Featured Artist Stephanie Thompson
What is your name or the name you go by for your art?
My name is Stephanie Thompson, and I trade as Stephanie Thompson Art.
Where do you live?
I’m based in Surrey, UK, but have lived in several places, both north and south in the UK. We have a fantastic landscape which influences my art.
What’s your background?
I spent many years working in pharmaceutical manufacturing, introducing new products. The creative skills and persistence needed in that role, provided a good foundation for my painting life!
Which media do you prefer to work with?
I mainly work with oil paints, though I also like to use mixed media. It’s a case of whatever suits the subject and what I wish to express.
How did you learn your craft i.e. college, self-taught and what did that entail?
I have used a combination of courses and self-tuition. I spent a lot of time studying the figure which I found to be a great way to develop my drawing, and painting skills. I also took a Diploma in oil painting at the Norfolk Painting School.
What does your work aim to say?
My paintings are about expressing the irrepressible and changing beauty I experience in nature. I think nature is a powerful metaphor for life and has a way of making us a feel very connected to life.
Does your work comment on current social or political issues?
My work does not comment on political issues, by which I mean that I don’t use my art to make deliberate comments or statements about issues. However, given that I love to record nature and the sea you could read into it that I am recording how I see nature in its current state.
Who are your biggest influences?
I am inspired by the work of many artists, such as Joan Eardley, Joan Mitchell, and Ivon Hitchens. Their expressive use of colour, and texture communicates their subjects so well. However, I would say that the abstract artist Rachel Clark, has been a very formative influence on my work. I had the pleasure of taking many Life Drawing workshops at her London studio, and whilst the subject was the figure, the process was about observing, responding and how to manipulate the materials to express your response to the subject. This approach is fundamental to my work.
How do you navigate the art world?
I realise that to be taken seriously as an artist I need to show my work to the world more widely. This is something I am learning to do more of whilst also looking for gallery representation, too. As this is in essence my second career, I have a lot to learn but have been delighted by the response to my work to date.
How have you developed your career?
Having taken lots of classes and joined a few very highly respected courses and mentor groups, I use the wealth of information they have made available. Putting this information to good use and double checking that I have understood the messages has really helped me move forward with my career.
How do you seek out opportunities?
I keep my ear to the ground; I look out for events advertised through the groups I am in, and I ask people about exhibitions and how to take part in them. Just keeping in touch with people is working for me at the moment.
How do you cultivate a collector base?
I am very fortunate to have a strong support network of people around me who have supported me in my career so far. This has given me the confidence to show my work to the public and so far, I have made good connections and good sales too.
How do you price your work?
There are different rates for working on paper, canvas and board but having a base rate per square centimetre for each substrate seems to be the way most people I know price their work, so I haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel.
Do you know where you are heading career wise? What are your hopes for your future?
I recently took part in an exhibition with Ginger Cactus Art at Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking, Surrey. It was a great experience, and as well as receiving some fabulous comments about my work, I was also fortunate to sell several paintings. It means a lot when other people feel moved to put your work on their walls. I’d like to continue exhibiting.
Do you have any tips for young artists just starting out?
Yes. Follow your creative instincts, and make time for your art. I think it is important to develop your creative habits and showing up regularly to create, moves you forward, especially on those days when you don’t feel like doing anything. Consistency and showing up is what will get you results.
Do you have any exhibitions coming up? Please provide details so that I can advertise this for you.
I have just taken part in an exhibition at Denbies in Dorking, which was really successful for me, and I am taking part in another one there in February next year with the same group Ginger Cactus Art. Due to personal circumstances I am not able to take part in anymore exhibitions this year. However, if you are interested in my work you can visit my website or arrange to come and see me in my home studio.
Where can you be found on social media?
My website is: www.stephaniethompsonart.com
All works are for sale, please visit Stephanie’s website for more information.
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