Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Q&A with Open House owner and artist Paula Dunn

Tell us about the work you do and the types of materials you use.

My work tends to fall into three categories, landscapes, seascapes and urbanscapes and although I tend to  work on different scales it’s mainly my large pieces that people are familiar with. I work in oils, building layer upon layer, to afford an almost textural quality to the finished piece. I enjoy experimenting with techniques such as impasto, the use of palette knives and the application of glazes.

Where do you produce your work? Does your working environment form part of the inspiration for your art?
I’m lucky enough to have space at home to use as a studio but it is in the basement so I wouldn’t really say it was all that inspirational but it is practical and not too far away from the fridge, kettle or biscuit tin.

One year I needed to paint a canvas which was too big to get down into the basement so I hijacked our spare bedroom for the summer. Never again… spent far too much time gazing out of the window watching the birds, sunshine, the cat… anything but getting on with painting.

Is your art your main job?
Not yet, but it is my main aspiration.

How did you get started?
Some paints, a canvas and a beautiful photograph taken by my partner…

What work will you be exhibiting at the Saltaire Arts Trail?
I will be launching a whole new collection of work just for the arts trail and unlike previous years where we’ve hosted up to 9 artists in our house, this year I will be able to concentrate on exhibiting a substantial body of my own work.

Do you work in any other mediums besides the work you will be exhibiting at the Arts Trail?
Rarely - occasionally some pen & ink sketches.

Where else can we see and buy your work?
Maiden Bridge Art Centre, near Lancaster; The Old Grammar School, Otley; Biscuit Factory, Newcastle; also the Butterfly Rooms, Saltaire stock my prints and greetings cards.

Tell us about your most exciting or memorable commission?
When I first started painting in oils about 8 years ago I was invited to have a solo exhibition at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Headquarters in Bainbridge. The work I was asked to produce for this exhibition included large landscapes of the Yorkshire Dales with a central piece being a triptych of Malham Cove. This triptych was shown in the first year of the Saltaire Arts Trail and will be returning 6 Harold Place this year as this will be the last year we open up our house for the foreseeable future.

What was it about the Saltaire Arts Trail that made you want to apply to exhibit?
We are part of the furniture... our house, 6 Harold Place, has been an open house ever since the arts trail started seven years ago.
Have you participated or visited the Saltaire Arts Trail before?
Every time; we’ve been here longer than anyone, except Titus of course.

What is unique about it and how does it differ from other events?
The open houses are quite a unique part of Saltaire Arts Trail and as an artist and home owner it provides me with a great opportunity to talk to people about my work as well as to be able to promote the wonderful village which is Saltaire. It has also given me the opportunity to curate several exhibitions; to turn our house into an art gallery, changing a domestic space into a public space, even if only for a weekend.

Could you leave us with one more interesting fact about yourself or your work?
One of my earliest exhibitions was the “Vamos exhibition” at the Biscuit Factory in Newcastle. This was a celebration of art inspired by Latin America and featured several artists originally from that continent. I was able to draw upon our trip to Cuba a few months prior to the exhibition to produce 6 pieces that were so well received at “Vamos” that I was asked to give a talk on them on the opening night.

Paula Dunn will be exhibiting at 6 Harold Place

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