Ellie Jakeman is an artist deeply connected to her home town of Blackpool. After studying at Blackpool School of Arts and Manchester Metropolitan University, Ellie became a teacher, developing curriculum across Textiles through to Fine Art. Ellie tells us about her processes of creating a painting, work as a freelance artist and studio life in Blackpool.
Q: Can you tell us about your Artistic background/education?
I come from a very creative family. My parents sang together when they were younger, my sisters sing and my nephew and niece both sing. My older sister is also a practicing artist as is one of my nephews.
I remember telling everyone at the tender age of 4 that I was going to be an artist when I grew up! My strong interest in the visual and creative arts never waned, but became even stronger in later years. I completed with great success ‘A’ level Fine Art, City and Guilds, Foundation Diploma, (BA hons) Degree (Manchester MET) and Teacher training, channeling my enthusiasm and passion for all aspects of the arts in many subject specific areas.
Q. Do you work in a studio or from home?
I am fortunate to have a studio at home, which I use every day. I have three stations, Painting, Textiles and Illustration. However around the periphery are shelves and boxes stacked high with an an eclectic mix of books, shells, seaweed, rocks, old crockery, threads and fabrics, interesting finds from walks, etc.
Q. Who are your Art Influencers? inspirations?
I gleam inspiration from all things, nature being my biggest passion. I literally photograph and sketch everything, the intentional and the incidental, the languid line and the architectural and structure of trees and plants, organic line and formations, light passing through petals and leaves, cast shadows, dappled light, buds, blooms, the journey of colour across a petal or leaf. Birds and their plumage. Animals and of course the human form.
I have again been incredibly fortunate to have visited the most amazing Art Galleries and exhibitions of my favourite artists around the world which has been a constant inspiration and incentive to produce my own work.
Particular favourite artists include Lucian Freud, Jenny Saville, Alan McGowan, John William Waterhouse, Edward Hornel, Alphonse Mucha, John Ruskin, J. M. W. Turner. Adolph Bouguereau, John Singer Sargent, Nick Alm, Mary Cassat, Claire Basler, Kathe Kollwitz, Bridget Riley etc.....
Q. What helps get you in "the zone'? music? out in nature? quiet?
I love the quiet of my studio. If I do play instrumental music particularly soft piano or nature sounds.
Q. Do you still keep a sketchbook?How often do you use it and do you travel with it?
I have used a sketchbook in various forms for over 45 years they are essential for capturing thoughts, ideas, testing out techniques, mixed media, developing designs, reflecting, journaling. I have been known to sketch on, envelopes, napkins any piece of paper in front of me. I do travel with my sketchbook as I very often sketch on site.
Q. Where does a piece of work begin for you? Can you describe your process?
I usually find inspiration whilst out in nature, so I take many photographs of organic and natural forms, plants, shells, trees etc. If I have my sketchbook, I will sketch on site then continue investigating colour, texture, line and composition in my studio
Q. What technique do you prefer to use?
I am fortunate to have an arsenal of artistic skills under my belt as being an Art and Design lecturer for over 20 years has enabled me to try many techniques. My favourite media is compressed charcoal and inks when working on organic subjects and the human form. I do use watercolour and acrylic paints when creating work for my commissions.
I love working on a large scale for community murals especially in hospitals or our local hospice. Being transported into a beautiful space filled with colours and light can help patients and visitors and even the nurses escape the sadness of illness for a while.
Q. What are your most important artists tools?
I have an utter weakness for brushes, I have a lot of paint brushes! However I am equally at home working in inks using a kabab stick or twigs. Sometimes experimenting with unconventional equipment can produce surprising results.
I used to run a brush making class with my students which they loved and then they had to use them to create textures, very creative and fun.
Q What are your favourite materials?
Winsor & newton, Daler Rowney, Golden and Liquitex Watercolours, Inks , Acrylics and Compressed Charcoal. I do like using mixed media on more flowing pieces and try to explore paper surfaces.
Q. What are you currently working on?
I have upcoming murals to design and paint, I am always making hand made cards, and commissions are on going and then in the new year I am thinking about a series of related paintings, challenging organic scale and using an analytical eye to make them semi abstract.
Q. Where can we see more of your work online or in person?
Instagram : elliej_rosebird_studios
I am also excited to start our collaboration with Watercolour Wednesdays on ARTdiscount platforms!
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