at Origin November 9th – November 29th 2017
George Bernard Shaw wrote “You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul” This according to artist Gemma Billington is a touchstone for her current works headed for Origin Gallery, upper Fitzwilliam- St, opening next Thursday November 9th 2017.
Gemma’s work is inspired by the sea and mountainscapes of her home county, Kerry. The best of both worlds is how the artist Gemma describes her monthly journeys between her house in Glencar and her Bedfordshire home in England. Being near to her favourite place in the world for inspiration for the Skellig Islands, just off Bolus Head where she has spent time at the remote artist retreat Cill Rialaig. She says she spends days watching the ocean, how everything changes – nothing standing still – the light transforming the colour of the waves, the rocks, the feeling of life itself – the rise and fall and rise again.
While the artist draws on the Irish landscape for inspiration, she never takes photos or sketches before she begins working. “I am definitely not a realist. When I get back to my studio, I meditate, I am in a particular neutral place when I start painting – I throw that picture and all of my expectation out the door. When I look at a blank canvas it frightens me, but I just choose the colours and start painting.”
Avoiding traditional methods of painting and unconventional in her approach, she uses only natural materials to mark the canvas.
“I paint with my hands and with rags of moth–eaten cashmere. I don’t like the marks that brushes make – you don’t see brush marks in Nature, and I try to be as natural as possible. I might put a few lines in at the end with the tip of my finger, or use a tiny brush or a matchstick, but only when I am adding the bird” – the signature mark the artist adds to nearly every painting!
She trained in visual studies at Winchester School of Art and went on to study life drawing at the Royal Academy of Art.
“I believe in the oneness of Nature,
and that when I am looking at a scene that I am part of it.”
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light…