ATMOSPHERIC & EMOTIONAL, CAPTURING THE VERY ESSENCE OF BRITISH LANDSCAPES: INTERVIEW WITH LESLEY BIRCH

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1. Lesley, how would describe your art to someone who has never come across it before ?

My paintings convey my feelings and emotions about places I’ve been to and my experiences. They’re landscape paintings, but are not literal interpretations. They’re full of layers of colour and texture.

2. When and where did you learn how to paint ?

My dad was an architect and I used to frequently watch him whilst he was drawing. In addition, my mother painted and she took me out to Loch Lomond on painting trips.  Later I learned to paint from attending a variety of courses with incredible mentors.

3. You have a personal language of symbols, lines and layering in oil and cold wax medium. How long did it take you to find your style ?

14 years and I’m still developing. You never really stop.

4. What qualities does a view or landscape need in order to make it an interesting subject matter for a painting ?

" The FEELING I have in the landscape is what triggers a painting – sounds around me, the roar of a waterfall, the rustling of trees in the wind and shapes and colours that interest me find their way into paintings. "

Recently, forests have been a big thing because I’m just back from a residency at Stiwdio Maelor, in Corris, North Wales. But I love lochs, lakes and the sea too and have painted on the West Coast of Scotland and in Cornwall.

5. Do you have a favorite place to paint? Why ?

I love to paint outside, especially Cornwall. " I love my studio.  There, I can really be alone and reconnect with my experiences via my sketchbook and my imagination."  Plus I have all the materials easily to hand. And music.

 

6. What elements of the creative process do you find the most challenging ?

Finishing a painting.

7. How do you know when a painting is finished ?

Exactly! It’s a difficult one. Sometimes my paintings sit for years before they are finished.  You know when there is nothing more you want to say.

8. As we understand, music heavily influences you. How do you incorporate music into your practice? What music do you often listen to while you work ?

I don’t consciously incorporate music, but I’m sure it enters in there.

Kate Bush’s album ‘Aerial’ is a constant for me at the moment, as well as William Fitzsimmons the American singer & songwriter.  Oh and James Blake!  I tend to get fixated on one or two artists over a period of time and then I change. 

LESLEY BIRCH

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