Finding inspiration in daily life – Spotlight on painter Beverley Greig
See more of Beverley’s work at: www.BeverleyGreig.artweb.com
Being a painter
Please give us a few words of introduction about yourself
I find it impossible to imagine an activity that more embodies the tension between myself and life than painting. Concepts slowly seep into me through the contemplative and intimate process. I am always in search of meaning and draw my inspiration from the natural secretions of everyday life which serve as signs and signifiers able to evoke our sociological imagination.
When did you decide to pursue painting as a career?
I have always had the desire to be a painter. There is something very magical about paintings and I guess I want a piece of the magic. I want my life to be as enriching as possible and painting my way through life is such a wonderful prospect.
What training did you have?
I completed a BA (Hons) Fine Art (Drawing for Fine Art Practice) with Bath University. That exposed me to the widest definition of drawing and involved many processes but in the end I returned to my first love.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
Completing the BA was very satisfying. I feel ready to walk my own path and I am excited about facing a future doing what I love. I am beginning to focus on entering painting competitions and taking part in some exhibitions. I would like to be represented by a gallery so I shall be working towards strengthening my portfolio.
What’s your favourite quote?
Viktor E. Frankl, ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’
‘Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to chosse a response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.’
Who is your favourite artist?
At the moment the painter Wayne Tiebaud is my inspiration. If there could only be the work of one artist in the world I would have to choose Toulouse Lautrec.
What are you aiming for?
I just want a richer life and to be part of a wider community that gets the same thrill from the visual arts as I do.
How will you get there?
Hard work and perseverance.
Is anything holding you back?
I need to overcome my ‘wallflower’ nature and venture forth with confidence. I also need to remember that I can’t please everyone.
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?
I would like to arouse contemplation in people who view my work. I would like people to use their sociological imagination in order to find some meaning for themselves on their own terms.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
On the whole it is a very slow process incorporating much thinking, many stops and some changes as an idea fully evolves. I research my subject, build the frames, size the canvases, work on the paintings and frame them myself so I am involved from start to finish. A series of paintings can take a minimum of three months to complete.
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
I love music of all kinds but I usually work in silence. If I do listen to music it is something upbeat in the hope that it gives more life to my mark-making.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
My work will always be underpinned by ‘The Significance of Insignificance’ so it will always draw from the natural secretions of daily life. Whatever personal anxiety rises to the surface next I shall respond to.
Being inspired by painting
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
Wayne Tiebaud inspires me because he has personal integrity and courage and he remains true to himself which is difficult to do in the art world sometimes. I am inspired by what I see as pure honesty in the work of Toulouse Lautrec and the sensititivity and spirituality in Rembrandt’s paintings.
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as a painter?
I am inspired by the concept of great significance residing in the overlooked and mundane. Life is a big deal and everything that exists as a trace of a life lived has a powerful impact on me.
What is your favourite work that you’ve produced so far and why?
A painter’s advice
For those thinking about turning a passion for painting into a career, could you give any advice?
Listen to your inner desires and follow them even if others might tempt you off course. Believe in the process as important to you and don’t wait for others to validate your personal desires. You and you alone can make it happen but know that you still need to be an integral part of society in order for your work to be universally powerful.
Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?
Networking. All painters would rather be painting but it is a sad fact of life that if you want your work seen in your own lifetime you have to be active and involved here and now.