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
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.
Last week I wrote about the arts scene in Salisbury.
This week I'm focusing on why it's such an inspirational place.
Salisbury is an extraordinary and unique city. It's medieval city centre is build on a grid system during the 1300s. There are some fascinating little buildings all around the city that will delight anyone one who studies them.
The Cathedral is set in a beautiful close, it is such a luxury to be able to stand back from the building and admire it in all its glory. I still get a thrill out of hearing tourists gasp "wow" once they’ve walked through North gate and get their first real view of the Cathedral.
Inside the Cathedral there's enough inspiration to keep any artist going for an age. The architecture alone takes your breath away.
If you have a head for heights the tower tour is simply brilliant, the views inside the tower almost as amazing as the views looking outside.
Head further away from the close and you have the views across the water meadows, made famous by Constable and Turner and still hugely inspirational for local artists like me.
Out towards the city limits is the site of the original settlement Old Sarum, my studio overlooks the valley over to Old Sarum. Walking around its ancient ramparts offer yet more great views for landscape artists. The light across the Plain is incredible.
Head just a few miles from Salisbury and the world famous Stonehenge sits waiting for you. All weathers and lights provide a backdrop for this most beautiful of ancient monuments.
Most recently, in addition to landscape painting, I've been focusing on what is in the landscape! This rural part of England is home to sheep, pigs, and cattle, an I’ve been delighting in the faces of these beautiful animals. Inspiration from the landscape and the animals that live there, will form my next, newest collection. All will be revealed soon, on my website, but here's a sneak preview of what I've been up to.
How can I fail to be inspired when I'm surrounded by beauty?
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