Published on 3 May 2020

It’s been just over a month since the lockdown and we trust you are all keeping well and safe out there!.

So week 3 of our chats…..We have talked to a couple of oil painters – and Sumi-e ink painter – over the last two weeks; we thought, therefore, that we would turn our attention to watercolour this time.
But before we introduce you to our next artist, we would like to say that the response from this series of chats has been so positive, both from our readers and artists’ point of view, that we have decided to also publish one mid week. So, as from next Saturday 9th May you will also be able to enjoy our conversations on Wednesdays, starting with Wednesday 13th May.

But for now, we’ll be

Taking the scenic route
with Linda Foster

Linda, Hi,  

I’m starting to really missing seeing you and all of our artists, but hope you are well and keeping safe. Just to inform our friends out there, could you say a few words about yourself?

I am originally from North Yorkshire, and it is there that my love of rugged and open landscapes was born. As a child, I spent most of my time drawing and painting and was encouraged to apply for Art College by a favourite art teacher.

Following completion of the Foundation Course, I applied for a place on a Textile Design course in Birmingham which I followed up with a Post Graduate course on Industrial Knitting in Nottingham.

I then spent a few years as an independent knitwear designer, fulfilling many private and trade commissions. Eventually I ceased my knitwear business as life took a different path for a number of years. However I never stopped drawing and painting and sold the occasional piece of work via word of mouth.

I moved to the Borders a few years ago, and, following retirement, I built myself a studio and returned to my passion of watercolour painting.  

Apart from the time you spend as a professional artist, do you also have other occupation, such as part time lecturer/tutor?
No, being retired gives me the time to dedicate myself fully to what I have always loved doing: painting

Where do you work? Do you have a studio/workshop? Tell us a little about this special place.
Yes and this is where I spend most of my time.  The studio is my ‘happy place’ as it looks out over the countryside towards the sea, it never fails to sustain me. 

How has the lockdown affected your time in the studio/workshop?
The lockdown hasn’t really affected my time in the studio but, as all the art fairs I was planning to be involved in, and the galleries are closed,  my focus has shifted as the deadlines have been removed.

Describe a “typical” approach to your work practice
I usually have 3 or 4 paintings on the go at once which then means I can allow different stages to dry before layering another stage on.

Are you a “must have total silence” kind of creative person, or do you listen to music whilst working?  What is your fave music you like to work to?
I usually have radio 4 on in the mornings but then music. I use Spotify a lot to set up playlists and discover new pieces of music. Fave music can range from Santana to Sibelius – eclectic taste!

What is the main subject of your inspiration?
My main inspiration is the wild and barren places in the North of Scotland, Wester Ross, Sutherland, the Flow country and the Outer Hebrides as well as Shetland and Orkney. And of course… the alchemy of the watercolour paint itself.

What medium and techniques do you use to translate your creative ideas? Tell us a little about your creative process.
Always watercolour but sometimes combined with ink and sometimes with gouache.

Uist, watercolour – 97cm W x 45cm H, framed

Looking at the history of art in the Western World at least, where would you place yourself, spirit and style wise? 
No idea.

Well, there’s an easier one this time: some people have ‘studio pets’. Do you have one? What’s their ‘contribution’ to your creativity?
My studio pet, Molly, died last year  and I’m  afraid our two new cats show no interest in joining me in the studio. However, if I leave the door open our two hens will sometimes come in to listen to the music.

What did you do at first to try and adjust to  this new ‘lockdown’ situation? 
I tried to understand what was happening and why the Government was so slow to act!

What is your favourite pastime? Has the pandemic impacted on your ability to enjoy this?
I spend most of my free time painting but I also knit and sew sometimes.

Can you while away the hours with a “good book”? or do you need to do something more active.  Any particular title you would recommend as a “must read once in a lifetime”?
I love reading. I have just finished The Wild Places by Robert MacFarlane. I love poetry too and have just bought The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry.

What about films? What is your favourite film of all?
Yes, I do love films. My Favourite film… Kelly’s Heroes.

Orkney Glimmer, watercolour – 47cm x 47cm, framed

Tell us of one of the most beautiful or happy moments in your life?
My first visit to Orkney. Walking along the cliff tops at Yesnaby and visiting the Ring of Brodgar.
The walk along the cliff tops at Yesnaby gave me such a powerful feeling of connectedness and I was in awe of the views, the rocks, the movement of the sea, sea stacks forming and the fact there was no land mass between these cliffs and Greenland.
The tranquillity and silence at the Ring of Brodgar was palpable with just the sound of oyster catchers and curlews adding to the atmosphere.

Who is up there in your esteem in terms of artistic excellence? What is/are your favourite artist(s)? John Blockley, Michael Morgan and Egon Schiele.

What is it that you like so much about these artists? Both John Blockley and Michael Morgan pushed the boundaries of watercolour and did much to lift it from a less serious medium to one that was to be reckoned with. As for Egon Schiele, it is his mastery and innovation at figure drawing, that I admire.

The Road West, watercolour – 63cm W x 53cm H, framed

Any pet hate? – we all have one, it’s OK to say it.
Not sure…cannot say I have one really… Oh, people who say ‘revert back’!

As a painter, do you have a favourite colour?
Payne’s grey

It has been said that creatives are often great cooks as they know how to balance food colours, flavours, texture to create that perfect tastebuds experience, do you like cooking? What is your signature dish?
Nana’s  Soup. Also sometimes called Nana’s Orange Soup by my grandchildren – no oranges were ever harmed in the making of this soup, rather it was a way of disguising vegetables and making them palatable for my grandchildren’s taste. It was always popular with them.

What makes you laugh/cry?
All sorts – puns, for instance, make me laugh, sometimes uncontrollably. My favourite one is ‘if I had a newt it would be a small one.
Why? Because it would be minute/my newt

 What is your favourite tipple?
Cannot beat a single malt – any of the Islay ones.

What is your “naughty but nice” comfort?
Has to be Chocolate.

 If you could travel, where would you go?

Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Faroe Islands

Finally, going forward, what would you hope we could learn as society/humans from this pandemic. What is your message to the world?
That we are all interdependent and need to work together for the good of everyone and the globe. That capitalism isn’t working and we need a fairer society… Don’t get me started!

 THANK YOU so much LINDA for sharing these thoughts with us.

I hope our readers have enjoyed our chat. I, personally, found it fascinating to get to know more about you, the person and artist; listening to you undoubtedly brought me closer to your wonderful and unique rendition of wild spaces. Thank you.

Luskentyre, watercolour – 72cm W x 52cm H, framed

If you want to know more about the new paintings shown in this email, or to simply see more of Linda’s work, please CLICK HERE

And of course, feel free to send us any comments/questions at  CONTACT US
  Thank you for reading and please do stay safe!

ps.: Our next episode of THE FULL PICTURE will be published on 9th May 2020

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