Interview with the Artist: Bridget Lansley

  • Bridget Lansley
  • Bridget Lansley
  • Bridget Lansley
  • Bridget Lansley
  • Bridget Lansley
  • Bridget Lansley
  • Bridget Lansley

We caught up with artist Bridget Lansley ahead of her summer exhibition at the Fosse Gallery in Stow in the Wold

You’re from a family of artists. How has your background shaped the art you make today?

My mother painted and I grew up in a home with art around. When I was very young I visited Washington DC with my parents, and I suspect a trip to the Mellon Gallery had a huge impact…the vividness of colour, shape and form, introducing me to the endless possibilities of the visual arts. My sister became a professional artist from the start, which no doubt also contributed to the ease and comfort I felt with painting, though I was a much later starter than her. 

You previously worked in publishing. Tell us about the transition to painting.

The well-known difficulties making a living as an artist, if not copying my sister, lead me to earning a living in publishing - eventually becoming one of the founders of London Portrait magazine. Its success enabled a return to my first love and my life as an artist.

The turning point whilst painting in watercolours was attending The Lydgate Research Centre started by Robin Child.  My passion was to paint in oils and through many challenging and exciting courses with him my career as an artist evolved.

How did you arrive at your distinctive ‘simplifying’ style, with its carefully controlled palette?

I’m not sure it is ever easy to explain the journey to any particular point, much less the impact on others of what eventually appears on the canvas. All I know is the mood and atmosphere I looked for at thirty-five had profoundly changed by forty-five and is ever-evolving. It is only when I look back at my earlier paintings that I see the how my 'simplifying’ style is still in evidence but I am constantly wanting to be less defining.

Like Turner said to Ruskin - ‘ I never lose an accident.’ I would like to feel that I could achieve this too!

Your love of the Scottish countryside (and its shooting season) is evident from many past works. Can you tell us about your connections with the country?

My childhood in Oxfordshire with holidays in Dorset and Devon I think provided the starting point for my love of the countryside - [as for] my passion for the outdoors, I started early. Visits to my grandparents in Devon provided a high point - the kaleidoscope of the passing countryside with its flashes of colour might have started my thinking about the countryside. Whilst walking across miles of hills and moors in Scotland, I was motivated by the space and colours but also by the gait of the sportsman in front of me.

Is the way you approach a still life different from how you tackle other subjects?

I enjoy still life with its opportunity to focus on shape and colour and - whilst its more difficult to evoke mood - achieving impact is satisfying. My figurative works offer a different challenge. Capturing the mood of a scene and the posture of people within it provides endless fascination.

Tell us about the works that will be featured in your new solo show at the Fosse Gallery.

Being offered a Summer Show inspired me to think of colour. It has been my most considered and important feature in all my paintings. My palette has given me huge excitement and challenge in balancing the colourful figure paintings for my Solo Show, from the Summer pursuits to the more subdued colours of the sporting scenes. I have balanced these with my ever-popular paintings of sheep with a series of vibrant still life paintings.

Which artists have been of greatest inspiration to you and your career?

A question I have been asked often! I continue to be inspired by 20th Century art. My love of the Post-Impressionists, Matisse, Cezanne, and the Fauve period is still with me. Modigliani and Vanessa Bell, together with Duncan Grant are always a fascination but the Scottish colourists are inspirational too. I am drawn to colour and its ability to bring a painting alive and many of these artists have excited and inspired me for this reason.

See Bridget’s latest exhibition Bridget Lansley – The Dimension Beyond at the Fosse Gallery in Stow on the Wold (Sunday 10th June 2018 - Saturday 30th June 2018)

Find out more about Bridget’s work at www.bridgetlansley.com

See more Fosse Gallery artists at www.fossegallery.com