Wednesday, 7 January 2015

#TheCultureHour Guest Blog - Carolyn Stubbs

Newlyn gull on harbour wall
Cornish artist Carolyn Stubbs explains how the West Country has inspired her light and airy wildlife pictures, a supernatural film and more…
Estuary wader - sculpted paper
"I've always loved the natural world, wild coastlines, pounding waves and the screech of seagulls soaring above. Perhaps it's in my blood as I was born in Cornwall, close to St Michael’s Mount and my Cornish heritage goes back many centuries. Animals are also very dear to my heart and these are often reflected in my work. I especially highlight the vulnerability and fragility of our wildlife by using sculpted paper. This is a technique I developed myself. It isn’t collage, but a unique method of creating a 3D effect. I draw the image in some detail first, then carve out with a scalpel, tiny slivers of paper that I glue onto my canvas.  I try to keep the colours true and often use recycled paper with text, giving the work a contemporary appearance.
Birds sculpted out ready to glue onto canvas
Pastel painting
"I also have a passion for writing. For me, both art and writing are equally important.  I usually have more than one project on the go at a time.  My book Living Tavistock is now in the Tavistock Museum. I wrote and illustrated it before many changes took place in the small country market town in Devon, and it contains interviews with farmers, Angela Rippon at her home, the Dartmoor Rescue Group and many others.
Bewicks Swans
Shown in New York
"My journey as an artist could have started earlier than it did. I was always drawing as a child, and teachers remarked on my vivid imagination. I would have loved to pursue a career in the arts, but my family were dismissive of it. As a somewhat shy and quiet girl who didn't argue with her parents, I reluctantly went into nursing. All my spare time was spent painting and drawing however; painting people’s houses, pets, anything and everything.  It took a near-death experience for me to re-assess my life.  I contracted tuberculosis from a patient and would have died within the month if I hadn’t been diagnosed and the treatment started. I'd been given a second chance, and wouldn't waste it!
Black Swan - sculpted paper
Redwings - sculpted pare
"After months of recovery I prioritised my life and took a full time degree in Art & Visual Culture.  I also took an HNC in Graphic Design and those years of learning were so helpful and also very enjoyable.
Mock up for Vichy Skin care
"A lot has happened since and one of my memorable exhibitions, on the waterfront in Bristol was ‘Yesterday, Today, the Future…’ a triptych of the environmental damage already done to our planet, with a vision of the future should we not stop polluting it. The work received the Wessex Watermark Award. Even better, Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore wrote a personal letter congratulating me. This was the icing on the cake, as I wanted to raise environmental awareness through art and that proved I’d succeeded. I couldn't have been more delighted to receive his letter.
Whilst in Cornwall Anthony Hepworth Nicholson (stepson of the sculptor Barbara Hepworth, and son of painter Ben Nicholson) opened a gallery and took me on as one of his artists, giving me a solo show and making me artist of the month. This was a boost to my career as I was a late starter in the professional sense and needed to pack a lot in.

"My writing carried on and I wrote the story line  for #Underground – a short supernatural film made in London by Markus Etter.
"It was entered into the International Film Awards and gained several awards. This has
spurred me on to write a full length supernatural novel which I'm currently in the process of completing. I was fortunate for my sculpted paper work of a seagull and black swan to be shown in New York. In addition I was selected for inclusion in the book by Bare Hill Publishing ‘State of the Art’, Sculpture and 3D in 2013.

"I have recently moved to Bristol and I feel 2015 is time to embrace new beginnings and to stretch myself in different ways. I have already begun that process, stepping right out of my comfort zone to create a completely different work of art.  It's a painting on a large canvas of a rusty old car, a classic I believe. I’d pass it daily when taking my dog out and it always looked rather sad and neglected.
"Where once headlights existed are now big black holes. Just one old fashioned wing mirror survived and the bonnet looked torn and ragged where the rust had nibbled it away. When I saw daisies appear though, it struck me at how beautiful the scene was. Corrosion being softened by the regeneration of nature – I was hooked.  It took me a couple of months to paint and although it was a challenge, it was such an enjoyable process that I can't wait to start on the next one, whatever that might be…"


Twitter: @stubbs_carolyn