Our next Q & A comes from painter Colleen Quill. She chats with us about her move from the board room to art studio, a recent commission for SOAS and her love of colour and loose brushwork.
How did you become a painter? Why portraiture?
As a child, I was always drawing and my interest in figures and faces was sparked by the wonderful hand-drawn animations of the early Disney films.
I started a career in window dressing with a short stint in a shipping office, but found I was sketching caricatures of the directors in the board room rather than concentrating on my shorthand, so the decision was made to follow a career in art and take a fine art degree.
With a portfolio of such drawings I was accepted at Chelsea School of Art where I discovered the joy of working with oil paint and the thrill of using colour.
Which other artists or painters do you look to for inspiration and why?
Bonnard and Matisse are a huge inspiration with regard to colour and design, but the works of Toulouse Lautrec, Degas, Cezanne and Manet were my early inspiration.
Academic study revealed the old Masters; Rembrandt, Velasquez, Zurberan and Vermeer being favourites for their supreme expertise, and the expressive drawings of Kathe Kolwitz and Egon Schiele which I’m always referring to.
At present, more contemporary painters such as Diebenkorn for example and Sargy Mann fascinate me with their loose handling of paint and exciting use of colour.
The passion for painting has never left me and I approach each new work with a sense of excitement, whether it be new figurative painting, a portrait commission or, more recently, rich unusual and slightly more abstracted still life subjects.
Do you have any current projects that you’d like to tell us about (exhibitions, articles, websites, commissions, personal projects)?
Having just completed a commission of Sir Cyril Philips, for SOAS, I’m now, along with the 15 other members of the Lots Road Group, working on a portrait of a member of the UK International Women’s Forum. The portraits of each of these exceptional women will be exhibited in May in Chelsea Town Hall in celebration of their 25th Anniversary year.
My website is http://colleenquillartist.com
Thanks so much Colleen, a pleasure to have you on the blog !
(all images and text copyright thelotsroadgroup 2015, please ask permission before use)