In this artist interview, Lynda Minter shares with us her artistic process, ideas and inspiration. To see more of Lynda’s work, please visit her online gallery.
Editor’s note: This interview was lightly edited for length and clarity.
Being an artist
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I am a London-based artist who has an interest in capturing impressions of how the landscape and cityscapes appear in a fleeting moment, bringing to life the complexity of how light and colour transforms shapes and mood which I find exciting.
My colourful palette combining thick brushstrokes with rich colour captures the vivacity of Britain’s varied landscape. Over my long career, I’ve recorded the ever-changing skyline of London parks and the river Thames.
When did you decide to pursue painting as a career?
I have always drawn and painted since I was a child. Painting just came instinctively to me. I trained at St Martin’s School of Art in sculpture, and then I found myself enjoying colour, which I could not do as much with sculpture. So I started learning watercolours, and then found myself painting in oils which I taught myself.
What training did you have?
After I left St Martin’s, I spent several years going to night school as I had to earn a living [during the day]. I attended The Slade School of Art and did a Summer course in life painting. I am always learning and every now and then I apply to do a workshop as one learns so much from other artists. I also go to many exhibitions and galleries which I find very stimulating
What has been the high point of your career so far?
I have had several high points in my career, but one which I will treasure is my solo show in 2008. There were at least five or six Royal Academicians at my private view. Another highlight was the invitation to be artist in residence at the River & Rowing Museum in Henley. I was given a wonderful large space to display my large 6 footer Thames paintings, one of the Diamond Jubilee, which is part of the Museum’s collection.
What’s your favourite quote?
There are many, but I will quote two.
From a book by Martin Gayford on Hockney, he quotes, ‘It’s all about mark making, isn’t it?’
By Ivon Hitchens: ‘I paint life as I see it, hear it, feel it, smell it, and think it.’
Who is your favourite artist?
What are you aiming for?
Excellence. I keep painting because I always think my next painting will be better. I am aiming for recognition and giving joy to those who have purchased my paintings and future buyers. As walls without paintings is like being in an empty shell.
How will you get there?
By working hard going for any opportunities that come my way. Creating opportunities such as registering with ArtWeb for a wider audience
Is anything holding you back?
No, it’s only time. As painting, promoting, photographing and cataloging my work is all time consuming, I work a 7-day week.
You and painting
What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who view your work? Are you ever surprised by reactions that you get?
Often people cry in front of my paintings or when they have just brought them as they bring out an emotional response. That’s why I can identify with Van Gogh — he put all his passion and love into his art and it shows.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
How long is a piece of string? Some paintings, even the small ones, take a while to come off and others just do. I am very self critical and no doubt have destroyed paintings that others might have liked. I was about to recently throw out some work when an artist whom I respect stopped me from doing so. That painting is now in my exhibition ‘Lynda Minter’s London’.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
Usually I listen to Radio 3, but often I will listen to easy listening music on YouTube or an audio book; it all depends. If I am doing a romantic view, then I will put on music by Rachmaninoff
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
I live in Fulham and I find there is so much subject matter on my doorstep that I find inspiring.
Being inspired by painting
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
I enjoy looking at the brushstrokes of Bomberg and the colours of Monet and the brushstokes and mark making of Van Gogh, particularly his sepia drawings.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as a painter?
I always loved nature. Still life does not appeal to me. I need to be out feeling the air around me. I love the sea and have done many paintings of Pembrokeshire coastline as well as Cornwall. Recently during lockdown, Wimbledon Common has been an inspiration to paint as we have had all the seasons, even snow!
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
I think my skies are my favourite works as often they are painted from memory and imagination. Recently flowers, particularly wildflowers, as they provide an element of natural abstraction which I find exciting.
An painter’s advice
For those thinking about turning a passion for painting into a career, could you give any advice?
Learn the techniques first in mixing colours and draw. For many years I just did lots of sketches and hardly touched a brush. I always had a sketch book with me — marvelous as a travelling companion.
Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?
Have a good website with clear images. Join local art groups and societies. Exhibit when you can. Enter exhibitions but be selective as it can run off with a lot of money when you haven’t got a chance of getting in. Online galleries will not completely replace going to galleries, but they are the future. Therefore, be selective on which online galleries you choose to have work represented.
See more of Lynda’s work.