Adrienne Hughes is our Exhibitor of the Month for July. Lots of you will know Adrienne for her fabulously vibrant images, both in frames and on coasters, placemats, cushions and mousemats available in The Blue Room. Let’s find out more about her and what inspires those fabulous pieces of work.
Where were you born? How long have you lived in North Somerset?
I was born “down Devon” and moved to North Somerset when I was 4. I have lived in the same house in Flax Bourton most of my life with brief escapes to Bridgwater, Blandford Forum and Yatton. Despite the fact we’re so close to Bristol here we have country walks on the doorstep and a garden full of wild birds. I love it!
Were you ‘crafty’ as a child? Can you tell us about something you made? Do you still have it?
Excuse me, I certainly wasn’t crafty as a child, I was the teacher’s pet!
Oh, sorry…er yes I see what you mean…yes I was always fiddling about making stuff…bit of woodwork with my dad, sewing with my mum, watching my gran oil paint or making a mess on my own. And yes I do have some thing I made when I was small…meet Mr Robinson!
Do you have any formal training?
Not really. I did an Art ‘O’ level (remember them) but the teacher all too frequently told us to draw what we could see out of the window whilst she popped out for a smoke! I practised this in other lessons too (the drawing not the smoking) which didn’t go down too well…I’m still a doodler.
Do you have a studio/office? Is it clean and tidy or a bit of a mess and muddle?
I have a small studio which I’d like to keep tidy but Mabel and Ivy our cats have other ideas. Ivy has been known to curl up on top of the paint palette!
Do you prefer to work in silence? With music? The TV?
Hmm…that depends really on what kind of mood I am in and what I am making. Sometimes it’s music, sometimes Radio 4 and sometimes just the bird song. After over 30 years in teaching (yes I know I look young for my age!!) I yearn for silence!
Your designs are always so bright and colourful. Is that reflected in the decoration of your home? In your clothing?
You noticed! Each room in our house is painted white with one bright accent wall. We deliberately used white for the art gallery effect to set off my large vibrant canvases. Of course I don’t wear bright colours that would be crazy!
Your animal designs are very popular. Are they based on your own pets?
The black and white cat is a little like Mabel and I am working on a version of Ivy. She is tabby and it’s harder to create a distinctive design with mixed colours – watch this space!
What is your favourite medium in which to work?
Ooh that’s hard. I love acrylics for their brightness and versatility (I use them for my screen prints as well as my painting) but I also love sketching in ink and adding watercolour.
Is there another craft/art that you’d like to have a go at?
I dabbled with ceramics at school and I’d love to get back into that. I love nature and the outdoors and working those themes into clay would be such a treat. Raku looks very exciting.
Can you tell us your favourite Artist (in any medium), musician, TV programme, book, place, colour and food?
I feel a song coming on….. Ok…’these are a few of my favourite things’
ARTIST – I fell in love with Van Gogh’s paintings when I was very young-just loved the colour and texture and the passion of it all. I aspire to produce screen-prints that are as abstractly beautiful as Barbara Rae’s.
MUSICIAN – iTunes tells me I have 15 full days worth of music so choosing is hard but I do love Sting and I am currently working on an idea to illustrate the beautiful song ‘The End of the Game’ which is about the life of a pair of foxes. And then there is Joni Mitchell and that great song ‘Carey’….written at Matala in Crete which takes me on to places.
PLACE – Crete is just fantastic. The light, the warmth, the history and a wonderful laid back feel-I do a lot of sketching here. I also love Cornwall…a walk from Constantine Bay around Trevose Head and back can put most things right.
COLOUR – hmm not sure…just lately I have gravitated to hot pink…especially when it’s next to a fiery orange…but I also love turquoise….deep cadmium yellow is great too…oh dear…guess I just love colour !
FOOD – anything vegetarian except eggs!
BOOK – really hard to choose but I’ll go for Tove Jansson’s Summer Book. Each chapter has it’s own beautifully written complete story about a young girl and her grandmother on an island in Finland. Her writing is magical. I’m planning a trip to see where she lived as it sounds such a wonderful, peaceful place.
TV – I tend to watch arty programmes. I’m currently enjoying the second series of Sky Arts Photographer of the Year and picking up lots of tips to help me with my own work!
We have a special exhibition of Adrienne’s work in the shop over the next month, do drop by and have a look. Or you could see coasters, mousemats and placemats in our online shop: Single Coasters, Mouse Mat, Set of Six Coasters, Place Mats