We go behind the scenes this week with painter and illustrator Andrea Martin to give you an insight into her work, inspirations and what you can expect to see from her on this year’s trail.

Who are you?I am Andrea Martin, and I live in the South Downs.

What type of artist are you?I am a painter and illustrator

Do you have a background in art/design – when did you first start your creativejourney? I have always loved drawing from a very young age. At 21, I attended Portsmouth College of Art as a mature student and did an access course which led me to completing a BA hons in illustration. I have since worked as an editorial artist for a newspaper, which involved many roles from daily illustrations, laying out pages, editing etc, I even once had to do a court room drawing of a man who murdered his girlfriend. Quite a chilling and challenging experience. I later moved on to web and graphic design before becoming a freelance illustrator and designer.

Can you describe your creative process?I often start of with a few ideas and rough sketches, trying different compositions. I also swaptechniques as I suffer with Carpal Tunnel syndrome and arthritis in my hands, I love doing my detailed pen and ink drawings but sometimes I have to change and up my paintbrushes. I tend to mainly use acrylic paint on canvas.

What do you enjoy most about the process? Even though I start with practice sketches, often an idea will evolve and change along the way, For instance,‘Rush Hour’ based on a flock of flamingos from The Planet Earth series, The Flamingoes landed up with tattooed legs in the end, the element of not quite knowing how it will turn out, is probably the part of the process I enjoy the best.

What or who inspires you?I have a deep love for animals and nature, so that is the inspiration behind a lot of my work. Imalways taking photos of something that I might be able to use and the rest I use reference material and my imagination. I also love drawing people, which is something I need to persevere with. I’m inspired by so many artists too, current and past. To name a few, Tamara de Lempicka, I love anything art deco and figurative. Robert Hiendel for his beautiful dancers Beryl cook for her tongue in cheek Illustrations which always make me smile.

Can you describe your studio/workspace? My studio is at the bottom of my garden, which has a lovely view, over looking a large field, andoccasionally I get pheasants and deer in my garden.
I’m a very messy worker and my studio is in complete chaos most of the time, every now and then it gets a declutter, when I get to a point I can no longer find anything. My excuse: if you’re cleaning, you’re not creating!

What keeps you going whilst you work – soundtrack? Snacks? A fluffy assistant?Although an artists life can be quite lonely, I always have my furry companion Bella by my side, a gorgeous cockerpoo, I like to play my music loudly and I am partial to a little dance every now and then while painting, plus the odd bar of chocolate.

What can we expect to see from you on this years’ art trail? – How does this vary fromprevious years I will be displaying a number of new pieces of artwork, prints and cards.that I have created over the past year, as well as some of the popular items from previous years

Where are you exhibiting? – What can people expect from the location?   This will be my third year of exhibiting at the Emsworth Art Trail. I will be displaying my work at Lydia Fosters studio at 50 Hollybank Lane. We met at my first arts trail meeting a couple of years ago and Lydia welcomed me to share her workshop, where she teaches her silver days and makes her beautiful, bespoke jewellery. We have since become very good friends. This year Lydia will be welcoming Karen Ongley Snook, she will be exhibiting her gorgeous glass creations dotted in and around the studio, she’s really looking forward to her first Emsworth Arts Trail with us.

Why did you want to take part in the trail?I originally joined the art trail mainly to help me get back into the artworld and regain someconfidence after a career break and becoming a mum, The arts trail really helped and I have found the comradery and encouragement from other artists invaluable. The organisation of the trail is fantastic, the committee artists really do work so hard to make this trail such a great thing to be part of.
Since my first Emsworth Arts Trail, I have exhibited at many other venues, including Arundel Gallery Trail, Art Wittering, St Huberts Church in Idsworth, Chichester Oxmarket and more. This year I am looking forward to my first exhibition at Stansted Garden show in June. I also have work for sale in several local outlets and I am working with new customers to expand this further.

What are your artistic ambitions?Art should come from the heart and be what you love doing, so my ambition is to continue with that thought, spend a little more time playing and experimenting with different subjects and mediums and maybe one day I will be lucky enough to illustrate a children’s book.

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