August’s Artist of the Month is Lucy Wallace. You will get a wonderful sense of who this talented artist is as she shares her passion and insights in the interview questions below!
Tell us about your art style…the medium(s) you use, the type of art you create and why you choose the subject matter you paint.
My preferred medium is presently soft pastels, although I have used a wide variety of mediums in the past. Soft pastels are pure mineral pigments mixed with a little clear binder (not chalk! – unless from the dollar store) to hold the fine-ground mineral pigments together well enough for an artist to grip in a manageable stick form. Their vibrancy, endurance, and immediacy (no drying time) are the reasons that this oldest of materials has been in constant use over the millennia. Soft pastels, if protected and treated properly, outlast any other medium without fading, peeling, or cracking. The Portrait of the Marquise de Pompadour by Maurice-Quentin de La Tour at the Louvre in Paris, painted around 1750, still looks brilliant, lively and fresh.
The type of art I create is representational. My style can be impressionistic and/or realistic. Soft pastels lend themselves well to an impressionistic style because they are not mixed like oil paints or acrylics, for instance. Coloured pigments are laid down beside each other to achieve an effect, or slightly overlapping, or in whispered layers. It is also possible to get a very fine level of detail in order to achieve a realistic look. But it is virtually impossible to ‘paint over’ when mistakes are made. While it is possible to lift off some of the pigment, it will never lift completely. Also, if too much is applied, the effect of brilliance and the vibrancy are lost. It is this combination of factors, and a many more, that challenges and excites me about the medium.
Someone asked me recently, “what is your genre?” I don’t have a genre. I paint animals, flowers, all manner of landscapes, still life, en plein air, etc. What I do not paint are portraits of people and figures. Although I admire those who do, I had to study this in university and that was enough for me! I paint mostly from photographs, mixing and matching as I see fit. I choose subject matter based on how it strikes me visually, intellectually and/or emotionally, and I try to convey that concept. In the process of painting I am always asking myself – what do you like about this subject – what are you trying to convey?
What inspired you to become an artist? Who or what influenced you in your art?
I studied art in university and although it was not my major, I ended up earning a degree in Studio Art (U of S). I painted until I went back to work, but then it just got too busy and my paints dried up…
When I retired in 2011, I decided to take it up again. I was hoping to achieve the same level of passion and fun that I had had in my career, but I wasn’t sure if that would happen. I tried various mediums and enjoyed getting back into it, but it was not until I took classes with Joan Larson, a master pastellist, that I became head over heels passionate about pastels! It’s the colours, the shine, the effects, the complexity!! I am so very grateful to Joan for her guidance and mentorship.
Do you have a guiding word or thought for creating your art?
Joan says that being artist is about the 3 Ds: Desire, Dedication, Discipline. The Desire to paint in the first place. The Dedication to put the time in and work at it. And the Discipline to learn and apply a good standard of practice. I spend many happy hours almost daily painting in my studio, working the 3 Ds.
For you, what would an ideal studio space be like?
I feel fortunate in saying that my ideal studio space is the one I have now. We live in a home that has a detached one-bedroom carriage home. The bedroom is reserved for guests and the rest is my studio. I have a kitchen, bathroom, sitting space, and studio area. I like that it’s detached from the main house so I’m not tempted to start cooking or put in a load of laundry. And I like at the same time that I can make tea, have a snack and put my feet up, and when I’m done I just lock the door and leave.
I named my studio: L’oeuvre. I like the play on words – remove the first e and it’s Louvre. Not even close except for the spelling!! L’oeuvre means – the work produced and the implied effort to produce it. There’s reality in that for me!
If you could give an emerging or aspiring artist advice, what would it be?
It’s the same advice I give myself: Don’t be too hard on yourself, have fun, and don’t take it too seriously. There is no risk; it’s just paint. If it doesn’t work out, try again or rip it up and move on. Big deal.
What are your artistic goals (or goal) going into the future?
I am thrilled to be a Signature member of Pastel Artists Canada, a member of the Pastellistes de France and Art du Pastel en France. I am also an Active member with FCA. I hope to achieve AFCA designation.
I hope to attend more painting excursions in exciting locations, like southern France, in the future, but truly, there is plenty to inspire me right here at home on this beautiful island. As such, I hope to do a lot of painting en plein air this summer.
You can see more of Lucy’s work on her Facebook page “Lucy Wallace Artwork” or contact her at email@example.com if you are interested in acquiring a piece or two!