Gillian is a professional mixed media artist originally from Scotland and now living in North Hampshire, UK. Her work is usually inspired in some way by people and their roots, stories and experiences. She loves pops of vibrant colour, layers, grids, intricate details and natural surfaces, and has an emerging interest in bringing her creativity to infographics and data visualisation.
Gillian helps to run THAT Gallery Basingstoke, a pop-up community art gallery, and her work has been featured in several exhibitions in Hampshire and Berkshire. To date, she has sold over 40 original paintings and undertaken many commissions.
I'm inspired by people. It's why I make the art I do; it’s why I started with a degree in Human Biology and it’s why I decided to go travelling and spend the time immersed in different communities....
Like many artists, I have been drawing and making things since I was big enough to hold the tools to do so, and I don’t think I’ve ever really stopped. I think the advent of social media has been important for moving my art forward as it allowed me easy insights into different creative processes. I am also certain that starting a family was an important step in bringing out my creativity and this was when my artwork really began to move forward.
I was lucky to spend two years working and studying in close-knit communities in Latin America (read more about that here) and the warmth and friendliness of the people I met and the vibrant, upbeat culture had a profound effect on the style of my work. It made me passionate about being positive, enjoying life and appreciating the small things. I hope that these uplifting vibes really come across in the beautiful combinations of vibrant colour that I always include in my work.
When creating a piece of art, I usually start by obtaining a suitable source image, often from a photograph I took myself. I frequently use one of the photographs I took on my travels in Latin America or a photography of my children or other family member. Sometimes I recognise something happening around me in everyday life that will work well as the basis for a painting so I intentionally try to capture this.
Then I think about how I would like to use the source within a painting. I draw an outline of the composition onto a mixed-media underpainting and gradually bring the image to life by adding multiple layers, referring back to the source but also responding to effects from the underlying patterns and textures. Often, I deviate completely from the initial plan.
The process is a bit like a conversation between myself and the painting - I just provide the starting point and then I see where the conversation leads. Creating a painting in this intuitive way is somewhat exhilarating: it’s not always clear where the painting is going to go next so I have to trust my intuition and not get ahead of it - it’s exciting but tense, and I live the thrill of it all coming together.
The image that a camera captures can beautifully show a moment in time; art can take this image to a different level and share more of the story.
I would like people to feel a warm, positive vibe from my work, and be uplifted and inspired. I work primarily in acrylics because they allow me to create the vibrant colours that achieve this effect, and also allow me to work quite intuitively and respond to a painting - what can it show?
I believe that art should be exceptionally beautiful, maybe dreamy and a bit romantic, with depth and hidden layers. To this end, I start my work by creating a mixed-media underpainting with different techniques such as stenciling, scraping, glazing, stamping, scrafitti, masking, drips, mark-making, and creating texture, and work the image out of these details.
Appreciate the beauty and magic in simple, everyday moments and look inwards to celebrate that we are already enough. To me, the process of creating art feels like magic in itself; a particular juxtaposition of colours or a gentle touch with the right tool can create breathtaking results.
1st - 16th April 2023
Festival of Arts exhibition
The Base Greenham
7th November – 16th December 2022
Open Arts Exhibition
West End Centre, Aldershot
17th October – 28th November 2022
Howarth's Gallery, Newbury
20th –29th August 2022
7+ Artists, Proteus Creation Space (part of Hampshire Open Studios)
2nd – 5th June 2022
Whitchurch Art Fair
20th –29th August 2022
The Art Box After Dark, Basingstoke
2016 – present
THAT Gallery, Basingstoke
Tadley & Baughurst Art Club
Inspiration From Travelling
If you’ve ever heard any of the stories behind my artwork you will know that most of my work is inspired in some way by time that I spent in Latin America. I wasn't so much interested in a whistle-stop tour of tourist sights but rather in 'grounding' myself - I spent time in particular communities in Central and South America and really tried to understand the people - their culture and way of life.