whether you are 8 or 80 you will find yourself worrying about the artwork you create.
I usually begin my workshops with quick warm up drawings. Being an artist can be similar to being an athlete; you have to warm-up before the real business begins!
The great thing about drawing quickly is that you don't worry about the quality of the work you are producing. The process is far more important than the product. Sometimes you might even throw your warm-up sketches away. You can do a warm-up sketch with a pencil and any old piece of paper, you could even do it with a marker pen on a piece of newspaper, it really doesn't matter. Once you have fully warmed up the great business of creating begins.
I have to admit that I love it when my students produce work that they are proud of, work that they want to keep, better yet work that they would proudly put on display.
It's strange thing about art, sometimes you have to let go of your inhibitions, your worry, your "tightness" to create a work. But once you've done that you have another problem. That kind of work, the work of which you are justly proud, is the kind of work that you don't want to see go!
But as a professional artist let go you must.
I have just got back from the framers collecting three new oil paintings that will shortly appear in an exhibition. (I use a local, family business- Frith's, they are based in Netherhampton, just outside Salisbury).
One of the pieces has been rather grandly framed, it is of a highland cow chewing grass and he looks content. It's titled "Chewing it over"
The framer said to me "If I could paint like that I'd never be able to sell the work, its too good to let go".
Ooh, artists love to hear compliments like that. Lovely.
That's where the "love it and let go" comes in. Now that my Highland cow, "Chewing it Over" is beautifully framed he might sit in my lounge for a while rather than being wrapped up and stored carefully in the studio waiting for the next Art fair.
I will live with him.
I'll see him every day.
But when his new owner comes along, as he surely will, I will let him go.
The thing about being a full-time artist isn't simply learning to let go of your beloved artwork. The process in your mind is so different. I have so many ideas, so many more plans with future paintings running through my mind, that the loss is not so great.
We artists don't want to keep our work to ourselves, we are so full of ideas that we want to create more. Selling work isn't a wrench anymore because it means more space and more money to buy more canvas and more paint! It not only gives me the studio space to create more but also the headspace to start creating new works. (with the added bonus of paying a few bills too!). Besides, it lovely to think of my paintings making their way into someone else's home. I like to think that they will smile every time they walk past one of my paintings. All of my work celebrates nature; the seas, the skies, the fields, the animals... my paintings, like my highland cow, have a an air of contentment.
So if you are in the process of creating artwork that you love and want to keep, that is absolutely fine. In fact it's great! It's a wonderful feeling to have created something that you want to hang up in your own home for all to see.
But if you are about to make the jump from being a part time artist to a full-time artist don't worry about the work that you love, because once you have that time and space to create more, it becomes so much easier to love it and let go!
Louise's new collection "Countryside companions' celebrating animals of the Britsh countryside will be revealed later this month.
Wherever you live, artists will compare the lack of arts in their area to a much more an arty place, and secretly wish they lived in the much more arty place. And if you're an artist in an arty place you'll wish you were somewhere where there was no competition whatsoever and you were the only artist in the village!
Actually us artists are often quite a positive bunch, but sometimes it's just nice to blame where you are for a lack of sales or a lack of action.
The thing is, I rather like living in Salisbury and the arts scene is rather good, and will get better and better the more people join in with it as artists, crafters, makers and visitors.
Here is my run down of where to see some art and where to create it.
Once every two years Plain Arts Salisbury hosts Salisbury art trail. That event alone has over 100 artists taking part all across the city and it's rather marvellous. The trail was in October last year, so it's not an art trail year this year, but there are still plenty of reasons to join Plain arts if you're an artist or want to find out more about the Salisbury arts scene. And there's a bargain to be had right now...
Many of the Plain artists exhibit in places that aren't galleries, and that's brilliant! The Medical centre on Wilton road host seasonal exhibitions, usually with about six artists each time. How marvellous it is, when you visit the doctor or the dentist, and you're greeted with works of art in the waiting room and down the corridors. Boston tea party, and Waterstones both host monthly exhibitions for local artists to showcase their work. The work in all of these places is for sale, but actually it's about getting art into public places and getting people to see it and love it.
There are some lovely galleries too, small ones like The Yard and Graham Oliver gallery which are well worth a visit. There is also New Red Studios; another gem of a gallery where boundaries are being pushed, questions and ideas being challenged in the context of art practice. Along with the much larger Fisherton Mill gallery, which is so welcoming and you'll find incredible diversity in the types of visual arts produced there. It's one of those places you return to again and again as there's always something wonderful to see.
Salisbury arts centre has regular professional exhibitions and some wonderful workshops to get involved in. Currently in the main exhibition space is Walking...Landscape...Memory. And there's the ever popular Dr sktechys, life drawing with a twist, on the last Wednesday of every month.
Studio 53 is a cracking studio gallery, it's tucked away in George street, but a treat awaits you when you find it. Their next exhibition is Suspended form and it opens on Friday 5th Feb. They have life drawing classes on Thursdays.
Salisbury Museum is a hidden gem. Set in the picturesque Cathedral close, it's easily missed, but my goodness there are some incredible exhibitions there. Last Autumn they had a wonderful Turner exhibition and some fascinating talks and workshops alongside it. The museum has just had a Hinchcliffe exhibition and on Jan 30th the John Craxton exhibition begins. It's worth checking out their website too, as in addition to their exhibitions there are usually accompanying workshops and talks from local artists and curators. I've done many painting workshops at the museum and I love doing them, in addition printmaker Sally Firino and sculptor Charlotte Morton, also feature on the museum's list of artists. The museum also does a young curators club one Saturday in every month, it's free and great fun.
Salisbury craft and heritage fair is in September and hosts beautiful work from local and national artists on the Cathedral lawns. The quality of work is extraordinary and good value as you are buying directly form the artist or crafts person; start saving and treat yourself to something beautiful.
So, I'm rather happy about being an artist living and working in Salisbury. At the risk of paraphrasing Richard Curtis, "Art is all around us"
800 years ago today, the Magna Carta was signed at Runnymede.
In Salisbury (and in Lincoln) there is a Barons trail.
25 individually designed and painted Barons have been placed around the city, and what a magnificent sight it is.
Salisbury proudly boasts that is has the best preserved copy of the only four Magna Carta left in existence.
The Barons Charter trail is the brainchild of the Trussell trust. - "The discontented Barons of medieval England created a charter that attempted to impose laws on King John to limit his power, greed and authority. The Great Charter of 1215 is the most celebrated document in English history and forms the foundation of liberty and the heart of the process that led to the rule of constitutional law"
The 25 Barons around Salisbury not only celebrate the 25 Barons responsible for the Magna Carta, but also celebrate the city itself, it's a celebration of Art and it gives people an opportunity to walk around this beautiful little city, and reflect on what the Magna Carta means to us today. It's fantastic to celebrate our heritage and history in such a positive, accessible way. Every single Baron is in a public place and can be seen for free. How marvellous.
My journey began along with the other artists in November last year, when we submitted our designs.
In March I was delighted to discover that my design had been accepted and I met my Baron for the first time.
My design is based on the concept of a stained glass window. My dissertation was on the Prisoners of conscience window in the Cathedral, and the main piece of my degree show (over 20 years ago now) was a modern stained glass window. I'm now an oil painter, but there was something pleasing about going back to stained glass design when creating a piece of public art for Salisbury.
The most extraordinary thing about the Baron's is their size and shape, you can be told something is 160cm high all you like, but until you see them you don't realise how chunky these fellows are!
Incidently they are made from a mixture of Class II fire-retardant laminating resin and chopped roving fibreglass over an initial brushed-on layer of polyester gel coat.
Some artists started with underpainting and gradually became more detailed. I began at the top, with various shade of blue.
Each panel of blue needed more layers than I originally thought. I had the extra issue of working in acrylic paint. Acrylic is a wonderfully versatile medium, hard wearing and fast drying, but I'm used to working in oil paint and it took some getting used to.
As I started adding more colour and creating my "glass" I then began painting the black lines representing the lead in a stained glass window. Again, I had enormously underestimated the task. The mouldings of the Baron, which meant is was very difficult to get a "clean line". After a time I got used to it and the Baron started to take on the stand glass form I wanted.
I was working in a public space in the Cross keys, with fellow artists Tom Ridout and James Kent. It was great having company to work with, and we all helped each other along, whenever one of us doubted ourselves. we also had the privilege of seeing the other Barons arrive from artists studios elsewhere as they were completed.
Once the Baron was complete and dry there was the serious job of varnishing. Each baron required at least three coats of outdoor, weatherproof, UV protective varnish. I loved watching my baron become a glossy as glass.
My completed Baron has:
461 flowers, blooms and blossoms,
and 1 bumble bee
So go and do the trail.
Go and see all 25 Barons. They are all so different that there is bound to be something that you like. Take the whole family, debate your favourite, and learn about the Magna Carta along the way!
As you make your way round you can tweet pictures with #BaronSelfie
You can download a map - http://www.thebaronscharter.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/barons-charter-trail-map-web.pdf
Or you can get an app for your iPhone http://www.thebaronscharter.org.uk/trail/
Or you can get a paper copy from Tourist Information Centre, Salisbury Cathedral, Arts Centre, Fisherton Mill, Waitrose, Guildhall and many others.
The trail runs from 12th June - September 6th so it's great day out during the Summer holidays and there are plenty of places for a picnic along the way, or you could stop off at one of Salisbury's many pubs, cafes or restaurants. Your trail could begin (or end) with a visit to the Magna Carta itself in Salisbury Cathedral.
The Barons will be in Salisbury Cathedral all together for just one week at end of September.
On October 1st they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Trussell trust. Find your favourite and save up to bid for it in October.
This section will not be visible in live published website. Below are your current settings:
Current Number Of Columns are = 3
Expand Posts Area = 1
Gap/Space Between Posts = 10px
Blog Post Style = card
Use of custom card colors instead of default colors =
Blog Post Card Background Color = current color
Blog Post Card Shadow Color = current color
Blog Post Card Border Color = current color
Publish the website and visit your blog page to see the results