Wednesday, July 1, 2009

An interview with Jean Ramsdale

Q – Could you introduce yourself briefly to the readers?

Hi, my name is Jean Ramsdale. I live in Highworth just outside Swindon, with my husband Bill, grandson Chris, Max the dog and Scooby the rabbit.

Q - How did you become interested in art?

I have a disablement, so I became involved with a group called
Living Options who gave me the opportunity to take a course in painting in Acrylics. I joined a course run by a most inspiring international artist called Susanna Bailey; she has been such a good friend and an enormous help to me through all my trials and tribulations.

Alone - Acrylic painting by Jean Ramsdale

Q - What inspires you most as an artist?

What has inspired me the most about being an artist is being able to help others to learn how to paint. This I do by jointly running a group which teaches disabled people how to paint, with the help of very good friends and colleagues. The look on their faces when they finish a painting is inspiration enough.

Q - What is your favourite medium or media? Why?

I choose to paint mostly in acrylics as it is a very forgiving media, the colours are amazing and they also dry quickly.

Autumn Beauty - Acrylic painting by Jean Ramsdale

Q - Could you tell us some more about your work?

I love bright colours: reds, yellows oranges, the colours of sunsets which I paint frequently... Recently, I have been painting autumn colours in the shape of trees in arboretums; they are so versatile and have so many beautiful colours. Of course there has been the odd landscape and also I have developed a love of seascapes, especially the shapes and movements of the waves.

Q - How would you define your style?

I think that I have a very unique style to my work, as most artists do. I am both precise and definite; it has to be right before the signature goes on.

Tranquil Lake - Acrylic painting by Jean Ramsdale

Q - What are your influences; artists from the past or present who inspire you?

I have found that Monet, when going through a particularly bad patch artist’s block, was the artist that put me back on the road; again his way of painting with dashes and small marks has helped me several times.

Q - How do you choose the subjects of your works?

Either from a photograph or it just comes to me. I have painted a few works from sketches but mostly, if I find a picture I like, I go ahead with it.

Q- How do you prepare yourself for an exhibition or a show like the Open Studios?

By using a theme and hopefully sticking to it and then panic at the end.

Q- Did you take part into the Swindon Open Studios in the past?

This is my first open studios I am really looking forward to it.

Q - Are there territories (media, subjects, etc.) you want to explore in the coming years?

I really want to conquer watercolour. It really is a most difficult media and very unforgiving, I have also started using inks and mixed media: watercolour with pastels, inks with acrylics. It is interesting to see what effect you can gain from it.

Q - As an artist, what would be your dream?

I am sure it’s “everyone’s”: just to be recognised, to paint that picture that stands you apart from everyone else and to have that idea that is just yours that really works and makes a difference.

Q - Could you share one thing that you have learnt in your own art practice that would be useful to other artists?

Just to keep working at it. We all know how hard it can be, but you don’t get anywhere if you give up on it.

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