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Q & A with Colleen Quill

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.

Colleen Quill

Colleen Quill

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.

Colleen Quill

Colleen Quill in the studio

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.

Portrait by Colleen Quill, 100 x 75 cm

Portrait by Colleen Quill, 100 x 75 cm

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)

Announced ! Our Next Big Project…

As many of you will know this Sunday 8th March people around the world will be celebrating International Women’s Day and so it seemed only fitting that this is the week we let you all in on the Lots Road Group’s next big project. Our artists have been meeting and researching their sitters, priming their canvases and getting down to the very challenging business of making portraits. 

Portrayed ! 25 Years of Inspiring Women:

Our next show is set to open on the 26th May at the Chelsea Gallery and will celebrate and commemorate The International Women’s Forum UK‘s 25th Anniversary with portraits of 16 of its most inspiring women – its 4 founders and first 12 chairs.

IWF UK is part of the International Women’s Forum, an organisation which advances leadership across careers, cultures and continents by connecting the world’s most pre-eminent women of significant and diverse achievement. With over 5000 women leaders across 6 continents and 33 nations, the IWF has unprecedented global reach to exchange ideas, learn and inspire, and promote better leadership for a changing world.

The portraits have been created by artists in the Lots Road Group – artists who all studied at The Heatherley School of Fine Art in Chelsea, one of the few art colleges that focus purely on portraiture, figurative painting and sculpture. Together they have captured in oils, acrylics, pastel, and print the 16 women who founded or chaired IWF UK during its first 25 years.

 

Christine Klein painting Susan Young

Christine Klein painting Susan Young

 

 

Susan Young, who chaired the organisation during its 25th year and championed the initiative said:

”I am delighted to embark on this special collaboration with the Lots Road Group. This is a wonderful opportunity to capture the essence of our leaders on canvas and represent inspiring leadership in an innovative medium.”

We’re all very excited about the show (details for your diary below) and cannot wait to share what we’ve all been up to with you. Many of our sitters are truly inspiring women, leaders in their respective fields and have been real game changers for business, politics, sports and other aspects of life in the UK. To give you further insight into the process of connecting with these women we will also have a catalogue containing information about our artists and sitters available online and on sale at the exhibition.

We hope to see you at the Chelsea Gallery in May !

Exhibition Venue: The Chelsea Gallery, Chelsea Library, Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road SW3 5EZ

Exhibition Dates: Tuesday 26th May to Sunday 7th June 2015.

For further information please contact Stella via stella.tooth@btopenworld.com

** all images and text copyright thelotsroadgroup 2015.

Q & A with Mark Stevenson

Between helping install our next group exhibition, ‘Motherhood’, Mark Stevenson catches up with us to share a few words about painting, life and inspiration.

Mark Stevenson

Mark Stevenson       

How did you become a painter? 

It took a while! At school I went down the science route – even though I wanted to do art I couldn’t – and after university I spent 17 years in the oil industry, exploring for oil and gas.  Just after my 40th birthday I decided to take a break.  It started as a year out but I never turned back. I was inspired and encouraged to paint by my mother, a watercolourist, and by an elderly architect friend.  I joined his life class – pencil, charcoal, pastels – but soon realised I wanted to paint.

I studied first at Lavender Hill Studios, where they take a traditional approach to portrait painting, and then the diploma at Heatherleys where the project based course run by practising artists helps one find one’s own style – eventually.

In painting from life, whether a nude or portrait, it is such a challenge to compose and produce something worth looking at. So initially it was this challenge, and the thrill of composing and developing a painting, studying the landscape of the body or face and getting it on to paper or canvas.  Later it became more about what I get back from painting, expressing myself and getting lost in a painting.  It can be very fulfilling, and very frustrating.

Marta, oil on canvas, 24 x 30cm, 2011

Marta, oil on canvas, 24 x 30cm, 2011

Which other artists do you look to for inspiration and why? 

I like painterly works, where there is movement and plasticity in the way paint is handled. I’m not keen on photo realism.  It’s no surprise then that I’m inspired by Van Gogh, Lovis Corinth and Freud. Freud is incredible, I like his challenging compositions, relatively limited, subdued palette and bold juxtaposition of colour temperature in his flesh tones. Corinth is just amazing in his virtuoso handling of paint.

What, to you, constitutes a good portrait? 

A likeness is only important to the sitter and people who know the sitter. Any portrait that moves you is a good portrait and far more important. A portrait that draws you in and says something about the inner life of the sitter is a successful work.

Do you have any projects that you would like to tell us about ( exhibitions, articles,websites, commissions, personal projects?)

I don’t have any big projects or themes I’m working on. I have a few portrait commissions coming up and I’ll continue my urban landscape painting when it stops raining.

Many thanks Mark! We hope to see more of your work soon. 

(all images and text copyright thelotsroadgroup 2014, please ask permission before use)