Nicola Currie – Painter

Can you tell us about yourself and your background as an artist/maker?

I have always had an interest in art - as a child I was surrounded by paintings and loved art lessons. Mid-career I went back to university to do a Fine Art Degree where I specialised in ceramics. I later returned to my first love of painting and did short specialist courses in oil painting, learning the traditional skills which have been used for centuries.

Lobster Reflections

Tell us a bit about your creative process.

Each painting begins with an idea, an attraction to a colour, or a discarded object in a charity shop. From this start I create a ‘set up’ which can take hours or even days until I get a composition I am happy with. Flowers can be particularly tricky as they change shape and colour but not as tricky as runny cheese or dripping honey both of which created a very messy studio when I took them on. I enjoy this early stage of planning a painting and the final stage of a painting when I often use luminous glazes. My paintings can take many days or even weeks to complete as each layer dries.

Where you do usually work from?

I have a studio space to work in but the light isn’t brilliant so I have expanded into an attic where the consistent north light ensures a continuity of natural light. Storage is over the garage and gradually ‘my stuff’ is taking over different parts of our house!

Have you developed any unique or unusual techniques in your work?

In the past few years I have developed my work to include gold leaf in some paintings. I enjoy the additional reflective surface the gold provides. The botanical paintings with gold leaf are influenced by traditional Japanese screen paintings. To produce the golden background the gold leaf is carefully overlaid on a colour painted surface which is coated in Japanese gold size. This is then covered with a layer of shellac. The drawing is then transferred and coated with clear acrylic before layers of oil colour are added. Once the painting is dry a layer of dammar varnish is added. So it is not a fast process.

Tell us about a favourite piece of work and what it means to you.

It is difficult to say what my favourite piece of work is. I enjoy making each painting and the initial enthusiasm for the subject usually lasts for the whole of the creative process. I am constantly looking for new ideas for subjects. I often challenge myself to tackle a particular aspect of painting like shades of white or reflections in silver and then that becomes my enthusiasm for a time.

What is your biggest source of inspiration?

I have many sources of inspiration. The natural world is probably the most important. But my ideas originate in many different ways including from my family and friends; other artists and exhibitions; through reading and reflection; students trying something different; holidays where I have time to work through new ideas and see new things and discarded objects in charity shops. I try to note these influences at the time in notebooks with small sketches.

What advice would you have for artists who are just starting out?

To remember that everyone has a different way of seeing.

If you sell your work, can you tell us more about how you do this?

I sell through exhibitions, Open Studios and my subscription list. I am also represented by White Court Art and through them my work appears on a number of different internet art sales sites.

Anemones on Gold is an oil painting on imitation gold leaf

How has lockdown changed your creative process?

Lockdown has forced me to focus on my garden and immediate surroundings. I am grateful that I planted a lot of tulip bulbs last autumn!

Tell us about any future projects you have planned.

I am hoping the cancelled exhibitions I was working towards will take place in autumn and until that is clear I am not making major plans.

See more of Nicola’s work on her Worcestershire Artists page.

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