Recently, I released a collection based on one of my favourite paintings Pink Magnolia; this painting was inspired by the magnolia flower which always flowers in Spring; the season of new beginnings. I wanted to capture the magnolia flowers’ subtle yet gentle hues and combine its dignified and noble appearance in my painting. The magnolia is a symbol of love and beauty encompasses the divine feminine and gentleness of pure love and I thought it was an apt painting to introduce you to my artwork.
I often get asked about my artistic processes and how my passion for art began, so I have gathered together the most popular questions I get asked so you can get to know a little bit more!
Tell us a little about your artistic background
I’ve always been interested in painting and drawing. From a young age, my mum used to encourage us to draw and paint, probably to keep us quiet as I am one of four children! I won a competition for drawing during middle school and whilst doing my A levels, I was introduced to 17th century art. One of my favourite artists became Johannes Vermeer, the way he used light to affect the subject is something that still inspires every piece I create.
As you may know, I’m a singer, so painting, for me, has always been something I don’t necessarily share publicly. It is something that calms and inspires me. As I prioritised singing as my artistic passion, I didn’t really have the time I wanted to dedicate to art, but over the last few years that has slowly started to change.
Since writing my album, I found that I still needed another creative outlet, the time to be still, to interact with the canvas and colour without any external pressure. Sometimes I would even consider myself an artist, more than a musician, because I find it very natural to be able to be in front of a canvas. I can let my mind explore and my imagination to run free, and ultimately that also informs my musical expression so they now go hand in hand for me.
What is integral to you as a painter?
The most important thing to me is to enjoy what I am painting. The subject matter has to interest me.
Sometimes, I paint a dream, sometimes I will paint a physical thing. I paint subjects that I see beauty in, subjects that inspire me. I like to paint what provokes my thoughts. That’s the main thing, for me, the subject matter has to be important enough to me.
What is your favourite piece of artwork and why?
Oh my (!) there are so many! I’ll give you a few because this is really difficult question!
There are some very famous paintings, which I’m sure you’ll recognise. Firstly, The Kiss by Gustav Klimt. Visually, it’s a gold mosaic of man and woman, it is really beautiful. That’s definitely one of my favourites.
I’m a huge fan of Edgar Degas’ work. Particularly his painting the entitled ‘The Blue Dancers’, it’s a pastel painting which is just beautiful. He is one of my favourite artists, but I love that painting in particular! The use of blue is sublime. The array of shades; in my opinion, it is the perfect blue painting.
Finally, I have to mention, Edvard Munch’s The Scream. Although, this may seem a little different, especially in comparison to the first pieces I mentioned! I love this piece as it encapsulates such a nightmarish vision. It is a painting that really captures the emotion without words and visually, it is simply stunning.
How would you describe your art to someone who has never seen it?
I would describe my art as full of life. I like to paint with lots of colour, for me, life comes in different shades of colour and when I paint, I like to encompass this.
For instance, I mentioned The Blue Dancers, by Edgar Degas. I am in awe of his use of various shades of one colour and how it can give such depth and emotion and in some of my work I try to adopt this approach.
When I paint, I paint my feelings and I use colours to reflect these. For example, my Pink Magnolia painting, which is the first in my new collections, is very vibrant. My aim was to portray the spring colours and the vibrancy of the season.
What would your slogan be for your art work?
I would probably say, ‘Inspired by Life’ – by Natasha Hardy.
What emotions do you notice in your artwork?
When I’m painting, it feels like I’m pushing my emotion from within onto the canvas, but the action of painting doesn’t always go to plan, the same with life! This brings me back to the previous question of my slogan; Inspired by Life, it doesn’t always go to plan but at the end of the day, everything happens for a reason! You have to trust the process and allow for this to happen.
This is how I feel about my paintings, eventually they become a piece that is better than I initially imagined. This is why I find painting such a wonderful release and a place where I can express sadness, joy, contentment and more.
If you could ask your artwork a question, what would you ask it?
Ha ha ha! I would ask ‘Why can’t you dry faster?’
I used to work a lot with acrylics, which was great as it would dry very quickly! However, I struggled to get the same nuances that I could when working with oil paint. In case you’re unaware, oil paint is notoriously slow drying! Sometimes, you have to wait a week or two for a layer to dry before you can start on your next layer. So, if I could ask my artwork a question, I would ask it to dry faster!
However, in a less ‘practical’ respect, I would ask my paintings whether they liked how I created them.
If your artwork could travel anywhere in the world, where would it go? Why?
I think the egocentric side of me says, ‘Oh I’d love it to be in a museum next to another very famous painting’, which would be lovely for all to see.
However, my heart tells me I’d love for someone to hang a piece of mine in a pride of place in their home. I would be very proud for someone to appreciate it every day.
Do you have any artistic influences?
As I mentioned previously, I love Edgar Degas. I love the works of Cezanne; all of the impressionist paintings are truly beautiful, so I would say they have influenced the way I use my brush and sometimes style.
Another inspiration of mine is Johannes Vermeer. His use of light in his work is a huge inspiration to my work.
In a more conceptual matter, I love Marc Chagall’s work. He opened up my creative thinking to using dreams as a source of inspiration. The feeling of painting a dream is so freeing.
On another note, I have recently written and illustrated a children’s book. For this, I was inspired by Anime artists, I have a huge love for manga art and the work on DeviantArt. I am incredibly interested in young, up and coming artists. Discovering how they are digitally manipulating their work, using new software and creating such interesting pieces, has been eye-opening. But more about this another time!
As you may notice, I have an array of influences! From the very contemporary style of Anime to the traditional style of Degas and Vermeer, I have a wide variety of inspiration which collaborates to form my personal style.
How do you feel as an artist when you have the final piece ready?
Finishing a piece is very calming! It’s a wonderful feeling as you just know when a painting is complete. It’s similar to writing a song, you just know that it is the best it can be and there is an intrinsic sense of ‘I know this is finished now’. It’s a calm, serene realisation that it’s complete and you can let it go for someone else to enjoy.
Are you working on any new pieces at the moment?
I am working on a piece at the moment which I have taken inspiration from a dream of mine. Spoiler alert! I was floating through the sky, holding a deer.
A deer is my spirit animal, but the trouble is, I’m not the best at painting people! That’s the wonderful thing about painting dreams, the concepts are flexible. I can manipulate the dream if and when required which is what I love about it.
I have recently been spending a lot of time on the South Coast of England, near The Wittering’s in West Sussex. I have started working on some photography and watercolour work. I have definitely been inspired by my beautiful surroundings. Eventually I may also explore some oil artwork when I’m down there, we will see!
There is always lots of creative work in the pipeline!
Thank you so much for your interest in my art work, I am so excited to be able to tell you all about my artistic world! I can’t wait for you to see my newest collection, feel free to check out my website and social media channel as it’ll be sharing all things art over on my YouTube channel and Instagram page!
See you soon!
In Love & light,
Interviewee: Natasha Hardy
Date: 4th June 2021
Time: 12 pm