Featured Artist Ann Gardner

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Can you tell us about your artistic practice?

I am a painter usually using oil on canvas, sometimes watercolour.

What art education have you had?

I went to the Slade School of Fine Art at the age of 18 to undertake a BA Honours which was a four year course. I then undertook an MA in Fine Art .

I was at the Slade from 1982 to 86 then from 1987 to 89. I was taught by Euan Uglow , Patrick George, Norman Norris, Cragie Atchinson and Lucien Freud .

Where do you see your work sitting in relation to figurative and abstract work?

Firstly it is important to remember that all painting is abstract. My work fluctuates, it can be very representative and precise to being, if I have a strong idea, totally from my imagination.

I cannot say at this point where it will go and which I prefer – it depends on what is going on in my mind at the time .

Where were you brought up and how has this affected your painting?

I was brought up in Bedford.

Due to spending long periods of my childhood on my own due to my brother not being well I found myself often painting. This didn’t stop but increased.

My parents encouraged me and luckily I had a wonderful art teacher at my school Bedford High School For Girls so with this combination I had a solid belief in myself as a painter.

What and whom influences you?

Many things! What I see either a landscape tree or a face, other artist’s work. Occasionally I have ideas or I am moved by something. Combinations of colours. My last painting or a previous one.

Do you have any shows coming up?

Yes in 2018, a solo show at Herbert Smith & Freehill in the City of London.

How do you juggle life and painting?

I have two daughters to support so at times it has been difficult to go to London to show my work during term time etc but now they have both started at University so life has changed!

Do you have any place you are trying to move towards in your work?

I would like to refine my portraits. I would also like to explore my abstract work. I believe I should draw more and basically make my work more fluid and refined.

What is a usual day for you?

My usual day is to begin at about 9am then work through to five pm.

I am quite happy to work for months in this way especially before a big show.

I find all other things in life a disruption and when I am deeply into my work it becomes the most important thing – apart from my daughters!

How has living in France affected your work?

I have always known I would live in France. The light is the main thing. I hate working in electric light and here in the winter it isn’t dark until 5.30 pm.

I also need to have quite an isolated situation so that I am not tempted to fritter away time – to get anything done in painting you have to put the hours in.

Travel is quite important to me as a jolt to what I am looking at – especially when I can work outside in the landscape.