It has been quite a while since we posted here at the Lots Road Group but here we are back with a Q & A with one of our artists and organisers, Sarah Richardson:
How did you become a painter?
My earliest memories are of watching my father painting murals. He wasn’t a professional painter but did it as a hobby for friends and often took me with him. My interest sparked from there. Life after art school at St Martin’s was the usual struggle to pay the rent and so freelance illustration was sacrificed for a series of ‘nine to five jobs’ in the museum and cultural exhibition world in London where my admin skills came to the fore and rescued me financially and professionally. I never really put my paintbrushes away for any length of time, even resorting to painting the walls of hospitals in the Borneo jungle where my newly married medical husband decided we were going! After my children became less dependent on me I felt free to spend time under the tutelage of a marvellous man and a very gifted painter – Jason Bowyer (president of the NEAC). We painted together for several years until in an effort to get rid of me he suggested I enrol at The Heatherley School of Art and concentrate on portraiture. This led to me completing the diploma and post diploma courses in portraiture and meeting up with a group of friends who together have formed the Lots Road Art Group.
Which other artists or painters do you look to for inspiration and Why?
This is always such a difficult question to answer as it changes as I discover and understand more. Obviously there are the usual suspects like Rembrandt, Velasquez, Pierro della Francesco, Lucian Freud, Diebenkorn and Euan Euglow whose work is hugely inspirational to me, but for direct influence one looks to the people who are working and teaching you every day. At Heatherleys we are fortunate enough to be taught in the atelier system. This means having a tutor teach you rather like the old masters taught their pupils – by example. And so I would like to mention some of these people who have taught me by example such as, Jason Bowyer, Andy James, Tim Benson, Miriam Escoffet, Atul Vohora, and Alan Ramsey.
What do you think constitutes a good portrait?
Gosh this is also another very difficult question because so many things make a good portrait and they are not always the same thing. For instance styles differ enormously over time and its not always easy to compare like with like but essentially every good portrait has to speak to you on an emotional level first and foremost. Economy of brushstroke, capturing the person with a confident mark and not overworking it. Always leaving the viewer to complete something in their own eye for themselves. All things which I am constantly struggling to achieve in my own work.
What current projects are you working on?
I mentioned earlier about the Lots Road Group – sixteen of my fellow Heatherley students have come together to support each other in their artistic endeavours. We have just completed a very successful joint exhibition on Motherhood at the Chelsea Gallery and I am now working on securing our next project with the International Womens Forum for next year.
Many thanks Sarah & we look forward to hearing more details of forthcoming exhibitions.