Nature and Surroundings – Spotlight Interview with Painter Beverley Rouwen
Please Give Us A Few Words Of Introduction About Yourself
I am Beverley Rouwen, and I live with my husband and two sons in the Kent countryside [England]. My work is inspired by nature, my surroundings and everyday life. I love to feel the paint with my hands and I use a variety of knives, brushes and mediums to get the textures, scratches and marks that gives life to the canvas. Making the canvas is an important part of the process. I play with mood and emotion and it’s achieving the right balance that gives me that final sense of satisfaction. Painting is an addiction and there aren’t enough hours in the day – It brings immense joy and absurd frustration – But I feel very lucky to have this ridiculous compulsion. It is the best therapy – it irons out the wrinkles.
When Did You Decide To Pursue Art As A Career?
My childhood was spent in a village in Rutland where I roamed free with my two sisters. We spent most of the time outdoors living in a fantasy world. Indoors, we got the paints and crayons out so it was a part of everyday life.
After moving to Yorkshire at 14, school was not exactly my favourite place and as a result I left with a smattering of qualifications, but just enough to scrape into Huddersfield Polytechnic where I studied Graphic & Advertising Design. This was a compromise as I dreamed of being a textile designer. My grant was immediately spent on a sewing machine and I made and sold clothes to help with college funds. After graduating I worked for 15 years as a graphic artist and attended Life Study courses at Central St Martins. It was after starting a family that I decided to paint full time.
What Has Been The High Point Of Your Career So Far?
The highest point of my career was selling out at The Affordable Art Fair in Battersea. It doesn’t sound very high-brow but it was a great feeling and gave me the push and confidence I needed. It’s a good discipline to move work around. For example, my painting was rejected in one gallery but accepted as part of a project in the Saatchi gallery.
What’s Your Favorite Quote?
Roger Hilton – ‘The point is a few right colours instead of a hundred and one wrong ones’. I have this scrawled on my studio wall.
Who Is Your Favourite Artist?
Alexander Calder, artist and sculptor who invented the mobile. The mobile at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam is jaw dropping. He never fails to inspire and amaze. I treated myself to a lithograph last year, as the mobiles were rather expensive!
What Are Your Artistic Goals?
Getting an idea to work the way it does in my head with some exciting surprises along the way. Vary projects and hold more exhibitions.
How Will You Get There?
Effective social networking and better time management will help me get the most out of my work. Not getting too distracted and working for consecutive days.
Is Anything Holding You Back?
I find it difficult to make enough time for networking, and hunting for gallery space can be very time consuming. You face your demons with both. Really I just want to hide away and make things.
You and Art
What Feelings Or Reactions Do You Hope To Arouse In People Who View Your
Work? Are You Ever Surprised By Reactions That You Get?
If my work causes interest, that’s a good response. If it’s positive, that’s even better.
From Start To Finish, How Long Does It Take For You To Create Your Work?
I usually have two ideas working at the same time. This forces me to slow down, step back and take an objective viewpoint. It can take anything between 2 weeks to a month to a year to complete.
What Music Do You Like To Listen To When You Work?
Radio 6 Music is my usual choice of music. It depends what the painting mood is. Otherwise it will be anything from a funky playlist to Chinese traditional music. My teenage sons are a great source.
What Are You Working On Next? Any Future Plans Or Projects In The Pipeline
That We Should Look Out For?
At the moment I am exploring art and visual perception. My new surroundings will be my inspiration: boundaries, fields and pattern. I will be taking advice from Piet Mondrian, for his capacity to distinguish subtle differences and degrees of balance and imbalance.
I have also started pottery, which has had an interesting impact, so there may be some collaboration in the future.
Being Inspired By Art
Who (Living Or Dead) Inspires You? And Why?
Barbara Hepworth’s sensuous tactile sculptures are a huge inspiration as they bypass the intellect and aim straight for the heart. She was a woman in a man’s world, a mother of four children working tirelessly at night and achieving international prominence. Howard Hodgkin, Peter Doig and Koen van den Broek are also on the list.
What Feelings, Subjects Or Concepts Inspire You As An Artist?
My work is self-indulgent and I paint to satisfy an urge – so anything that remotely intrigues gets logged and challenged.
What Is Your Favourite Work That You’ve Produced So Far And Why?
My favourite work is ‘Do You Really Understand’. This piece was painted after a walk. The composition and balance worked well and it said what I wanted it to say.
An Artist’s Advice
For Those Thinking About Turning A Passion For Art Into A Career, Could
You Give Any Advice?
Keep the balance of living to paint and painting to live and have a clear idea of what you want to achieve.
Keep asking yourself these Artweb questions. It’s useful to know why and how.
Any Tips On How To Get Your Work Seen And Get The Commissions Coming In?
Art Fairs. Exhibitions. Open Studio. Online Galleries. Social networking: Tweet, Blog, etc. Compare Artist CV’s. Keep website simple. Put yourself out there and get involved.
See more of Beverley’s work at beverleyrouwen.co.uk