Posted by Art2Arts
Visit Caroline Ashwood Artwork
When did you first become interested in painting?
As far back as anyone can remember, I have always drawn pictures and experimented with colour and paint. I was the shy girl at the back of the class who never said Boo to a goose. However, you couldn’t shut me up when it came to expressing myself on paper. Writing, drawing and painting have always been my voice.
When I was eight, I won a Blue Peter badge for a picture I drew and sent in to the TV programme for kids. By the time I left school I was sure I wanted to make my way in the world through creative expression. So, I went to art school in Sheffield.
As a full time artist how do you manage your time?
I am fortunate enough to have a large bespoke studio in my home and this enables me to paint all the time. I am at my most happiest with a brush in my hand.
Did you always know you would become an artist, or did you have other ideas?
By the time I was twenty, I was drawn to London by the prospect of more learning and being in one of the great art capitals of the world. In the late 80s and early 90s, advertising had a high profile in everyday life. People were actually talking about advertising in intellectual terms. I was curious and wanted to learn more. So I enrolled for a HND course in creative advertising. It was great fun and it held the prospect of me making a living from being creative. Not an easy thing to do.
That’s when I got my first big break at M&C Saatchi. Thus, began my award-winning career in advertising. Saatchis was an adrenalin-charged environment open to ideas. Original thought was God. I adored it.
I continued to make a career in the ad industry and worked with some of the best creative directors in the business. But, I noticed something about me was happening. The more I immersed myself in the creative process, the more I wanted to express myself creatively in a different way. I had an urge to pick up a paint brush and paint.
I started painting at every opportunity and people began to buy my work. Then one day, I declared to my family that I wanted to paint for a living.
Your paintings are full of colour and texture, without giving away your secrets how do you create your work?
I am naturally drawn to strong colour and form and particularly inspired by Coral reefs and their fantastical patterns and textures. I introduce washes and interference medium to my work to allow a layer of subtly to move in and around the canvas, creating surrealistic and abstract pieces.
I need to be immersed in my space where the materials I work with are to hand. I like to get physical with the paint and canvas using my hands to work the surface. I swirl the paint around, diluting it, pouring it, continually moving and shifting the artwork back and forth to keep the colours flowing. Eventually I reach the point when the paint seems to take control and I am simply a conduit for pigment and wash. Its like I’ve earned the paints respect and it allows me to share the fun. It’s completely visceral. I like that. I revel in the prospect of the paint surprising me yet again.
You offer a lot of ‘made to order’ artwork so customers can ask for specific requirements; can this be very challenging at times?
I find the ‘made to order’ process highly rewarding. I enjoy the experience of working with my clients, listening to their ideas and really understanding what they would like me to achieve. There is nothing more satisfying than receiving an email from a delighted client that has just received their painting. I love that feeling.
What is the best thing about being a full time artist? And what is the worst?
As a creative person, I am truly at my best when I have a brush in my hand. Being a full time artist enables me to do what I love every day, so I feel very lucky indeed. On the other hand, the constant and self-imposed search to conceive new ideas for my work, can often keep my mind active well into the early hours.
Visit Caroline Ashwood Artwork