Portrait of an artist

The light and the land

I photographed artist Rachel Sargent at her studio in a converted cow shed in the Dorset countryside. It is this countryside that inspires her work.

I think my work is my way of trying to rekindle the feeling I have when I am out walking. Being aware of my natural surroundings is when I feel most myself. It gives me a chance to evaluate life and the universe and put things into a better perspective. My painting is an affirmation of what is important to me and a way of saying “Hey….have you seen this? Have you seen the way the light bounces off the wet land after a thunderstorm or how the wind creates moving patterns of shadows in the woods…?”

What fascinates me is how you can walk along the same length of hill, for instance, day after day and year after year, and it never looks or feels quite the same because of the way the light changes.

It is this changing quality of light against the permanence of the landscape that is central to my work. The emerging and fading light at the start and end of the day can often be the most dramatic so I like walking at these times especially.

Apart from the landscape the other thing that drives me to paint is the sheer love of paint, surfaces, colours and textures. In some ways I could happily be an abstract art- ist. I love looking at surfaces that are a combination of random colours and textures like rusting metal, peeling paint, posters pasted on top of each other that are torn revealing colours and shapes underneath.

I have always loved the quality and energy of line you can get in a lino print but have only recently started to explore the medium. I like the way it makes you evaluate what the basic elements are in a landscape.

Paring down the visual information into a stylized form needed for a lino cut keeps it simple and unfussy.

The three things I would struggle to be without would be my Earl Grey tea bags, a big tin of brilliant white emulsion paint (so many uses) and my bird feeder just outside the studio window so I can watch the mass of sparrows and starlings that to and fro

www.rachelsargent.co.uk Interview and images by Katharine Davies Instagram/KATHARINE_DAVIES katharinedaviesphotography.co.uk #artist #studio #portrait #creative #landscape

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