Erin Ward: January Featured Artist at Beside The Wave Gallery

A spotlight on Acrylic painter Erin Ward. Erin’s paintings are inspired from visits to coastal regions, particularly the East Coast, Cornwall, and Norfolk, spending time walking the coastal paths. Areas where the sea meets the land and rivers, where salt water meets fresh water are a fascination, as well as hard rock against water, the meeting of two extremes.

Erin paints in an energetic, semi-abstract way using a limited palette; often mixing the colours directly onto the canvas, using rags, palette knives and sometimes her fingers, building up the paint from transparent washes to thick impasto in focal areas. We caught up with Erin to find out more about the collection.

Your paintings are full of energy and movement, how do you capture that emotion within your work from memory?

My energetic mark-making is my style which has developed over the years and I find if I am remembering a place, it’s usually from a sense of atmosphere or the weather so it usually works out fine.

What started your connection with Cornwall? Did you visit as a child?

I first visited Cornwall as a child on a family holiday and that memory stayed with me, but it wasn’t until my early twenties when I went on my own and walked the coastal paths did my love for Cornwall really start to develop. I have since returned as often as I can to walk and sketch and soak up the wonderful light and landscape.

What draws you to using acrylic paint in your work?

Acrylics are hugely versatile but are also non-toxic and the artist quality paints use lightfast pigments. They are fantastic to use to create thick impasto areas which still dry quickly but their versatility means that you can also use them in thin layers to give a watercolour effect and also to build up glazes.

They do dry quickly but I also work fairly quickly and it’s a good challenge to get those lovely impasto marks down in one go.

Light Overhead

Light Overhead, Acrylic on canvas, 61 x 61 cms, £1,400 – view online

What do you want the viewer to feel from your paintings?

I would love viewers to connect to a sense of atmosphere, and a sense of place in my paintings but mainly I would want them to take away an emotional response.

Do you have a favourite painting within the collection at Beside The Wave Gallery?

That is a difficult question! Each of the pieces in the collection means something different to me but if I could choose two, it would be ‘Empty Beach’ for it’s quiet, calming atmosphere and then ‘Rolling In’ for the dynamic marks, colour and energy, so they are complete opposites!

Rolling InRolling In, Acrylic on canvas, 76.2 x 76.2 cms, £1,950 – view online

Who have been your influences whilst developing your artistic career?

Turner had a very early influence on me. I remember pouring over his watercolour studies for a project in school.

More recently I have been looking at the work of women painters of the Abstract Expressionism movement, in particular, Joan Mitchell, whose work I adore. I think I’m attracted to her energy and movement which plays a big part in my own work.

I also love the work of David Tress, whom I think is one of Britan’s best contemporary landscape artists.

How has your work developed over the years and what direction do you see your work going for the future?

My creative journey has been long and varied and it is only in the past 12 years that I feel my work is going in a direction that I am happy with, although there are still many ups and downs! I tried using acrylics, loved their versatility and ease of use, and as I became comfortable using them as my main medium (I still work in watercolours and oils) my painting flourished. Seascapes, landscape and the weather have always been my main inspiration and this doesn’t show any signs of changing, but I’m finding that my style has become more abstract and my once very limited palette has started to include brighter, richer colours which I’m finding very exciting. I also want to try to capture the energy and motion in my work onto larger canvases and so I have started practising on large pieces of paper first.

Tide Rushing In

Tide Rushing In, Acrylic on canvas, 61 x 61 cms, £1,400 – view online

View the full collection of paintings online here.

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