Meet The Maker - Ingrid Grieve

Meet The Maker

We're going to be starting a series of interviews featuring Orkney Craft Association members, to find out about their practice, their inspiration and a little insight into day to day life creating and working in Orkney.

Our very first 'Meet the Maker' interview features Orphir painter Ingrid Grieve from Toumal Art Studio. Ingrid kindly invited us along to her studio to find out about more about her work.

Tell us how you started painting, was it always something your were interested in or did it just happen?

I’ve wanted to paint from a very young age but it’s was only a few years ago that I felt the time was right to finally do something about it so I gave up full time work and enrolled at Orkney College to do their portfolio course and carried on for another 2 years, graduating in 2009 with an HND in fine art.

Describe your style of painting. What mediums do you use, what tools do you use?

I mainly paint Orkney sea and landscapes and paint in a very loose style using palette knife, large brushes and water based oil paints. I have very little detail in my painting but use colour and texture rather than fine detail to try to capture the mood of the scene or how I feel about a place.

How has your practice developed from your time painting and studying at Orkney College?

I really enjoyed my time at Orkney College and found that working in many different disciplines help me to push boundaries, try new things and not be frightened of a new white canvas or sheet of paper! Since leaving college my style is developing all the time as I become more confident in what I am trying to achieve.

Your studio has a fantastic view over Scapa Flow - does this feature often in your work?

My studio overlooks Scapa Flow and the amazing clouds, light, colours and general weather have definitely been a big inspiration and many of my paintings are Scapa weather views.

When we visited Ingrid there was a huge piece of artwork, in watercolour and conte, sitting on the floor just back from the framers. It is quite different from the work you have produced so far - will we see a more mixed media approach in future works?

I have done a one or two larger paintings in a different style where I would lay out big sheets of paper on the floor and use large emulsion brushes and thin layers of acrylic paint, conte and charcoal. I really enjoyed painting in this very lose and spontaneous way and have just bought a huge roll of paper and am really looking forward to trying some more very soon!

Who do you think would buy one of your paintings? Do you have a typical client-type?

I’m not sure that I have a client type… paintings have been bought by local folk and by visitors from Britain and abroad. Some folk really understand what I’m doing and other people prefer a more detailed picture, its better to buy something that really means something to you.

You have a very specific style of painting - is it important to to you to really explore and delve into a technique or painting style?

I think that over the last few years I’ve learned to let my style develop on its own. If I try to copy a style, or do something that somebody else wants, it never works and feels stilted and unfinished.

How you do you research your subject matter? Do you go out for a walk, collect inspiration, research through photography or sketching - or do you prefer to paint from eye?

I always paint in my studio. I've tried painting outside but get too distracted by what’s around me and can’t concentrate. I need to have a’ feeling’ about a painting before I start so sometimes it might be from a memory but its mostly by going out and about and getting a feel for a place. I rarely sketch but really enjoy photography so use my photos as my ‘sketch book’.

What advice would you offer to someone like yourself always wanted to learn to paint or draw?

I would really encourage anybody that wants to try painting to just do it! it doesn’t matter if it ends up looking very little like the scene you are working from instead its about your interpretation of the scene or subject. Sometimes a good way of starting is just by exploring colour i.e. mixing colours and seeing how they look next to each other or looking for colours in a landscape or still life, e.g. grass is not just green but made up of lots of different colours, the more you look the more you see.

Where is your favourite place in Orkney?

I love Orkney’s west coast, Yesnaby, Skaill and Birsay are where most of my sea paintings are from and I also love where I stay with the view over Scapa Flow and Waulkmill and Swanbister beaches near by but all of Orkney is special, and I’m slowly exploring my way around the Mainland and the islands.

Who are the artists/ designers/ sculptors/ musicians etc that inspire you?

Who inspires me…… I love Van Gogh and have been to the Van Gogh museum a couple of times and was lucky enough to catch a Rembrandt exhibition at the Rijksmuseum at the same time as one of those visits. Have also seen Monets work at the Orangeries…..Joan Airdley, Anthony Gormley, Peter Lanyon, Sylvia Wishart and REM.

What do you do when you feel like you're having a creative block?

Sometimes ideas or energy lag a bit but I find it best not to push it or worry about it. Lots of walking and photography usually help to get things started again and sometimes a painting that has been in the back of my mind for a while gets the chance to surface. If I try to push things it never works!

If you'd like to visit Ingrid on your visit to Orkney, Toumal Art Studio is open Thursday & Friday, 10.30am - 5pm.

You can also visit the Craft Trail page for directions and more information. (Toumal Art Studio is no. 12 on the map)