Monday, 9 June 2008

ARTIST OF THE WEEK - Louise Balaam

Louise Balaam
I paint intuitively, aiming to capture the feelings of being in the landscape using colour and the energy of gestural brushstrokes.

Money spent on Books is never wasted
Books can take you to amazing places and give you access to other people’s thoughts and ideas.

Favourite living artist?
David Tress – I love the way he handles paint, and the way he engages (in his current show) with the idea of the Sublime, as exemplified by artists such as Turner.

Favourite historical artist?
John Constable – particularly the oil sketches. His work has such tenderness and emotional impact – his love of the landscape really shines through.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
I used to work with clay, and had a hankering to paint, but felt somehow that I wouldn’t be able to do it, in particular that I couldn’t handle colour. Buying my first starter oil paint set felt very daring and somehow illicit!

What place in the world has inspired you?
I love Holkham beach in Norfolk – I think the sense of space is incredible, and the fantastic open sky. The first time I went I was only there for about half an hour – the weather was terrible – did a few quick drawings and then found that the place kept appearing in my paintings.

Last best read?
Wildwood by Roger Deakin – a beautiful exploration of his feelings for trees and their place in the landscape.

Who would you say buys your work?
People who engage emotionally with it – might be men or women, but they make a connection with something in the painting which has meaning for them.

Where and what is your studio?
My current studio is at home, after my previous studio (a shared barn) was sold. It would be lovely to have more space and a floor which would take more punishment, but it does have the advantage of being warm, cosy and has all my books in it. I can also work at night, which I often do, with Radio 4 and the World Service for company. Painting is a very solitary activity for me.

Do you have a good work/life balance?
I do some teaching which I find a good balance to the isolation of painting – it’s not too stressful and stops me getting too self-indulgent!

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?
When it’s going well, it’s a different kind of consciousness, like a trance.

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