Anne-Marie Blatchford

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Everyday we come across new people, faces. We interact with them, talk, exchange, leave or stay. We make judgements quickly and even after knowing someone for years, they can still surprise, perplex and change.

The fact that we as human beings are so complex and have countless hidden facets, makes us an ever-changing body of work. Always evolving, growing. We have the power and freedom to demonstrate what we feel whether that’s anger, love, passion, fear, anxiety or sadness. The way we look is a combination of our minds, emotions and years of moulding our very essence around our fragile bodies.

“I try to capture the feelings from what I see,” says Anne-Marie, whose work is centred around portraits, life drawing and sculpture. “Hopefully that comes across in the paintings.”
As well as taking portrait drawing classes at Wensum Lodge, Anne-Marie takes inspiration from the people around her, observing their movements and gestures in real life settings.

“If I want to draw people I might sit outside somewhere, or draw people in a gallery,” she says.

Looking through some examples of her work, Anne-Marie’s pieces are colourful and strong. Some have faces, some subjects are turned away, some hold their emotion in their body language. The beauty is natural and vibrant and you can feel the energy embedded in her work.

Using a mixture of paint, pastel, pencil, and ink, for drawing and painting, and wax and clay for sculpture, Anne-Marie works with a variety of media.

“I don’t just do figurative work – I could paint anything or sculpt any subject matter,” she says. “In terms of sculpture, I like working with black wax, or on a clay sculpture when is it quite hard, and then I take away what is not needed with a small knife – it’s a bit like editing a story – ruthless certainty is the thing. It’s fun, especially hair on a sculpture. I make a general shape, let it dry and then cut it with a knife at the end.”

Anne-Marie says she often uses acrylic and watercolour paint mixed together in the palette, painting them on with a dry brush so they make a slightly stripey colour, and moving them about on the paper, just before they dry, with paper tissue. She then uses a hard-ish oil pastel on top, as well as metallic soft oil pastels. Metallic acrylics and gold ink residue, plus gloss sheen, may have been added into the acrylics at the beginning to give a general shimmer and sheen.  Very little water is used.

“People seem to like the fact that my paintings change in different lights and on different backgrounds. The very subtle gold ink mixed in with the paint gives them a faint sparkle – the gold or copper acrylic paint can’t be seen head-on either, so if you move the painting, the sparkle pops in and out,” she says.

And as Anne-Marie’s subjects are always growing and changing, so is her work “Even if it’s an experiment that didn’t quite work, there might be a good bit or something I can learn from,” she says.

“I have a piece of card with an oblong cut out. It can be held close or far away from the artwork and then you see abstracts, bits that work, or ‘ mini landscapes’.”

For Takeaway Art, Annemarie has drawn a series of nudes which are A4 sized and based on Adam and Eve, or more specifically for this collection – Eve.

“I kept seeing a painting by Cranach of Adam and Eve in the Courtauld. Adam is scratching his head in the most realistic gesture. It must have sunk in as I bought the postcard and read the story in the Bible, and this series surfaced about six months later.”

“I hope people enjoy the paintings, but like I said, I have no control over this. I just do what pleases me. There isn’t any plan. ‘Helpful’ suggestions are ignored, the way Delia Smith would probably ignore any hints on how to make scrambled eggs. None of it is about any kind of rationale. It’s instinctive, a bit like laughing at a joke – no-one can tell you what’s funny or what tastes good.”

To find out more about Anne-Marie Blatchford, email her on  annemarie.blatchford@btinternet.com.

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