Who are you? 

Heather Bowring

What type of artist are you?  

I specialise in creating tactile art, using fine plaster and paint to raise the profile of the painting.  However, I still enjoy painting miniatures and creating contemporary work using stories as my inspiration.  I am also making very unusual Artist Books.   

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

I am a self taught artist, however, I did attend Portsmouth College of Art as a mature student, to study the practical skills of the Restoration and Decoration of the Interiors of Historic buildings.  I learnt, wood carving, gilding, specialist painting. fine plaster work as well as architecture.  I followed this with a degree, in The History and Theory of Art, Media and Design.

Can you describe your creative process?

To create my tactile paintings I use fine plaster to build up the outline of the painting, then apply paint and finally varnish to protect the work.  The work is meant to be touched and means visually impaired visitors can enjoy the art experience.

To create my Artist Books I work with wood, leather, fine plaster and gold leaf.

What or who inspires you?

I am inspired by Picasso, Rembrant and Barbara Hepworth.

What do you enjoy most about the process? 

I love the whole creative experience and I because I was not taught I never knew the rules, so have always experimented which makes it all the more fun.

Can you describe your studio/workspace? 

My studio is attached to my old cottage and was previously a stable; it is a wonderful space to work in, because there is so much room.  I have two work station areas – one for my painting and another where I make the Artist Books. There is a large wood burner and a nice seating area. I would describe it as functional and cosy.

What keeps you going whilst you work?

I also have Radio 4 on in the background, occasionally music and when I am working on something repetitive then I watch DVDs; I love Box Sets! 

What can we expect to see from you on this years’ art trail? 

Visitors can expect to see a lot during the Art Trail.  Tactile Paintings, the portraits have audio descriptions spoken by the sitter. Artist Books, Miniatures, Seascapes, contemporary work and my debut novel – The Painting in Room 48, which features my painting Share my Dream on the cover.

Where are you exhibiting?

This summer I will be exhibiting part of my Tactile Portrait collection at Falmouth Museum and Art Gallery, the work will be on show for three months.

Why did you want to take part in the trail?

I like to be part of the Arts Trail because it is a really good feeling to be part of the amazing collection of artists in the Emsworth area.  I enjoy showing my work to visitors, I enjoy answering their questions and I enjoy the fact they can also wander around my large garden.

What are your artistic ambitions?

I feel I have been very fortunate to have achieved so many of my artistic ambitions. I have been commissioned by Touch Tours of Tate Modern, The Mary Rose Museum, a £5 Mary Rose commemorative coin, The Wordsworth Museum, Crematoria and my Portrait Collection launched World Sight day at Moorfield Eye Hospital. I have had nine solo exhibitions and shown my work in USA and Belgium.   What I would like to do is have more of what I have had with my art work. Enjoy some success with my debut novel and write the next one. 

Any other fun facts?!

Working as an artist has been the most amazing fun but the one thing that is always at the top is being a Guest Speaker on Cruise ships.   The most I had to do is give six talks about my life and journey as an artist and the stories associated with that.  Then I enjoy the cruise!

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