Paintings by Nicola Currie

Seeing The Light

Based in Worcester, UK, fine artist Nicola Currie's brilliant paintings illuminate her canvases, reflecting a life-long dedication to her craft. Nicola's considerable expertise and her wide range of classical influences can clearly be seen in her choice of subject, style and media; each piece creatively preserving an exact moment in time. We spoke to Nicola about how she creates her art, her residency at Spetchley Park Gardens and her future ambitions.

Why do you create?

The short answer is that I enjoy it. The longer one is more complex. For me painting knits together my interests, passions, beliefs and creativity.

Today we live in a fast moving society bombarded with visual imagery and communication – sensory overload in a complex world. I strongly believe that painting can help regain the capacity to be still, to gaze and wonder. My subjects are the stuff of everyday life – an egg, a flower, a piece of fruit, an isolated pot discarded in a charity shop.

The ordinary can be extraordinary, it is just a matter of looking.

The ordinary can be extraordinary, it is just a matter of looking. From each ordinary object an idea slowly develops into a painting composition. Which, like a musical composition or dance, brings together colour, rhythm and pattern. Capturing the light in reflective surfaces or even gold leaf in my paintings brings the composition alive.

How and where do you work?

I paint most weekdays in a corner of an attic bedroom where the light is north-facing. As I paint in natural light my summer painting hours are longer than my winter ones but I continue to paint most weekdays outside holiday time.

I am a classically trained painter and use traditional oil paints, mediums and fine linen canvases or panels. My training began at school and my second degree was in art. When I came to specialise in painting, I did courses with Brian Gorst at Malvern Hills College and the Norfolk Painting School.

Nicola in the Studio

What surprises me about working as a painter is that so much of my time outside the painting hours is spent on the administration of selling and promoting my work.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Art was always there at home and has been part of my family’s tapestry. The intense blue in the windows of Chartres Cathedral was one of the things which first inspired me on my artistic journey. When I was a child, my father, who was in textiles, used to bring home samples of fabric designs in different colour palettes and I remember being fascinated by them and how different colour combinations completely changed the effect of the textile patterns. Colour is still my main passion and constant source of joy and exploration. The two other main sources of inspiration are the natural world and different ways of seeing.

Colour is still my main passion and constant source of joy and exploration.

What influences your work?

My work is influenced by an eclectic mixture of sources – music, the Dutch Golden Age, religious art and literature, Japanese prints, the Scottish Colourists, Sorolla and Turner. I often employ some of the techniques of Turner by making widespread use of glazes and different mediums to create a sense of luminosity in my paintings.

Visitors at Spetchley Park Gardens

The majority of my current work is floral and still life work. I am currently Artist in Residence at Spetchley Park Gardens near Worcester and this provides a constant source of inspiration throughout the seasons. The gardens also often provide a colour focus. Last year I started with magentas and pinks which co-incided with the peony season in the gardens and another series in yellows and blues. This is partly because some colours are more prevalent in certain seasons but also because in painting, once I have really explored the complexity of a particular colour combination it gives me an idea for another painting.

A theme I often explore in my paintings is about ways of seeing.

A theme I often explore in my paintings is about ways of seeing. Before I became a full-time painter I was a part-time head of art at a college for the blind and visually impaired. This helped me appreciate even more the many different ways people see and perceive art. The use of images within reflective surfaces in my paintings often hints at the world beyond the painting, an implied story.

Where do you sell your art?

When I started as a painter I sold my paintings primarily through Open Studios and occasional exhibitions. I now sell through art fairs, exhibitions and galleries. Some buyers come through my Instagram and Facebook pages and my website. The majority of my repeat sales come from my mailing list of people who want to be kept up to date with my work.

How do you promote yourself and your work?

In my early life I worked in communications and PR and this has been helpful in working as an artist, particularly in the administration side of the work. However it is through personal contact at exhibitions and shows that has worked best for me.

Sorrento Lemons (part of the blue-yellow series)

Examples of this are exhibiting at the Mall Galleries, London; the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists; Worcester Cathedral and Sixteen Gallery in Cheltenham. I work with two online galleries – White Court Art and Sixteen Online. I see social media as a promotional tool and a place to enjoy the work of fellow artists.

What are your future ambitions?

I keep a book of ideas for paintings and I have more ideas than the time to realise them. My ambitions are to explore some of these ideas and to reach a wider audience of followers and collectors.

Do you have any advice for other artists?

Pursue your dreams to the full and be awake to the reality of the art market.

Many thanks to Nicola for answering our questions. To see more, you can follow Nicola Currie on Instagram or Facebook. Nicola's art is also available to buy from her online shop.
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