Portrait of An Artist
As Mother’s Day draws closer, we take a moment to sit with the mother of our founder and creative director so that we may share with you the short story of her life as a landscape artist. A plein air oil painter, Angela Uren speaks of her motivations, of her muses and of motherhood.
Briefly, how might you describe your style of painting?
“This I find not so simple to answer as I paint not to a certain style but simply by instinct. I become absorbed in the essence of the subject, the place, the time and a connection between all three soon becomes apparent. Perhaps then this is the best word to describe my work – instinctive.”
Have you always been a painter or was this something you began to explore later in life?
“Creativity has always been central to everything I have done and believed in. It is something that seemed to come to both of my daughters too – by nature and by nurture I suppose. It wasn’t until I left behind my vocation as an art teacher in 2010 however that I was able to fully explore my personal creativity. I am so fortunate that I am now able to do what I love in a full time capacity.”
Is there one particular aspect that you love most about being a painter?
“I consider painting and my family to each be a lifeline. Painting is all consuming and a total distraction, to such an extent that I have at times felt that sleep gets in the way – and fading light – from me wanting to paint all day and all night long. The fact that people want to pay me for something I so love doing is very humbling and rewarding. I am so very lucky and it is important to recognise this.”
What is your favourite material to work with?
“Now this is one that I can answer readily and swiftly – oil and knife on natural canvas. This gives me the greatest physical connection with what it is I am painting.”
Are there any artists or movements whose work you admire most of all?
“It’s the pattern, line and palette of artists such as Paul Nash Alexander Walker and Vanessa Bell that I aspire to. I also love the later, loose portraits of various 1940s artists, such as Modigliani and Winifred Knight.”
Do you have a single greatest inspiration for your work?
“The surrounding world and all within it invokes an emotional response in me. This is something that has always been true. I am predominantly an outdoor painter and the changing face of nature continually moves me, day by day.”
If you were to elect one painting of yours as a favourite of all time, what might it be?
“My favourite is always my current piece. I become so impassioned with what I am painting in the present that it inevitably becomes my new favourite. So to choose one is simply not something I could ever so. I have many, and I find that a lovely thing.”
In 2019, you painted a piece called ‘Unconditional Love’ of your daughter and newborn granddaughter. Tell us how that felt, as a painter, to capture the moment.
“For me, the physical connection between paint, knife and canvas translates my personal response to my subject, the essence of that moment, that time and that place, rather than what I am looking at. When I was painting my daughter and newborn granddaughter, I was completely overwhelmed with emotion to try to capture something of what I was feeling as well as the essence of the love I saw between my daughter and her newborn – a love so pure and unconditional that I felt compelled to translate that onto canvas.”
Do you feel art and painting gifted you certain qualities or views that you were able to transfer into motherhood?
“I think my response to this is more what motherhood has gifted to my painting. I was blessed personally to have two wonderful mothers – my own mother and my mother-in-law.Their unconditional love encouraged and supported my creativity beyond all measure. I was also blessed with the gift of two wonderful daughters, enriching my life and creativity beyond words.I realise how very fortunate I am and take nothing for granted.”
Finally, for people seeking a specific piece, do you accept private commissions?
“I do, however I work differently and offer a selection based on the commission’s criteria. That way, there is no compulsion to buy, offering greater flexibility for buyers and myself as an artist. I want my buyer to buy because they love a piece and not because they feel forced to due to a commission. I wish the process to feel as freeing as the act of painting does to me.”
To see more of Angela Uren’s work, see her portfolio here.