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Floral Chicken Art – Sunday Artist Interview

Sunday’s have never been the same again since I started these around 6 months ago! I have luckily had lots of very willing artists to interview and have a list of more as long as my arm – so here’s today with Gail of Floral Chicken Art to tell us a little bit about herself and her work…

First of all, who are you?

I’m Gail, by day (or at least four days a week) I work as an occupational therapist in community neurological rehabilitation in the wonderful institution of the NHS. But my other love is creating as Floral Chicken Art. I have always loved making and love learning new things, and trying different media and crafts. My work now consists of drawings in a variety of media – ink and watercolour, coloured pencils and digital, and stitched images, both hand and machine.  I also love writing little back stories for some of my drawings

When you were asked (all those years ago!), “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  What did you answer?

At the ripe old age of 58 I can’t quite remember! My mother and sisters were all nurses, and I do remember knowing enough about the less glamorous aspects to not want to follow them! My main memories are of what I didn’t want to do!

What is the funniest thing as an artist that has ever happened to you?

When I first started using coloured pencil, I was drawing a friends cat, and because I hadn’t realised the importance of a sensible base drawing, I drew a definite frankencat!  I kept a photo of it as it still makes me laugh. And no I can’t show you! This is more successful:

What is the hardest part of being creative?

I often get a bit stuck in my own head, and it’s so hard not to think everything I do is rubbish. And I think like writers, the blank page piece of fabric can be intimidating even though I’m desperate to make something.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Don’t expect to create like a master straight away! Be patient with yourself, and try not to be harsh when things don’t match the image in your head. Take a more learning approach so you can think about what did work as well as what didn’t. My terrible cat drawing had a beautiful eye in amongst the bits that went wrong. And mistakes have a lot to teach us, if we don’t see them as failures.

What subjects inspire you?

Animals, birds, especially chickens of course, and my cats. 

Who are the 3 greatest living artists in your opinion? (they don’t have to be famous!)

I don’t know if they are the greatest, but their work brings me joy and inspiration.

Katy Rundle is a fantastic textile artist who I first saw on Landscape artist of the year last year and have since followed her on instagram. Her use of colour and pattern is vibrant and inspiring.

Laura Boswell is a talented printmaker using Lino and woodblock to create the most beautiful romantic landscapes, her skill and artistry blow me away.

Sam Cannon, such a beautiful painter of animals and nature.

Who are the 3 greatest dead artists in your opinion?

This and the last question are hard, because it will vary according to I how feel on the day!

I know it’s a cliche, but I love Van Gogh.

I find sculpture awe inspiring and fascinating, particularly how the tools produce such detail and movement. So I love statues and carvings that you find in cathedrals and churches both stone and wood, and they are not always attributed but I think most of the creators are dead!

I also love gardens (of the kind larger than my back garden) and see them as living works of art, often established by gardeners long dead. One of the most memorable gardens I have visited is the lost gardens of Heligan, but I also love the walled garden at Greys Court near Henley.

What is your favourite work of art you have ever produced?

I think it has to be my first, and only portrait.

What was the last piece of art you sold?

Some stitched coasters which are a Christmas gift, so no pics yet! But my digital drawing of Pirate Ginge printed on a bag sold last week.

And finally… Because this is really important….

What’s the best type of cheese?  (haha)

I love a good mature cheddar, and Cornish Cruncher is a particular favourite.

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