Monday, 8 November 2010

Interview with Andrea Carter

Andrea's personality is as colourful and attention grabbing as her paintings.  Standing surrounded by her artwork, it was an absolute joy to chat to Andrea about her life, reason for painting and her inspirations. As it was simply a chat rather than a question and answer scenario, I have written it up as such.

Andrea's adventure with painting came relatively late in life; although a keen artist in school, she didn't pursue painting until 2001.  In was whilst in  Latvia with husband that Andrea had a sudden calling to the world of art she explains it as waking up with the thought "I am going to paint".  Anyone who has witnessed her art will be ever thankful that she had that thought.

Having always suffered from nightmares much of her inspiration is drawn from her dreams, making the process of painting extremely therapeutic.  Indeed her first painting was that of a vampire, swiftly moving on to painting devils including a devil in cyber space!

It was via contacts with her husband's position in the Foreign Office that she was able to get into Latvia's National Academy of Art under Professor Alexander Naumovs where Andrea completed two courses.

Andrea's paintings are dynamic and draw you immediately into the scene, whether that be a field of spiders legs, an alien planet's landscape or the sorrow of a clown. To your taste or not, it is impossible to ignore Andrea's art. Good or bad, an impression is formed and a conversation started.  Surely this is the point of any great painting. When asked about selling her work, Andrea explained how sales are harder to come by in the UK and she has always enjoyed greater success elsewhere especially Bermuda where she lived after leaving Latvia.  However, her main aim is to have people take the time to look at her paintings and if someone likes them then she is ecstatic. "I broke down and sobbed at my first sale and am still humbled when people buy my art".

Looking around Andrea's solo exhibition, I was struck by the diverse range of her paintings; from science fiction to still life, an eerie tree to a Bermudan landscape.  When I asked Andrea about this, she replied that she painted according to what inspired her at the time and refused to be put into a niche, or classification. "Who is to say what style is what? how is one to differentiate?"  In fact at the moment, Andrea is trying her hand at Impressionism through the workshops offered at the gallery with Lynda Daniels.

Working in oils on canvas, many of her paintings take weeks to complete as layer upon layer of paint is applied building up the texture required. However, paintings such as the Aging Warrior took only 2 days.  I was constantly struck by the vividness of her imagination and how she seems more at home painting surreal landscapes or "horror story" pictures.

What came through above all else, was Andrea's passion not only for her own paintings but for art in general. Although not working on anything at the moment, Andrea's need to paint can hit at any moment.  It is impossible to spend any time with her and not be completely enthralled with her personality.

Her exhibition at b Gallery will be running until 4th January. Make a date in your diary to go and see it, you will not be disappointed.

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