Carole on BBC South Today
One of two artists featured on BBC South Today about my participation in the ‘Portraits for NHS Heroes’ scheme during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown
Portfolio (click on spyglass to expand)
I paint full time from my rural home studio in Cowfold near Horsham, West Sussex, exhibiting my work independently as well as within groups, and also working on commission. As well as the UK, my work has sold in New Zealand, Australia, Texas, USA, France and Spain and I will be exhibiting in London in 2021 for the second time, to raise funds for MIND, a charity for mental health and wellbeing.
Being outdoors in all weathers is inspirational for my work. I grew up on the outskirts of Lewes in East Sussex and spent a lot of time building camps, climbing trees and horse riding on the South Downs. Having that childhood freedom to roam and a hands-on connection with nature became the bedrock of my creativity.
I am self taught as I didn’t have the opportunity to further my education but as time went on, I realised how satisfying it was to learn and grow from my own experiences and mistakes. In my teens my passion grew so I started experimenting with different paint mediums and by word of mouth, I received commissions for portraits, one being for the front cover of a book for The Arthur Conan-Doyle Establishment (Crowborough), another being formally presented by Lord Monk Bretton of Barcombe, near Lewes in East Sussex in 1983 and another being requested by Debbie Harry of Blondie, after she was shown a copy.
My first gallery show was in 1986, in Lewes, where I sold my first watercolour landscape and when my children came along, I continued to paint when possible to fit around my role as a mother. As well as working on commission, I also produced a series of local watercolour landscapes which sold during local Art Festivals.
In 2001, a four month family trip around New Zealand inspired me to go on a more abstract journey of painting impressions in oils and acrylics, to reflect my experiences of the ruggedness of New Zealand. Over the years, these gradually evolved into woodland, forests, caves, and water and this development (together with a love for the wilderness), has shaped my work. Previously, I had worked mostly on commission, from animals and portraits to landscapes and buildings but after time, I found myself wanting to focus more on experimenting with impressionism and I believe this is where my real journey as an artist began. However, because of my lifelong love of horses, I still do horse portrait commissions.
My fascination (and phobia) of underwater caves and deep water plays a big part in my creativity. I am also inspired by rugged landscapes, stormy weather, and rambling flora, so having inspiration for all these multi-environmental features, comes the need for freedom to paint in different styles. My impressions reflect my fascination for cave-like structures and painting these really energises my imagination. In contrast to this, my botanicals and some of my landscapes paintings are often mistaken for photographs and I find this to be a whole different experience which is the very reason I love to move between impressions and photo real.
I am currently working on a new series of oil paintings which are inspired by the beautiful formations of ice. Together with my love for rugged scenery, the title of this emerging series will be Mountains and Ice.
For more information, go to www.carolerupniak.com