Arts + Entertainment

Kent Artist Profile: Carole Robson

Artist Carole Robson likes to combine media and ideas to create beautiful, flowing, moving works of art. It’s a skill that she has mastered during her years as a full-time artist, and one that she enjoys teaching others thanks to her workshops and classes. This month, insideKENT’s Lisamarie Lamb spoke to Carole about her work and her plans for the future. 

Digital me (1)

If you had to define your art, how would you describe what you do? 

My paintings focus on the natural landscape, wild flower meadows, verges and woodland edges. They reflect my lifelong love of nature and long held ecological views.

My painting style is quite active and impressionistic. I paint at an easel using flowing washes of colour and use a variety of tools to incorporate drawing, marks and elements of abstraction.

How did you become an artist?

I think I’ve always been an artist. It’s what I did for fun as a child and my ambition was always to go to art school. I went on to work for ten years as a freelance book illustrator in London, before spending a year living in Sweden because of my husband’s job. I was completely inspired by Swedish nature and made the decision to give up my career as an illustrator in order to concentrate on my own paintings.


Youre an experimental artist; what does that mean in terms of media and how do you combine it all?

At the heart of experimentation is play, to discover what art materials can do and how they can be combined. Acrylic inks, for example, mix well with watercolour. You can add them as you mix paint or use a brush or dropper directly into a wash. Some inks will cause a resist effect with watercolour, and if washed off at the right moment can create interesting random textures. You can see this effect in the distant hills of ‘Magenta Sunset’.

Magenta Sunset

I also experiment with a variety of tools and the marks they can make; a ruling pen, for example, sticks, a palette knife, water sprayers, pieces of credit card and fingers, of course.

Other mixed media work may start with torn collage of printed and ripped paper, paint will be added, then perhaps texture paste, which plant material can be impressed into and the whole may finally be embellished with metallic powders.

How does digital art feature in your work?

My digital art begins with my paintings which are scanned professionally and I then import them into an app. This used to be Artstudio on my iPad, but now I use Photoshop as it allows me to have them printed much larger.

For me, digital art is just another tool and outlet for creativity. It allows me to choose just parts of the paintings if I wish, change colour schemes, add textures, drawing or erase areas. I can then layer these paintings together, merging them to produce something new, exciting and often quite abstract.

Can you tell us about the courses you offer?

My main block of teaching has just started and that is a six-week summer watercolour course that I run in Marden and Hildenborough. I also teach some Saturday classes during the year for Kent Wildlife Trust together with workshops for a number of art groups.

Carole Robson Last Season's Collection

What has been your proudest artistic achievement to date?

I think I would have to say my next one! Like many artists, I tend to be a perfectionist and never completely satisfied with my achievements, but I think that this is what drives us and pushes us on to bigger and more exciting things.

Where have you exhibited your work?

Mainly in London and the South East of England. I have exhibited with the Pure Arts group, Florum, the Kent Painter’s Group and Making Art Work. I’m also represented by the Artspring Gallery in Tonbridge, which is a collective of 17 artists, and I open my studio in June as part of South East Open Studios.

What does the rest of 2017 hold in store for you?

I was commissioned last September to write a watercolour book called Expressive Landscapes for Search Press, which will be published in July 2018. I am in the middle of writing it now and am loving the whole process.

I will also be exhibiting this autumn with the Kent Painters’ Group at Sevenoaks School on 27th, 28th and 29th October. The Making Art Work exhibition, Blurring Boundaries, is at the Kaleidoscope Gallery in Sevenoaks from 1st to 11th November and moves on to the Nucleus Arts gallery in Chatham from 16th to 29th November.


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