Our Artist - Judith Grassi

8 February 2019

An interview with Judith Grassi from Worcestershire, UK

Here she talks to Artists Info about her work.

Please describe your artwork style

I paint richly coloured canvasses which portray the shapes, colours, texture and scale of nature.

What’s your background?

I was born in Lancashire but have lived and worked in Worcestershire for many years. I trained in the 1970s at Rochdale College of Art and then at the Faculty of Art and Design at Wolverhampton, specialising in Fine Art.

How long have you been an artist?

I have wanted to paint and draw for as long as I can remember and was always encouraged as a child, coming from an extended family who were art-lovers, painters, illustrators and woodcarvers in their free time.  I retrained as a graphic designer in the late 1980s but returned to painting full time about 15 years ago.

Who or what are your biggest influences?

My list of most-loved artists includes Klimt, Modigliani, Georgia O’Keeffe, David Hockney, Grayson Perry, Victoria Russell - mostly for her stunning portrait of the actress Fiona Shaw (The National Portrait Gallery), Alison Watt (Associate artist at the National Gallery 2006-2008). I must also add the whole of nature to that list.

Where do you create your work?

I work in a studio on the top floor of my house. There are two windows and I can look down on to the garden where I get a lot of my inspiration.

What do you feel is the role of the artist in society?

I believe it is to prompt a response from the viewer. This could be purely an emotional one of pleasure which will lift the mood or a response which causes the viewer to question something.

What techniques / mediums do you use? 

I use acrylic paint on canvas, layering the paint to build up depth.

How do you feel when you are letting your emotions loose on the canvas?

I feel a mixture of freedom and of discipline. There is the luxury of freeing up the mind and being able to concentrate on one thing (which is becoming more difficult in this busy world). However, there is also a slight tension when working, endeavouring to put on canvas what is in my mind

What project are you working on now?

I have begun working on a series of paintings of birds on decorative backgrounds. This was prompted by a recent interest in the symbolism of things and I have incorporated these references into my paintings using the written word.

Where do you find your ideas for your work?

My work is inspired by nature in all its forms; from seeing a close-up of a flower petal, seeing and hearing the birds in my garden or from reading about wildlife and plants

Is there an artwork you are most proud of? Why? 

'The Important Bee' was inspired by reading about the vital part bees play in our survival. Without bees, the cross-pollination of flowers, food crops for ourselves and our livestock, and cotton crops would not happen. This tiny creature matters very much.  I was very happy when the painting was accepted by the Royal Birmingham Society of Arts for an open exhibition in 2018.

How do you know when a work is finished?

This can be difficult but when I think I have completed a painting I always leave it alone and do something else for a couple of hours. When I go back into the studio, I know if it is finished or not as everything will look ‘balanced’

Is there an element of art you enjoy working with most? Why?

Colour. Colour is an important and joyful part of my work and helps to convey all the drama that nature has to offer.

See more of Judith's work here: www.judithgrassi.co.uk

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