Downland Inspirations - an interview with Lindsey Pearson, Featured Artist Sept 21st to Oct 11th

With government restrictions in place and unable to go to Venice earlier this year for her annual painting fix, Lindsey decided to make best use of the outstanding countryside surrounding her instead, with some excellent results! We talked to her earlier this month about her latest body of work that will shortly go on display at Chalk Gallery and how exactly it all evolved:

Hi Lindsey, Downland Inspirations, that's a great title for your time as Featured Artist, where did you find your inspiration for this new body of work?

Lindsey: It was more by accident than design initially as “Lockdown” provided the time and opportunity to walk, cycle and explore the outstanding natural beauty of the South Downs which is right on my doorstep. The South Downs Way and bridleways in and around Storrington where I live lead to Parham House, Amberley, Kithurst Hill and Springhead so I cycled or walked with all my painting kit, sunhat, sunscreen OS map etc and set off to find some secret corners in which to paint. The fields, flora and fauna I discovered did not disappoint, it was quite an adventure and steep learning curve taking my bike through kissing gates, over stiles or walking slowly past livestock but an absolute delight to be able to stop and paint in such splendid isolation. As a watercolour artist, the Spring colour was a joy for me, the medium really lends itself to painting en plein air and so my sketchbook began to fill quite quickly. I only wish I had done so before!

It’s not just the landscape in this work though, is it?

Lindsey: That’s right, drawing is a key component of my work as well which is why I love going to Venice, it’s a challenging and exciting landscape in its own right. My very first experience of painting there was daunting when I was told to “have a go at painting that” ....meaning the Grand Canal!

I have always been drawn to trees in my work, although I cannot fathom a specific reason other than I love their shapes, form and colours. They do seem to feature in many of my paintings as their structures provide strong focal points for me to then embellish a scene either real or imagined.

What is it about using watercolour as a medium that fascinates you?

Lindsey: I love this medium for its vibrancy, transparency and immediacy. It’s also portable which helps enormously when travelling or painting en plein air. I find the richness and diversity of the pigments most satisfying as they blend and meld on the paper. It is an alchemy I never really tire of and find its versatility inspirational. There are so many opportunities to experiment with watercolour and it constantly surprises and excites me as a painter.

Who or what are your influences?

Lindsey: I have had the privilege of working alongside many wonderfully talented artists and learning from them. Many trips abroad with tutors such as Soraya French, Brian Ryder, Derek Daniells and Ken Howard OBE have inspired and helped me to develop as an artist. I’ve attended fantastically inspirational courses at West Dean College Chichester, West Norfolk Arts and Missenden Abbey with Jackie Devereux.

My initial passion for painting was ignited by the ground breaking work of Georgia O’Keeffe and latterly by the fabulous work of Joaquin Sorolla. His painting of “Sewing the Sail” seen at the Ca’ Pesaro in Venice literally stopped me in my tracks! It is just magnificent. No wonder he is considered the Spanish equivalent of Monet. But I have many other influences including Ann Blockley and her late father John Blockley. They have broken the boundaries in every respect with Watercolour.

However, my main inspiration is colour and I use watercolour to maximise the ways in which colour can be applied and used to uplift the soul and bring a radiance to my work.

I aim to continue to experiment and develop my work as far as I can as it’s the very best remedy to all that is happening around us at the moment.

Thanks Lindsey, it’s been really fascinating to finding out more about your work, we can’t wait to see it all go on display at Chalk Gallery next week.

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