This week we are meeting the lovely and bubbly Charlie from CMarshallArts who creates stunning watercolours inspired by nature.
How would you describe your style?
Colourful, fun and quirky!
Where do you work and does your location influence your work?
At the moment, I work in my little sun-filled flat in the middle of Nottingham city centre. My windows are quite low to the floor, and I like to sit and gaze out of them whilst I paint. The natural light really helps lift the colours of the paints. I’m currently in the middle of a move to the outskirts of Cambridge, where I’m looking forward to having my own art room to create lots of new designs!
How did you get started as an artist/designer?
I’ve been painting since I can remember, but after I finished my art A-level in 2008, I only ever painted as a hobby. When I got together with my boyfriend Carl in 2014 and showed him some of my work, he really encouraged me to start selling my designs and getting the professionally printed – I thought he was crazy! After having a chat with my good friend Becky Queen of Frocks who I knew from my day job as a PhD student in Astrochemistry, I decided to have a go and set up an etsy shop of my own. The rest is history!
Can you give us an idea of some of your creative processes?
My ideas start as scribbles in my sketchbook, which I develop further by trying out different patterns, colours and textures with various materials. Once I’m happy with a design, I’ll scan it in to my computer and clean it up in Photoshop (as I have a habit of flicking paint in places I don’t want it to end up!). I then send it over to the lovely Cycle Printworks, who I’ve known for years and who print my designs on thick watercolour paper using archival inks, to make every piece a long lasting piece of artwork, regardless of whether it is a greetings card or a print.
What is inspiring you or your work just now?
I’m such an animal lover, and I get inspiration from every animal I see! I used to live in Wollaton, and on my daily commute through Wollaton Park I would gaze at the gorgeous red deer and being dying to paint them in my sketchbook. My Sherwood the Stag painting was the result, which is probably still my favourite. I’ve recently returned from a two-week trip to Brazil, and met some beautiful sea turtles at a nationwide project to help protect them. They were the inspiration for Terence the Turtle, who is now in the Handmade Nottingham shop. I also get so much inspiration from Sir David Attenborough nature programmes, and am currently working on a large sea theme based on animals from his Great Barrier Reef series which aired a few months ago.
Do you have any new designs you can give us a sneak preview of?
Sure! Here’s a first glimpse of some of the animals from my sea theme
What is your favourite thing about Nottingham?
Other than the Handmade Nottingham Shop you mean? ;) I love the creative scene in Nottingham so much, and I’m going to miss it when I move. I love the different food outlets here too – living right in the city centre, I often give in to temptation!
The best piece of makers advice you have been given or can give to others?
Just be yourself. I think authenticity is so important, so believe in everything that you do, and that you are happy with the decisions you take. Don’t be afraid to take risks in your creative processes – I’ve made some of my best work by taking risks! It’s hard work starting a creative business, especially if you have another job running alongside, so reward yourself, even if it’s something small.
Find CMarshallArts available in store!