My Art Journey - Painting Daisies
Imagine a young child on a sunny day sat on a lawn. It’s not a perfect green lawn by any means - it seems that the daisies are trying to rival the abundance of stars in a midnight sky. The child has a battered tin box bursting with twisted rainbow tubes of paint. In her hand, she holds a small paintbrush and is delicately colouring the petals of the daisies.
That is my earliest memory of painting, and I think my inspiration might have been the harvest hymn with the line “He paints the wayside flower,” interpreted in the literal way that would be expected of a child. The daisies had to do, as I didn’t have wayside flowers as a canvas.
I had rich resources for creativity, growing up in a household of designers - paints, paper samples, magic markers, fabric offcuts, Letraset (grown-up transfer stickers!) and much more. We spent many hours in museums and art galleries, and creativity was a way of life. I learned to appreciate quality and absorbed a sense of good design by being surrounded by experiences and examples to guide my aesthetic values. When I was not in a museum, or creating something, I could be found exploring the beautiful countryside near my home or roaming the world through the pages of a book.
We had inherited an embroidery on silk which evoked the mystery of far-flung places. Silk fascinated me. As a child I developed a curiosity about this gorgeous fabric that felt so soft, light and smooth. I worked in my father’s studio before studying for a degree in archaeological conservation - combining my love of science, museums and creativity. I chose conservation of silk as the topic of research for my dissertation at the end of my degree, and I was able to study one of our heirloom pieces, analysing the silk and metal threads under a scanning electron microscope.* After I graduated, I worked at the British Museum in London. I never lost the thrill of walking around that iconic building before the busy day began.
Flowers and the countryside have been a constant theme in my art. Historically I have mostly worked in acrylics, from their professional use in restoration of antiquities to my personal artistic expressions. I like to layer paint and use translucent glazes to build up the final effect. Creating art in a digital environment has enabled me to meticulously build up the details in a similar way. Each flowing design is carefully composed from hundreds of individual hand-drawn layers. This allows me to explore ideas in the placement and scale of the floral elements until I am completely satisfied with the flow and composition. My unique artwork is then transformed into exquisite silk scarves here in the UK, printed on luxurious satin-weave silk fabric. The beautiful lustre of silk and the saturated jewel-like colours enhance the richness of the finished scarves. I personally love the shape and drape of a long scarf. Although the design process requires patience and technical skills, the key to my art lies in the years of absorbing principles from observation and distilling that into my own unique expression, just as a perfume is distilled from the essence of flowers.
I believe, as Keats so beautifully put it, that “a thing of beauty is a joy for ever” - so wrap yourself in art and take the beauty with you.