Tamsin Dearing is based on the south coast of Cornwall. She has had her beautiful detailed work selected for several exhibitions with the society of Women Artists and ING.

“Goldfinch” pastel painting.

“Goldfinch’ is a pastel painting of immense detail and complexity.  How do you build the layers in your work to create a sense of realism? 

I love to focus on the details when making art. For me this is what makes a subject most interesting, and I aim to represent them as accurately as I am able. I approach each picture by initially laying down an outline and blocking in the main colours and tones. During this process I gain a sense of the form and how each element contributes to the overall shape. Then once I have a base that I am happy with, I gently add layers which become increasingly refined over time. This gradual approach allows me to edit as I go, and I often find that a picture doesn’t come together and look as I want it to until the last moment. This can mean that I doubt it will work out, but over the years I have learned to trust the process and try to reserve judgement till working on the finishing touches. With the portrait Goldfinch, I painted the majority of the picture with pastel blocks, then for the finest marks such as the shadows in the teasel, I worked with pastel pencils for more precision in my mark making. 

“Fox” original pastel painting.

In ‘Fox’ you use pastel on velour paper.  Can you tell us more about pastel as a medium in your practice and the wider importance of the support in the overall effect achieved?

I find painting with pastel to be a great way to work more quickly than I am able with pencil. For Fox I primarily used blocks of pastel which allowed me to make large sweeping marks as well as finer lines for more definition.  I love the bright colours of pastels, and the immediacy of their effects. When I was first introduced to velour paper on a workshop with Amanda Rae Thompson it was such a pleasant surprise to me. It has a soft layer of tiny hairs similar to the skin of a peach, and these hold the pastel dust between them and allow for many layers to be applied and minimise smudging. In all of my art I like to build layers of colour and tone, so velour paper was perfect for me. The almost fuzzy nature of it as a support also gives a softness to the artwork which suits animal pictures particularly well and adds to the furry feel of portraits like Fox.

“Monochrome Mothering”, coloured pencil and pastel drawing.

“Can you tell us more about your mixed media work ‘Monochrome Mothering’”

Monochrome Mothering is drawn from an amazing photograph taken by Paul B Nash. To create such a striking image I chose to draw with white coloured pencil on black paper. I had worked this way on a number of pictures previously, but found that the pigment of the pencil was not great enough to create the level of contrast that I wanted for these zebras. So I rather reluctantly lifted off a lot of the pencil I had applied and redrew much of the picture with white pastel which was a far brighter white. I find that every new artwork teaches you something as an artist, and this was a time consuming but helpful learning opportunity for me.

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