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Mary West

Mary is a fine art painter working from her home studio in West London. She studied Fine Art Painting at the Slade.

What inspires your work as an artist?
Nature and landscape are always my initial inspiration but I see these as a means to explore the act of painting itself. I paint with a sense of urgency to begin with, making intuitive gestural marks. The structure of the painting then starts to emerge and takes on a life of its own. Colour is at the heart of it all and I find myself heavily influenced by the seasons, the colours of my surroundings infiltrating into my paintings. I search for a sense of space and movement, I want the work to feel alive. Often memories and shared experiences pop into my head as I paint, nature and sensations mingling.

Who are your biggest influences?
There are so many artist who inspire me and many wonderful female painters currently making work. I love the paintings of Alia Ahmad, Flora Yukhonovich, Claire Tabouret, Pam Evelyn, Daisy Parris, Tyga Helme to name but a few. I have always loved Peter Doig who has been an enduring influence.

What does your work mean to you?
My paintings are personal spaces and yet I hope they have a universality, a familiarity that the viewer can engage with. I have an innate need to paint and to paint everyday where I can. My studio is in my home which is wonderful but not so good when you need to walk away from a painting, there’s no escape!

What techniques do you use?
I work only in oils. They give a depth of colour and richness that I yearn for. I also enjoy using oil sticks, these give wonderful texture and provide a different kind of mark making. I sometimes smear the paint on with my hands, I like the lack of control and the bold gestures. I build layers working in bursts. I love the unexpected moments that emerge, the marks I didn’t know I had made. I work with several canvases on the go at the same time, each one informing the other.

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