Another behind-the-scenes interview with one of the Emsworth Arts Trail artists you can visit this weekend.

Who are you?

Deborah Jane Richards

What type of artist are you?

Fine artist, Printmaker, Sculptor

Do you have a background in art/design – when did you first start your creative journey?

I have been an artist all my life and was lucky to be encouraged by my parents. I studied art and art history at A’ level, attended Farnham Art School for Foundation and after working for a year, I went to Bradford School of Art to do the very first degree in both Fine art and Design, 2D and 3D. This was an interesting experience for a girl from West Sussex! I had my first paid design work from 16 years of age for a well-known Sussex and London based bespoke furniture company designing acid-etched glass and learning design skills. For 35 years I enjoyed a highly creative career in Museums and galleries organising and designing exhibitions.

Can you describe your creative process?

I am especially known for my semi-abstract monotypes. Exploring that creative space between abstraction and representation allows me the freedom to manipulate surroundings taken from memory and experience. All my works are inspired by drawings made in-situ, which are then translated into unique silk-screen monoprints and oil on paper monotypes, achieving a semi-abstract painterly style and a distinctive visual language.

What or who inspires you?

My love of landscape, water and sea. I am drawn to the drama of changing light. Continuing themes include distant views of the enigmatic Isle of Wight across land and sea, local harbours, sequences of shipping movements, changing light and weather in the Solent; moving trains within local downland valleys, estuaries and inland waters. Artists which inspire me are British 20 th Century Romantic and abstract impressionists.

What do you enjoy most about the process?

For me, the print process is an addictive adventure towards developing my visual ideas. The lengthy process of mixing the rich oily pigments and creating a new colour palette is one of many stages to create a new work whilst referencing my ‘en plein-air’ drawings. The appeal of printing in this way allows for experimentation, achieving a semi-abstract painterly style and a personal visual language using favourite tools and bits of cloth or anything that can create a texture or mark. These re-appear in many works. The winding of the press, pulling up the felt and paper to reveal a new work in reverse is always exciting.

Can you describe your studio/workspace?

The great outdoors, my home and a local professional print studio which I hire by the day.

What keeps you going whilst you work – soundtrack? Snacks? A fluffy assistant?

Black coffee, I gave up smoking 20 years ago and instead now enjoy some dark chocolate and a goodsandwich. If I am near a pub then I sometimes sneak in for chips too.

What can we expect to see from you on this years’ art trail? – How does this vary from previous years

I will be presenting a wider variety of media than usual, including drawings and paintings alongside my usual ‘print’s and small one-off acrylic seascapes. Another strand to my work is sculpture and this year I plan to show new works created with porcelain and wire. Also works in plaster amalgamated with print, all inspired by my drawings! Previous years have seen my expressive wolf sculptures, one or two will probably sneak in.

Where are you exhibiting? – What can people expect from the location?

Venue Address: Emsworth Museum 10b North Street, Emsworth, PO10 7RA

Open: On First weekend 27 & 28 April 2019,Second Weekend 4, 5, & 6 May 2019

Opening Times: 10.30 – 4.30

NB: Exhibition continues all weekends until 19 May, Saturdays 10.30am – 4.30pm and Sundays 2.30– 4.30pm

The Exhibition is on the first floor, a chair lift is available, no wheelchair access.

I will have a large solo exhibition in the Rudkin Room. This allows me the use of showcases to exhibit

sculpture as well as 2D works. Also unframed work. Visitors will also be able to enjoy the rich andvaried local history collections exhibited in the museum.

Why did you want to take part in the trail?

Over the six years that I have participated in this art trail I enjoy being part of a brilliant network of artists from the region and have made good friends. It is lovely opportunity to meet a wide variety of new people and previous clients, to receive feedback about my current works and to make sales!

What are your artistic ambitions?

This year and in the future I am looking forward to working with some established private and public galleries and continuing to develop my old and new working methods both in 2D and 3D.

Deborah Richards at work in the printing studio
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