From Shamanic journeys deep into the subconscious to the special properties of silver in protecting people from the great plague, this week I chat to artist Gill Walton about some of the intriguing processes and techniques that she uses in making her work.
Gill talks about the DNA of an artists and the challenges of balancing motherhood with being an artist and how she came back to art later in life finding a new love of painting through studying the work of the great masters such as Van Dyck, Caravaggio and Gentileschi – all great Baroque artists with a strong narrative in their work . By taking their work as inspiration and studying their use of light and colour, she finds new and contemporary ways to apply their processes to create a theatrical ‘stage’ within the canvas that has a current perspective yet keeps the dramatic and poetic overtones of their approach.
Colour features strongly in Gill’s work having studied closely the work of the Scottish colourists and how using bold, sometimes opposing colours can create tension or a striking sense of drama. Works such as ‘China Girl’ and ‘Willow’ that were inspired by performers in the Peking Opera with elaborate costume.
Ever wondered why things look better in odd numbers and how when decorating there’s a balance of shapes that just feels right? Gill reveals how she uses the sacred geometry of Fibonacci’s spiral to compose paintings and lead the viewer’s eye through the work. She talks about how she builds stories from her dreams into her work yet leaves room for the viewer to build their own story through the use of Jungian archetypal symbolism to embed messages within her work.
We discuss the challenges of following a career as an artist, how the time and energy needed to allow creative thought, for the trail and error it takes to develop creative ideas thoroughly, can’t be seen and often isn’t recognised or paid for.
In this difficult year of the Covid Pandemic, Gill talks about how this has affected her way or working, how there is a kind of subconscious connection to art from the time of the Black Death and that the confined physical and social space has changed the scale and shape of her work. She talks about how her usual baroque style and bright colours just didn’t seem to feel right and that she wasn’t even sure if she would be able to paint. She found herself going back to monochrome drawing in graphite pencil – smaller and simpler “just people and just emotion”
You can see more of Gill’s work in our Art Room and her latest work will be featured in our virtual Winter Show opening in mid November on the website.
You can listen to the full podcast here and please do remember to leave a review if you enjoy it!
*All images courtesy of Gill Walton.