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    5th April 2024 art-admin

    Meet The Art Buyer Collective

    Claire Chandler, Joanne Olney, Sarah J Cox, Joanne Last, Catherine McVean & Diana Croft


    Meet the inaugural members


    Joanne Last

    Joanne Last The Art Buyer
    Do you feel that you have ever landed on a particular ‘style/genre, or is it constantly
    changing and evolving?
    Throughout my career I have explored so many different things. From semi-realistic
    seascapes, cityscapes, loose gestural painting to almost geometric abstracts. I work
    large, small, on canvas, board, and paper – with oil, acrylic, collage and pastel. This might
    sound like I am a butterfly – not sure where to land – constantly searching for something
    that satisfies me. The latter is certainly true – I need to feel excited and stimulated by
    what I am doing. But I think the variety of my output is more to do with my love of the
    physicality of painting itself and the actual materials I use. The creative sparks are ignited
    by the ‘how’ (the process) – building texture, creating new colours, making marks, using
    something different like carbon paper or blackboard paint, using a tool from a hardware
    shop. The ‘what’ (the subject) is what I hang this on – and this needs to keep evolving and
    changing to allow me the freedom to keep exploring and discovering. The common
    denominator is simply me – which is why I think people always say they recognise my
    work as mine – even though it can be so different.

    Joanne Last The Art Buyer
    Tell us a bit about your creative process. You paint without a plan, so how do you
    start and when do you know a work is finished?
    I always start from a blank canvas in my head, as well as physically on the easel. I may
    have a desire for a certain direction or starting point – a colour palette, an intention to
    explore more linework or a landscape feel for example – but I never plan ahead as to what
    the finished piece might look like. I have to step off the creative edge in order to fall into
    something that engages me. My best work always comes from a place of risk and
    experimentation. It’s a dance between fast, intuitive, and often very physical painting and
    then just looking, so I can analyse what I have done and make some decisions about the
    next move. The ‘not knowing’ can mean many changes and overpainting and frequent
    frustration – but equally something magical and unexpected can appear quite suddenly
    and without warning.
    I know when a piece is finished when it looks at me! When it suddenly takes on a
    presence that feels complete and doesn’t need or ask for any alteration. Sometimes it’s
    only one small stroke of paint that will make this happen.

    Joanne Last The Art Buyer


    Claire Chandler

    Claire Chandler The Art Buyer
    If you could own any piece of art (even if you have to rob a bank or museum!) what
    would it be and why?
    Drift (1961) by Peter Lanyon
    I love the space in this painting, I can feel the wind, it’s calm and peaceful yet full of
    movement. It seems like such a simple painting yet it evokes so much about the sky and
    I wrote my dissertation about Lanyon whilst I was at University and years later, I’m still
    obsessed with his work!

    Image Credit: Studio International

    Can you tell us about a real-life situation that has had a direct impact on your work?
    Whilst backpacking in South America I was lucky enough to travel to the Perito Moreno
    Glacier in Argentina. I was enthralled by it’s size and scale. I stood looking at it for almost
    an hour. Suddenly the ice cracked, and a roar reverberated through the valley as pieces of
    ice, the size of high rise buildings, fell into the water in front of me. I was in awe of the
    power of nature. I wanted to capture that feeling and paint it!
    I created a whole series of paintings based on that one experience.

    Claire Chandler The Art Buyer

    Jo Olney

    Jo Olney The Art Buyer
    Do you have a preferred creative medium?
    I don’t have a preferred medium or technique, although I do find some easier than others;
    painting, in particular, presents challenges. Surprisingly, textile work feels more intuitive,
    perhaps due to its material constraints and ironically, my perceived lack of technical
    expertise. I enjoy hand stitching, although I’m not as dexterous as I’d like, and my
    repertoire of stitches is limited. This constraint, however, often simplifies my designs,
    which I view as an advantage.

    Jo Olney Artist The Art Buyer
    Reflecting on your creative journey, what insights have you gained about your
    I’ve noticed that I enjoy working on a relatively small scale, particularly favouring a square
    substrate ranging from 8 to 12 inches in size. I find that restricted space allows me to
    intricately weave the narrative behind each piece by layering colours and textures to
    evoke a sense of history and presence. Delicate marks and the creation of atmospheric
    qualities are also essential aspects of my process, albeit challenging to achieve, as they
    contribute to the overall depth and potential resonance of the artwork.

    Jo Olney The Art Buyer

    Catherine McVean

    Catherine McVean The Art Buyer
    What is your biggest inspiration? Is there something you hope to communicate with
    your art?
    I am inspired by things that I see around me in my daily life and by how these things
    change throughout the course of the year. I find the feeling of the season and where we
    are in the year can often be captured by small things; a specific colour, fresh produce or
    the quality of light. I love the anticipation of each season, the transient nature of the fresh
    produce and plants available at that time and as a result the preciousness of them.
    The constant which I explore throughout the year is light. Light changes throughout the
    day but also a huge amount throughout the year and I love to explore this through my
    paintings. Is the light warm or cool, strong or soft? I am fascinated by how much light can
    change both the look and feel of a subject.
    I choose to celebrate small moments of daily life and hope to communicate something of
    the time and place in which they were painted. Through my paintings, I hope to connect
    with a viewer’s own experiences, feelings and memories.

    Catherine McVean The Art Buyer
    Can you share a little about your painting process and technique?
    I work from life and choosing a subject to paint is the first step. The fruit & veggie box will
    arrive and something in it will grab me, or I spot something in the garden or my home –
    that is usually my starting point. I spend a long time thinking about the composition; the
    colours and shapes I want to include to complement the subject I have chosen. I have a
    treasure cupboard full of items; pots, vases, plates, linen – some given to me by family
    members, other items I have collected myself. I will spend time setting up the
    composition and considering the light, moving things around until I am happy.
    I work with a limited palette of oil paints. I prefer to build on a deeper understanding of a
    limited number of colours and the mixes they can make. My preference is to work Alla
    prima or “at first attempt”. This means that I typically work on a painting over the course
    of a day, applying wet paint to previous layers of still-wet paint. By working in this way,
    the initial excitement of the subject stays with me and I believe that that freshness and
    excitement is translated onto the painting.
    I use a long handled brush to draw in the subject loosely, typically working on a white
    surface although I occasionally work with a coloured ground. I will often block in areas of
    colour and then build up the painting like a puzzle. I move across the whole canvas as I
    paint, rather than focusing on a single area and building from there. I find this useful in
    reading the colours and values and how they relate to each other in order to create a
    more cohesive painting.

    Catherine McVean The Art Buyer Gallery

    Sarah Cox

    Sarah J Cox artist The Art Buyer

    Is there a particular part of your practice that draws on memories and how does this surface in your art?
    I am a semi abstract landscape painter and for me it’s all about walking and recording the
    natural landscape. As a child, I would go off for hours on my bicycle. Mostly, I would be
    with friends cycling along country lanes surrounded by green countryside. I think that’s
    how my love of nature came about. For a short period of time, when I was about six, my
    family lived in a house in the woods. If I transport myself back, I can almost smell and see
    the blackberries in hedgerows, magenta and purple rhodedendron and azalea flowers.
    I’m very much drawn to the little details or flashes of colour in the landscape. Tiny
    buttercups, daisies or violets. And then conversely, swathes or bands of colour created by
    rapeseed crop, bluebell carpets or flax.
    Ultimately, walking the land grounds me and energises me. The fresh sights, sounds,
    colours and textures keep me in the present moment. There’s a deep spiritual aspect too.
    Feeling part of the infinite and all connected.
    I’m lucky enough to live in the Surrey Hills and I enjoy walking along part of an ancient
    pilgrimage route from Winchester to Canterbury cathedral. Land holds memories, records,
    tapes and has an energy to it. Most of us have favourite walks; places that shift our
    energy and make us feel better.
    My paintings aim to bring that energy and inter-connectedness into people’s homes.

    Sarah Cox Artist The Art Buyer family

    What is your ideal working environment?
    I love to start by sketching, taking photographs and videos and of course, painting, out in
    the landscape. One of my favourite spots would be on Porthmeor beach in St Ives,
    Cornwall. I like to sit on the rocks with the warmth of the sun on my face and paint. I use
    rock pools to wet my brush and with a set of watercolours, graphite stick and chinagraph
    to hand I set about observing and recording ideas.
    Once back in my garden studio, I translate and work up my preliminary studies into
    paintings on canvas. Here, I like to listen to art podcasts or the sounds of birdsong in my
    garden. This process is a quiet, reflective time and I prefer solitude to get into a flow state.

    Sarah J Cox Artist The Art Buyer

    Diana Croft

    Diana Croft The Art Buyer
    Tell us about your background and how you got into printmaking
    I was always passionate about art and studied illustration at Brighton College of Art (now
    Brighton University) and fell in love with printmaking during my time there.
    I really enjoyed the technical processes involved and the fact that each stage had to be
    carefully considered and planned. I experimented with all the major printmaking
    techniques including etching, lithography and linocutting discovering the strengths and
    characteristics of the various different mediums.
    After college I moved to London and worked editioning etchings and collagraphs
    professionally. I also also taught at the London College of Communication managing to
    do my own work in between and exhibited at various London galleries.
    I moved to Dorking in Surrey when my children were young, keen to bring them up in a
    less urban environment and immediately found the change of setting inspiring as we
    explored the wonderful countryside of the Surrey Hills.
    I set up my printmaking studio at home where I continue to work, now happily without
    distractions (my children having flown the nest) concentrating mainly on reduction
    linocuts which have become a bit of an obsession.

    Can you share a little about your printmaking process and technique
    I love the physical nature of printmaking and the craft element that goes into cutting the
    lino block. I take a long time drawing the design in pencil before tracing it onto the block,
    drawing the lines in permanent maker and eventually cutting away everything that will
    remain white before the first colour is printed.
    My preferred method is the reduction or ‘suicide’ method: so called as all the colours are
    printed from the same block with each specific area cut away until only the darkest colour
    (usually the fine detail) is left to print. This means that to get an edition of 20 you have to
    start by printing the first colour on 20 pieces of paper. The other colours are all printed on
    top of the first. Any mistakes made in the cutting are irreversible so great care must be
    taken not to cut away the wrong area.
    This is what makes the prints a true limited edition as you can never go back and print
    more so they do tend to be a bit more expensive as the editions are so small.
    My inspiration is drawn from my surroundings, the landscape, (either local or from various
    trips abroad) or from more intimate indoor settings with stylised still-life designs.
    Occasionally the landscapes are imagined but always have references to elements of
    familiar places that I know well.
    I love the rhythms created by the rolling hills of the South Downs and the more textured
    wooded vistas of the North Downs and Surrey Hills and try to express these qualities in
    my prints.


    Visit their exhibition ‘Renewal’ at The Art Buyer Gallery 16A High Street, Thames Ditton, on until 14th April.