MEET THE MEMBER – Wendy Kimberley
When did you start painting?
As a kid I used to draw and write stories. I took and failed ‘A’ level Art which is pretty much as far as my formal training goes.
What led you to start painting AGAIN?
I had cancer in my 30’s. During my recovery I decided to retrain as a nurse to pay back the amazing care I had received in hospital. Training was rewarding but also very hard and stressful. To manage this I started to paint in my spare time – just scenes from my head or sea and landscapes.
How long have you been an Member of the SEAW? What attracted you to apply?
I have taken part in previous exhibitions as it’s nice to be involved in local art events and be part of the artist community.
I love that SEAW is dedicated just to watercolours. It is such an amazing and versatile medium which I think is still somewhat overlooked compared to oils. I love that groups like SEAW are correcting that with wonderful exhibitions packed with amazing artworks.
What subject matter do you like to paint?
I find it really tricky to focus on one subject. I would quite happily paint anything and everything.
I discovered a love of portraiture during lock down painting over 70 NHS portraits. However my main focus is landscapes and places where urbanisation and nature meet.
I completed several urban nature scenes locally in Norfolk featuring motorway bridges and graffiti which reminded me of cave paintings. I became fascinated by these secluded, abandoned places during lockdown. If things had gone the other way during the pandemic and a vaccine not been found, then these giant structures covered with street art would eventually become overgrown and covered with foliage. They may have been the last evidence of us ever being here. I always wonder what archaeologists from the future would make of us. Graffiti is so instant and a constantly changing social commentary of the world around us, so you could probably pin point the date of destruction from it too.
It makes me so sad when I see beautiful fields and landscapes cleared to make way for urbanisation developments. It seems that everywhere you look nowadays more trees are being felled and wildlife and their habitats destroyed. I love the tenacity of nature, that it is always adapting and finding ways to claw back ground. It’s that combination that I like to paint.
Do you have a preference for a painting style? If so, can you describe it?
I suppose my style is sort of a mish mash between impression and realism. I like the mood and atmosphere you can create with monochrome or a limited pallet using texture and mark making to create interest.
Are you a pure watercolourist? Or do you include other mediums in your paintings?
I do use watercolour for sketches and completed works but also like using traditional egg tempera and ink. I also complete a lot of work in acrylic.
I like to work in layers and quite quickly so this allows me to do that.
Where do you paint? At home? Studio? Outside?
I paint mainly in the studio at present though during the summer you are more likely to find me outside painting en plein air. I am very much a fine weather painter as I hate getting cold.
I love painting outside because of the energy and the feel of the place that you can capture in your work. If asked to describe the difference it would be like comparing listening to a music album in your lounge with going to a live concert. Both have benefits but are very different.
Which artists inspire you and why?
Andrew Wyeth, Robert Vickery, Henry Maussion, Turner, Van Gogh, Monet and many others.
I like art works where I can’t quite figure out how they are done. Or the colour pallet used or mark making. The emotion they have managed to capture in paint to connect with the viewer.
What galleries do you like to visit?
The Yare Gallery in Great Yarmouth has rotating exhibitions. Norwich Castle Museum and Sainsbury’s Centre.
The National Gallery in London when I get the chance
Where would you really like to travel to and paint?
Paris to paint the skyline and streets.
America to paint the rocky mountains
What is it about these places that inspires you?
A sense of history and a changing world
What is your favourite colour to paint with?
Monochrome or earth tone such as burnt sienna or yellow ochre
What is your favourite brush?
ROSEMARY BRUSHES all of them.
Flats and filbets
Do you have any artistic successes or achievements that you would like to share with readers?
2022 was the 2nd year I have had a painting included in the Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition at Mall Galleries.
I have been shortlisted for the Sir John Hurt Art Prize two years in a row.
I have had a painting included in the Queen’s Private art collection at Windsor after winning the Windsor and Eaton en plein air competition in 2018.
What is the best piece of advice you were ever given about art?
‘To take myself seriously as an artist.’
It was my first time with Paint out Norfolk and I was trying to price one of paintings to sell. I didn’t like the painting and was comparing it to everyone else’s which is fatal. I was going to price it accordingly. I was at the time suffering from imposter syndrome which I think is common amongst us artists.
Anyway, one of the organisers Sarah, took me to one side and told me how wonderful she thought my work was and that I had a real talent and to basically stop mucking around and take myself seriously. If I didn’t take myself seriously no one else would. It was a real turning point for me and a great confidence boost. It has stuck with me ever since.
My advice is to believe in yourself and to keep going. Your vision for your art as it is as unique and complex as you are.
More Wendy :
Other art societies memberships: NSEAD, SAA
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