ARTIST INTERVIEW WITH ROBERT GUEST FROM ARTGALLERYSW
I began by asking her how would she describe the essence of her work?
A dreamy, curious reflection on our inner landscapes, memories, nostalgia and the world behind the old creaky door.
What are you inspired by and what is your current inspiration?
Depth Psychology, inner mythologies, the natural world, animism and a good folk story.
Can you tell us about the influence of other artist’s upon your practice?
I am currently enjoying the work of UK contemporary artist Dean Melbourne. His visceral painterly pieces inspire me especially their primal nature and wildness.
I love the symbolist painter Odilin Redon’s work, some of his pieces are so enchanting, some mysterious, some grotesque and some just so very beautiful. He wanted to
“place the visible at the service of the invisible”
There is an enigmatic quality in both these artists work that inspires me. Nothing is really answered and your imagination can continue it’s own narrative.
What is your artistic background?
I am fortunate to have been born into a family that encouraged creativity for the joy of its process. My parents were ever resourceful (nothing thrown away) so as children we had a wealth of materials to explore artistically and that mixed with growing up rurally the need to make your own fun meant I spent many a day drawing and making.
I studied art at college and have continued drawing and making throughout my twenties and thirties taking art commissions and teaching art alongside writing, recording music and performing with folk duo Crow Puppets.
Over recent years my songwriting and painting have gradually become more symbiotic, one can inspire the other through the images which emerge.
Is drawing from life and the practice of keeping a sketchbook essential to the development of your work?
I love drawing and have kept a sketchbook to note ideas, recording memories through sketch, doodling and writing since I was small. I particularly love doodling while I’m on the telephone (although this did get me in quite a lot of trouble once when I had a office/telephone job)!!
I enjoy seeing the images that can emerge when you turn your thinking analytical mind off and something spontaneous is created. Sometimes these doodles are reused within paintings.
What media do you use and do you have a favourite?
I’d love to say I use oils but I don’t anymore – they give me nasty headaches … but thankfully there is a world of other mediums to use. Here are just a few I have been using recently.
I love inks-fantastic for drips, splodges, splashes and lines.
Acrylic- great for colour mixing and adding textures.
Japanese Watercolours- great for soft colours and details.
Charcoals- great for drawing over painted pieces to bring out certain images within the paint.
Can you explain more about your work Boo!, your creative process and the inspiration for this work?
I am fortunate to have spent a few months in Northern California. I spent much time whilst I was there painting in a studio on the edge of the Inverness ridge. I felt a deep reverence for the Native Americans relationship to the natural world and their depiction of animals and spirits in their creations.
During my time there I was also inspired by the bay painters such as Elmer Bischoff for their exquisite use of colours and brushwork.
Boo was painted during this time. It is a joyful reflection of that playful spirit within us that can bring us back to live in the freedom of the moment.
Your serene and joyful work Emergence depicts a small sleeping creature that has been revealed by the opening of a flower. Can you tell us more about this work?
I love this painting. It explores those moments when something new within our
psyches is growing and developing within us blossoming into our lives.
In your semi abstract work Tangled Nest you use a variety of media: acrylic, charcoal, pastel and inks. Can you explain more about your painting process and the application of other media alongside paint?
Tangled Nest took a long time, many layers of paint and different mediums before I instinctively new it was finished. The final image was totally unexpected and led me to consider how the shelters and nests we construct in our lives can sometimes cause stagnation. If we knew the journey ahead it would be hard to stride out and take it, perhaps we would fail to do so at all. However, staying close to shelter, to the place we know best, the warm protective nest can prevent us from our own progress. Like the fledgling bird we must learn to fly. To spread our wings, take to the skies and unravel the knots intertwined in our being.
MELISSA GRACE (Melissa is an intuitive reader, dream interpreter, and energy worker who has been involved in the healing arts for more than 20 years.)
As a Jungian and a mystic, I am very drawn to Cara’s work and especially appreciate these insights into her paintings. I particularly love the “Tangled Nest.” There is something so viscerally spiritual about this painting. The transcendent quality of it leaps off the page and into my consciousness. I very much enjoyed and can relate to her awareness that nests can constrict growth as much as they foster it. What a splendid artist–and human!
It’s good to read this interview about Cara’s extraordinary work. There’s a lot here I didn’t know about. She has a growing number of fans: she’s illustrated a number of books I’ve written, and wherever I travel readers always speak of their delight at her art. She tunes the whole book up. But there is far more than conventional illustrations here – this is art on its own terms, a whole world, an eco-system, a psychic landscape exquisitely rendered. She is immensely gifted and interest in what she’s creating will only grow.
Cara’s art work truly captures the creative flow and magic of childhood with the sophistication of a deeply spiritual and evolved conceptual perspective. She has a unique quality to her work that is immediately recognisable as her own and it has been wonderful to see how she has developed as an artist over the years.