Artists on show all over Sudbury
- Credit: Gregg Brown
Every year artists who belong to Suffolk Open Studios open their studios to the public over the weekends in June. Four artists talk about themselves and their Art About Town in Sudbury
Carol Saunderson became an artist via a circuitous route. She painted from childhood, and after leaving school went to art college in Cambridge, but then decided to do a science degree and ended up working in research for ten years.
“At that point I decided that I really wanted to give it a try as a painter. I sold a piece of work to a friend, who took it to a gallery to be framed, whereupon the owner got in touch and asked if I would like to show some work there. Shortly afterwards I took a studio at an arts centre with another artist and worked there for many years, exhibiting with more and more galleries as time went on.
“Abstract landscape probably describes my style, although I sometimes produce more realist paintings too. My work is loosely and energetically painted. I build up the pictures using numerous layers and there is a real emphasis on colour. I am fascinated by colour and the way that it interacts to create mood and atmosphere in a painting.
“My main source of inspiration is the landscape. I grew up in a farming family and have always been an outdoor girl. I walk twice a day with my dog in the countryside surrounding the village and am always looking, observing the day-to-day changes in the hedgerows and fields and the effects of the light on the landscape. The Suffolk countryside is beautiful and so is its coastline - I often take trips over to Aldeburgh, Thorpeness and Dunwich for inspiration.”
Carol admires many mid-20th century artists and designers, especially the work of Vanessa Bell, Ivon Hitchens and John Nash, and the paintings of contemporary artist Barbara Rae.
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“Art has always been a love of mine, although I didn’t go to art college, I did go to Evendine Court to do Cordon Bleu cooking, which is an art form too. Cooking took over my life until about eight years ago and I started painting my hens in the garden. Friends saw them and wanted to buy them, so this encouraged me to paint more. Finding a company to put my images on heat resistant glass and melamine led to the table ware collection.”
Claire’s style is loose, colourful and flamboyant.
“I’m always taking picture of hens and cockerels – they are so different and the colours amaze me sometimes. The Suffolk countryside is very inspirational, with colours and especially skies. All my paintings have names, and being out and about triggers suitable names.”
Claire admires, many artists – local ones such as Margaret Glass with her pastels, Sylvia Paul with her acrylics, Jackie Jones with her watercolour horses, Halima Washington-Dixon with her still lifes, and Tessa Shedley Jordan.
She has recently finished a large watercolour painting called Hen Party, which is now a work top saver.
“Prints can be made from it and I have someone planning to have it has a splash back behind their Aga.”
Brin Edwards says he drew obsessively as a child and unlike most children, never stopped.
“I studied biology at university and thought for a while I might be a scientist, but all the time I kept drawing and painting the natural world. Eventually I started to get some illustrations published and that in turn led to gallery exhibitions.
“My style is colourful and contemporary. The images of birds are slightly abstracted with an emphasis on pattern and bold flat areas of colour without fussy detail. I love the gentle Suffolk countryside, particularly the coast, where much of the inspiration for my pictures of ducks and wading birds come from.”
Brin admires Francis Bacon, Howard Hodgkin Patrick Heron, Eric Ennion and enjoys opening up his studio.
“It’s nice to meet people – my job is quite solitary and feedback is always welcome. After all these years I still get a buzz when people see something in my work which speaks to them. My studio is quite unusual in that it’s made of straw bales and I’m quite used to spending most of the time talking to people about that!”
Brin is currently doing some illustration work of seabirds for the RSPB as well as working on paintings for galleries such as the Pinkfoot Gallery in Cley and Cambridge Contemporary Arts. His next project is a big canvas of a muddy cauliflower field full of jackdaws, rooks, magpies, wagtails and song thrushes sketched on a recent trip to Cornwall.”
Cara Emma Fenwick
“Art runs in my family,” says Cara Emma Fenwick – with a wood engraver grandfather, Robert Gibbings, and fine art painter mother, Joan Lever Gibbings, as well as artistic sister, it became a natural progression in her life.
She describes her style as ‘unique abstract modern sculptures and paintings’.
“Although my degree was ceramics at Camberwell, I have moved to sculptures to develop the forms and spacial concepts. I discovered a new found freedom as I was no longer limited by kiln size. I love working with flatforms and evocative spacial concepts and playing with two-dimensional forms of three-dimensional objects. I have developed a particularly recognisable style.
“I am excited by colour in abstract form and ethnic design, and am currently continuing all these themes in my paintings. Life is one big inspiration. Wherever I go I try to look at things ‘outside the box’ and then relate them to simplistic shapes and forms. I try to be unique, however, some artists are definitely on the same wavelength as me!”
Cara loves the work of Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Mark Rothko, Klimt, Klee and Kandinsky, and is inspired by her county as well as further afield.
“I was born in Suffolk and love living here and appreciate the seasons, particularly the amazing sunsets and the vast open skies that cast beautiful light and shade. This chiaroscuro brings me to Italy where I lived for about nine years, and certainly the sun and amazing colours of the Mediterranean sea there had a profound influence.
“I love bright lively colours for painting and the contrast of light and shade for many of my sculptures”