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How I work: the artist Lesley Slight

How I work: the artist Lesley Slight

Pictured above Two Trees by Lesley Slight, pictured below the artist in her studiolesleystudio

I ‘m very fortunate to have a studio which is completely separate from our house, a small journey across the yard. This is wonderful, as I can isolate myself from everything else that might be going on, and concentrate completely on the work. There is no ‘phone, no computer, only a radio for Radio 3, and a CD player for Sibelius, Chopin, Mahler and other favourites

When we came here, what is now my studio was a derelict farm outbuilding, stone and brick, and my husband converted it into a great space for me to work in. It has a good atmosphere – it’s welcoming, and I always look forward to going there to wrestle with my demons!

I usually have two or three paintings going at once, so I can move around if the paint is too wet, or if I’m having a problem with anof the images.

Apart from canvases, both work in progress and finished (is a painting ever finished?)the studio is kept fairly sparse. I like order. There are lots of reference books, mainly catalogues from favourite exhibitions, and a rather eclectic collection of objects - skulls, millinery blocks, stones, buzzard feathersand some stained glass fragments;all of which have particular memories. Tattered old rugs, collected over the years mitigate against the cold concrete floor.

We live in a very rural environment- a walk down the field and across the stream and I’m in ancient woodlands,nearby hills and valleys, so there is a “record” in my head of images and atmospheres, but apart from ink drawings made in situ, everything I paint is from my imagination. The studio is where it all happens, and when confronted by a blank canvas, I don’t draw or plan an image but mix a lot of different colours and tones, then load them onto the surface haphazardly, just a lot of paint without any imagery. I then work into the paint, moving it around with brushes or rags until something recognisable appears. If I think it can be developed, I take it further. If not, I will destroy what’s there and start again. It’s good to play with the unexpected, and satisfying when an image of a completely unknown land-or treescape evolves

As well as being one of the painters in Kelly Ross’s Art Stable, at Child OkefordI’m also a member of a group of painters called the Arborealists, and at the end of 2015 we showed at Mottisfont Abbey. At the moment I’m working for the group’s nextexhibition at St. Barbe Gallery at Lymingtonin April. This is the second show at St. Barbe, the first being the inaugural exhibition in 2013, titled “Under the Greenwood: Picturing the British Tree”, which had a wonderful catalogue.

The title for the 2016 show there is “The Arborealists: The Art of the Tree” which willagain be accompanied by a catalogue and willrun from April 23rd –

June 4th 2016In 2017 the Group will be showing in Poitiers, France. Below Hill Path

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