Favell is our Artist of the Week, she has lived in the seaside town of Sidmouth since 1998. She often paints with pastel, and her paintings are vibrant with colour. She has exhibited in many countries and her paintings have sold all over the world. She is well known for paintings of the Devon seaside.
To begin Favell, what has attracted you specifically to pastel as a medium ?
I always loved drawing, and pastels were the obvious choice for me when moving on to colour.
My formative years as an artist were spent on the Island of Cyprus. I mainly worked in the olive groves and at various beauty spots, where I needed a medium that helped me to capture the fast-changing light conditions during different times of day.
Pastels do not require drying time and therefore the colours remain the same.
What is the most challenging part of working with pastels?
When working outside, you need a good system for transporting your pastels, especially if you require many different colours in your work. Pastel sticks are quite fragile and they break very easily, so they must be stored well to avoid any strong knocks.
Pastels are a messy medium to work with, and they need good care to stay clean. I keep mine in boxes with rice flour on the bottom.
Tell us a bit more about the creative process from start to finish.
The ground, often pastel paper, which I use plays an important role. There are many different types of pastel papers or card available, which are used for different techniques. I may decide to choose a medium paper for sketching, or a more “toothy” ground (with various sandpaper-like textures) for more intense studies and for using building-up layers of pastel. The different texture choices also decide whether I use hard or soft pastels.
The colour of the ground – pastel papers come in many different colours – decides the mood, light or dark, and it can be used as an extra colour.
I begin by drawing out the composition using a hard pastel and then move gradually towards softer brands. I work in stages, gradually building up the colours, and think in terms of relationships with the surrounding colours.
I try to use a mixture of techniques to give my work interest through a variety of strokes and movement in the pastel marks.
What or who were your early influences, how has your upbringing influenced your work?
I was born and spent my early childhood in Kenya, which gave me the love and respect of all natural things. I was privileged to see wild animals close by, living in their natural environment. I grew up on a farm, so already at a very early age I loved drawing animals.
Kenya gave me my sense of colour and sound.
How would you describe your work?
I am a pastel artist working with traditional landscape and seascape scenes. My process of capturing light and movement leans towards the Impressionist use of colour.
What was your route to becoming an artist?
I have been drawing and winning awards since I was a child and decided to continue studying art at the Academy of Fine Art in Florence. After leaving Italy I was lucky to travel a lot and lived for many years in Cyprus, where I made a living by painting the local scenery and people.
Who or what have been your major influences and why?
I was greatly influenced by Michelangelo and his figure sculptures.
Rembrandt, Degas, Toulouse Lautrec and later Cézanne were a few of my big influences as well as the National Romantic artists of Russia and Finland.
Is there a particular piece of work that is of special importance to you?
The Finnish artist Akseli Gallen-Kallela’s “Lemminkäinen’s Mother” is one such work. It is a symbolic, strong, emotional painting of a mother’s loss of a grown up son. It also reminds me of Michelangelo’s Pietà.
How has your work developed throughout the years, what direction do you see your work taking in the future?
I have been building up my knowledge of the pastel medium over the years and am hoping to continue working on a variety of subject matters. There is a constant challenge for me to improve myself and to learn more from other artists and new inspirations. I also continue to learn using other mediums.
Thank you Favell for being our Artist of the Week. Let’s have a look at some of your work.