Kent Artist Profile: Virginia Griffith-Jones
Most artists choose one medium to work in and then make that their trademark. For Kent artist Virginia Griffith-Jones, one medium is just not enough – she loves (and uses) them all. insideKENT spoke to Virginia about why this style of working appeals to her and how she decides what artistic method to use every time she wants to make a new piece of art.
If you had to define your art, how would you describe what you do?
When I paint, I challenge what I see. I am a spontaneous painter and in much of my work I set out to combine the traditional and the abstract. I approach my painting with an instinctive desire to fill the canvas with expressive patterns using shape and colour in an uninhibited and vibrant way. I am a great believer in ‘looking’; it is the key to my painting.
How did you become an artist?
I have painted all my life and I paint/sketch every single day. I have lived in Zimbabwe and the Netherlands, so from an early age I have been influenced by colour. My father encouraged me as he always painted in his free time. To encourage my development and learning for my creativity and painting (but always making time for my own) I went to Kingston University and after a while working in advertising I taught art to children in schools and to adults in my studio. I also organise painting holidays in England and abroad (www.x2artholidays.com). It is brilliant to share and encourage others to share my passion.
What is the most unusual, daring, or interesting commission you’ve ever received?
I always love painting commissions as they give me the opportunity to paint something really personal. An interesting one I have done is a large ‘collage type’ painting of Islington, which you can view here: www.virginiagriffithjones.com/wp-content/gallery-bank/original-images/islington-2.jpg
You like to paint in many different media – do you have a favourite? What tells you which medium you should be using for each piece?
I do paint in all mediums and they depend on my mood, the subject and how I want to portray the joy of life at the time. I don’t have a favourite as I love them all. My work has developed from traditional roots using watercolour, and I now love experimenting and combining different mediums, for example chalk pastel with watercolour. I also use a pen initially to record what I see. Paul Klee has said “drawing is taking a line for a walk”, which is very much me.
How does Kent inspire your work?
Well, how lucky I am to live in this wonderfully diverse, beautiful county. I have spent many an hour on the coast, the Downs and the Weald to mention but a few locations and I am constantly inspired everywhere I go; I always have a sketchbook with me. I can’t forget the villages, rivers and even the towns that all have their particular magic.
Do you have any artistic heroes?
My style of painting draws from a number of influences: the great painters such as Henri Matisse and his use of colour, shape and pattern; Paul Klee for his use of watercolour and line drawing; Wassily Kandinsky for his wonderfully expressive movement in his paintings; David Hockney who fills me with joy with his brilliant sense of colour and fresh ever-changing style; and of course all my own teachers over the years – latterly Stephen Rose.
Where can we see your work?
My studio! Please take a look at my website for further information.