Our featured artist this week is Western Australian talent Jill Bryant. Her magical watercolours and mixed medium works seem to twist light and colour to take the real to the abstract. The paintings are uniquely fluid and alive. Jill took some time out to answer some questions for Collate Culture. Find out about her studio and check out some of her whimsical pieces as you go.
CC: If you were to paint a picture of your Studio, describe what would it look like right now.
JB: An organised mess! One wall draped with a very large sheet of canvas decorated in a kaleidoscope of splashes some of which have found their way to other walls! A table covered in plastic takeaway containers, varnishes and mediums, squirt bottles, jars of well worn brushes and palette knives of all shapes and sizes, the last used tubes and tubs of paint waiting to be put away and replaced with a change of colours. Little bits of this and that that may or may not be used for texture. A stingy window that is never giving me adequate natural light. A cupboard with shelves and drawers that looks somewhat organised with more paints and mediums, a serious looking spray mask, heat gun and halogen lamps that compensate for the stingy window. On another wall sits a well loved english oak antique chest of drawers housing all things to do with watercolour and printmaking. Stacked against it on one side are watercolour paintings I don’t really love that much and haven’t yet decided what to do with them and on the other side rests easels large and small. Strewn across the wooden floor is more drop sheets and black plastic for the more serious spillages. Thrown into the vista is two carpentry horse stools for resting freshly varnished paintings. That’s about it, wait no, lastly but by know means least is a cupboard housing a generously stocked (thankfully) wine rack!
CC: What is your favourite medium to work with and why?
JB: It would most definitely be watercolour. I am in love with it’s translucency, freshness, fluidity, unpredictability and ‘less is more’ nature of the medium. It can produce magical results if you just let it do it’s thing under delicate guidance. It’s is the most challenging medium to work with which keeps you on your toes and good planning often has to happen before you touch the paper, even if it’s abstract watercolour you’re working on.
CC: How do you know when a piece of work or series is finished?
JB: I don’t always know but often when it visually speaks to me or gives back to me. The process of creating a painting can require a lot of mental and emotional energy so when I’m no longer continually thinking about it or when I feel something in return, the more I look at it. Then I guess it’s done.
CC: How difficult is it to discard work that isn’t working?
JB: Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it takes time to come to that decision. What I might consider not to be working someone else loves. This has happened a number of times where I have thought about painting over artwork I’ve finished and then someone decides to buy it. So whenever I threaten to re-do a piece my husband gives me the look. Mostly I refrain but not always.
CC: What is the best advice you have received?
JB: Work with confidence.
CC: do emotions drive or stifle your creativity? Do you do your best work when you are happy? sad? angry?
JB: Both. For me anxiety stifles but sadness can drive. However being in a happy place is energising so I feel that it is the biggest motivator for me and I feel my work mostly reflects that emotion. While painting though, I often experience a range of emotions through the artistic process so it is hard to define which emotion produces the best work