A moment’s respite

Old Harry Rocks by Gilly Mound

Old Harry Rocks by Gilly Mound

There’s an enticing hint of reminiscence about Gilly Mound’s mixed media artworks – looking at them I find myself recalling childhood holidays to picturesque villages, often within sight of the sea and almost always within earshot of sheep. The vivid colours and bold shapes are deliciously inviting, with an impression of sunshine throughout.

“I have always loved colour,” Gilly comments. “Initially my art was based around mixed media and stitch and was quite colourful, but not as bold. Then a few years ago I decided to pare down the media and processes I was using and began to experiment with acrylics. I was instantly hooked.”

Home From Home by Gilly Mound

Home From Home by Gilly Mound

Gilly describes her style as “quite ‘blocky’ and naïve. Acrylic is a perfect media for this style.”

Her surroundings are frequently the impetus of a new work of art. “For me it’s down to environment,” Gilly explains. “I live in the countryside where the changing seasons are very defined and inspirational. I love to walk in a rural landscape of fields, trees, leaves and sheep! And the British coastline, particularly Cornwall and Wales is very influential in providing imagery of little boats and harbours.”

Little Harbour by Gilly Mound

Little Harbour by Gilly Mound

Gilly is also a fan of ceramic pots and jugs, and these, too, appear in many of her works as still life elements, often providing a foreground focus to an idyllic view. I love the details she chooses to include, such as the pebbles in the scene above.

Three Sheep crop by Gilly Mound

Three Sheep, crop, by Gilly Mound

Gilly’s aim is to share her affection for the places she lives close to in Worcestershire’s Teme Valley, and the locations she visits.

“I try to portray the way I feel about places and everyday objects rather than capture their exact visual reality,” she says. “For instance, my painting of Bayards Cove, Dartmouth, is pared down and stylised but still recognisable as the subject.”

Bayard's Cove by Gilly Mound

Bayard’s Cove by Gilly Mound

Prior to immersing herself in fine art, Gilly worked as a fabric retailer and knitwear designer, before studying and then teaching fashion and textiles. I couldn’t resist asking how she feels her background in this area impacts on her work.

“A really interesting question!” she exclaims. “I believe it has given a commercial leaning to my work. Colour, shape, pattern and form are important features of fashion and textile design and yes, I believe these ‘organising’ factors do influence me when I am making art.”

Where I Want To Be by Gilly Mound

Where I Want To Be by Gilly Mound

The pleasure of creating is evident in her work. “That moment of making art and ‘being in the zone or flow’ is a priceless experience,” she says. “Unfortunately it doesn’t happen every day, but when I’m fully connecting with my work there’s a sense of immense satisfaction in simply being involved in the creative process. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”

Find more of Gilly’s work at www.gillymound.co.ukThe Art Agency, 118 – 120 High St, Esher KT10 9QJ and Whalley Fine Art & Framing, Holywood, Belfast, Co. Down.

Are you an artist or do you know an artist who would like to be showcased on SkyLightRain.com? Get in touch at judydarley(at)iCloud.com.

Traces of memory with Julie Begen

Artwork by Julie Begen

Artwork by Julie Begen

“I love old objects,” says mixed media artist Julie Begen. “I have collections of all sorts of things but they’re always worn, marked, incomplete. I like to see traces of the past, the patina, hints of past dinners in the crazing on a plate, the shadow of a tea stain on a tray cloth.”

I encountered Julie’s work on Totterdown Front Room Art Trail 2015, and was simultaneously intrigued and unnerved by her displays of doll parts, drawings and sculptures.

Stand at Totterdown Art Trail by Julie Begen

Julie’s stand at Totterdown Front Room Art Trail

“Much of my work is to do with traces of memory,” she explains. “There is often a memorial aspect…and a healing I think. The dolls are all part of this.”

Doll portraits by Julie Begen

Doll portraits by Julie Begen

This particular collection began with a spot of beachcombing. “I like to beach comb for human detritus and have a large collection of china shards,” she says. “I started finding bits of china dolls amongst the pebbles on beaches. Miniature sculptural pieces loved, held, then lost.”

Dolls' legs by Julie Begen

Dolls’ legs by Julie Begen

It’s such an intriguing idea – how did these adored specimens end up at the mercy of the tides, before becoming part of the shores flotsam?

Julie herself was never a particularly ‘dolly’ child, “but I really understand the need for an object of comfort and of attachment to an object or toy. The project really took me back in time. Like most of my work it made me sense memories that I thought I had lost. I know my work can do that for others too.”

Julie explains that she deliberately works with objects “that trigger that sense of knowing but not really remembering. I have referred to this in the past as ‘layers of the familiar’, more felt than recalled. A sense. A scent…  The back of your mum’s dressing table drawer…”

Brooch by Julie Begen photo by Judy Darley

Brooch by Julie Begen

 

It’s enough to send a shiver up your spine. Other pieces include intricate botanical drawings captured in brooches and rings.

“My artworks prompt individual personal memories and the stories that go with them. Once exhibited this then leads on to the memories and stories that the viewers then share with me.”

Julie regards her works as a collection rather than individual pieces, “although each piece can and does stand alone. An important part of my work are the written supporting texts which explore areas of my past, revisiting, questioning and helping me question my exploration and put it into context.”

Brooch1 by Julie Begen

Brooch by Julie Begen

But what kinds of things prompt these journeys?

“Projects find me – I don’t look for them. I will find myself drawn toward an object or a phrase and over time the meanings come together. It is all in my subconscious and over time I’ve learned to trust and go with it until it comes to the fore. There will be an itch to scratch.”

A single explorative journey can take about a year.

“All projects are connected but I find this works for me, keeps me moving forward and provides me with a new body of work to exhibit each year. I find that a time frame works for me. It keeps me focused.”

She adds, intriguingly: “I can’t imagine not making work. It keeps me complete. There are times when life takes over and there isn’t much time but I’m always wanting to get on. It’s frustrating, like a piece of me missing.”

To ensure she’s always able to keep moving forward with a project, Julie keeps sketchbooks and has “archives of related images so I and always able to get on with something.”

Rings by Julie Begen

Rings by Julie Begen

As well as showing her work at Totterdown Front Room Art Trail and Easton Arts Trail, where she has the same space every year, “thanks to St Marks Baptist Church”, Julie takes part in other West Country trails. “I was also delighted to be asked to take part in Ilfracombe’s first Art Trail.”

Portrait by Julie Begen

Portrait by Julie Begen

For Julie, art has always been part of her means of making sense of the world. “I have always drawn, since I was a child. It has seemed as natural a language to me as learning to speak, a part of my life that I cannot imagine being without. It is who I am. It is how I think. It is just what I do.”

Find Julie at www.juliebegenartist.tumblr.com, on Twitter@JulieBegen and on her Artist Facebook page www.facebook.com/juliebegenartist.

Know an artist you’d like to see showcased on SkyLightRain.com? Give me a shout at judy(at)socketcreative.com.