Tell us a little bit about yourself...
Hi! I’m a 37-year-old fine artist; mum to Persephone; based in Yorkshire; originally from beautiful Devon and a citizen of the world!
How did your journey begin into becoming a professional artist?
I began my career as a theatrical scenic artist, I was apprenticed to an amazing female artist who taught me a huge amount, I worked incredibly hard and was very lucky to be part of some fantastic events, musicals, Ballet, the Olympic opening ceremonies were a real highlight.
What steps did you take to get the career you have today?
To switch my career to fine art took a huge amount of confidence which I never really had! When I become a mother life changed enormously. I tried to maintain my career within theatre but it became increasingly obvious my change of circumstances was the perfect time to be bold and pursue something different. We were living in Asia when I first began to show my own work. It was an incredibly gratifying experience as the work found a place in people’s hearts very quickly and my confidence took a much-needed boost!
What is the best part of being an artist?
I love painting! The very act of mixing colour, experimenting with marks and shapes give me huge joy. Painting is a panacea for an essentially very anxious soul. It helps me make sense of the world and who I am within it. I’m hugely grateful for that; and I love the idea I am able to make a career from a creative life. My niece is always telling people she wants to be an artist when she grows up, she believes it’s possible to follow a creative path successfully because she sees me do it, which makes me immensely proud!
Your work is heavily inspired by skies and truly immerses the viewer to feel that sense of vastness, uniqueness, wholeness, and complexity of our great mother nature. How did you find this to be your niche and to pursue it?
I began my sky series when we first moved to Singapore; I was immediately struck by a city existing in the clouds. Everyone lived/worked/socialised in sky-high buildings, this dramatic Asian climate, so palpable with daily thunderstorms, exotic cloud formations punctured by sky high architecture. The clouds became a preoccupation as I observed, in this world in the sky, everyone was too busy to actually look. The value of my work as a mindful, calming edition to people’s homes revealed a deep need within my clients to lose themselves daily within the beauty of nature.
You must remember the day where the very first person paid for your very first piece of professional work. Can you remember what it was and how this felt?
It was the most validating experience. To know someone felt so deeply about my work they were willing to give it house space made me overwhelmed with emotion. Every sale I make is the same. It’s an absolute honour to be chosen to grace someone’s walls!
How do you get inspiration for your work?
I work with images and photos from all over the world. Often a piece is an emotional response to a separate stimulus too. A poem, song, or folktale that moves me often becomes a starting point for a new piece.
What steps do you take to maintain a sense of wellbeing in your everyday?
I’m a complicated soul with a intensely oscillating sense of contentment. My work is my main leveller, the tool I use to keep me constant. I try to maintain a daily yoga practice which I find hugely beneficial. Small acts of self care are important to me, a five minute chat with my Mum or a squeezey cuddle from my daughter go a long way!
Being creative is such a fundamental part of being human and gives us so many benefits, from confidence to improving our cognition to name but a few! What advice would you give to others who want to begin their fine art journey but are not sure where or how to start?
Find your voice, hone your craft, and paint with integrity. Creating work with only a commercial edge without truly believing in it will only get so far. Taking time to become good at what you make, to understand your medium, and to look a what you do with a truly critical eye means the work will speak for itself. Working with Galleries and art fairs is key for me but many artists are able to promote themselves independently. Either path only works when the onus of the artist is a creative expression with meaning. And try not to compare yourself to other artists!
What have been your most favorite pieces you’ve created and what makes a piece feel meaningful to you?
I’m extremely critical of my own work so find these questions tricky! All the pieces have an important meaning for me, they’re all a snapshot of a particular moment of my journey, each unique to its moment.
The global pandemic of coronavirus has changed our world so much. Finally, as a whole, we began to re-connect with nature and see its value again. What lessons did you learn during the lockdown and what do you hope we hold onto in our future?
Perhaps its a cliche but the quarantine had certainly made me appreciate very simple things. We’ve become very wholesome... growing vegetables, nature walks. As a family, we’ve spent more time together than ever before. In some ways, it’s been a gift to have so much time with the people I love. Everyday I’m astonished at the size of the sunflowers Persephone and her dad have grown!
What does your working day look like?
I have a little studio ritual where I light a candle (if I can get one an @templecandle from Singapore!)
And I set an intention before I begin. I usually spend an hour or so on admin and then I launch in. I like to have at least two paintings on the go at once. They take weeks to complete so I like to give my brain the luxury of skipping from one to the another!
What keeps you motivated?
Practically, painting is my job, I don’t have the luxury to paint only when I feel like it, its the thing I do to make a living. But it’s also the thing I do to express myself, calm myself and make sense of the world, it’s a joy and I’m aware of how lucky I am.
What do you wish to see more of in the world?
Empathy. It would make such a difference. And I’d love for there to be more encouragement for young people to consider the arts a ‘proper’ career.
What’s your happy place?
Eating cheese and drinking wine with the people I love!
Follow @charlotteelizabethfineart to support Charlotte's journey and admire her incredibly beautiful work at www.theartofcharlotte.com.