Artist of the month: Pauline Appleton
PUBLISHED: 09:08 20 November 2014
Manu Palomeque 07977074797
Accomplished watercolourist Pauline Appleton of Lenham discusses the fusion of colour and light
Pauline Appleton is fascinated by the fusion of colour and light and finds inspiration from both for her delicate watercolour paintings.
She works on several themes, but predominantly atmospheric landscapes and she particularly likes “the ethereal parts, like misty mornings or late evening or the depth or drama of water, harbour scenes, winter country scenes.”
Pauline has been painting since she was a young girl and here in her house in Lenham, near Maidstone, she has a studio combined with a study. She admits: “It’s a bit cramped, but it works. It faces east, but you can get away with it.”
It is of course the north light that is traditionally most suited for painting. She has been in Lenham for nearly 30 years, but in her current home for three.
Pauline is mainly a watercolourist, but also uses pastels, which she says are slightly messy, “like doing mud pies when you are a child”. She has also worked in acrylics, but prefers oils.
“Watercolour has fluidity and delicacy and there is the surprise factor. You tend to think you know what you are doing, but painting is so exciting, as things just happen. You might get a mix of two paints and you have to follow that through.”
Pauline uses Sennelier watercolours, which she describes as “juicy and honeylike,” and also Winsor and Newton, but invariably finds herself returning to her favourites.
Back on the theme of colour, Pauline follows what is more or less a canon of not mixing more than two colours.
She explains: “I like to use a limited palette. It depends on the mood I’m trying to depict and the time of year.
“But I have found that mixing colours on a palette is not always a good idea. If you drop a colour on paper, that’s when you get the excitement. Oils, when mixed, might get a bit muddy.”
At the moment Pauline is working on A4 paper. “Probably the smallest I do now, although I have done smaller. The largest would be A1 (roughly 23.5 by 33 inches)” – although she admits that in a watercolour this might be quite a challenge.
“I thrive on challenges. It depends on the subject, for example, there is no way that I would paint harebells on something that big. If I used a large size, it might be an abstract. I would like to do something large, and free, not too detailed.”
Pauline thinks that formal art training is important, as it gives you the confidence to draw or paint in any medium and “it also gives you the feeling that you are in control – although of course you never are!”
Yet, strangely, she hesitates when I ask why she chose to paint. A moment later she says “I don’t know: because I was creative and I found it was nice to express myself.”
She admits to always following a ritual whenever starting new projects: “If it is a brand new one, I will start with sketches and consider it. It’s a form of meditation.
“I might need to do research to get it right and then explore different ways of seeing the subject, using different sizes of paper, or different colours. The paintbrushes are always on the right.
“But before all this, I will always put the moment off before I feel right, such as clearing a drawer out, tidying the mind so you can concentrate.
“I will wear painting trousers and top and make sure I am not distracted. I have to get myself in the zone.”
Painting is something that Pauline says she can “disappear into, like good music. It should be important to people who have never tried it, because it is such good fun. If you don’t try, you would never know.”
To a new student starting out, Pauline advises: “Stick with your convictions, and never ever stop learning how to paint.” n
Get in touch
Contact Pauline Appleton on 01622 858011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. She takes commissions.
Pauline has some paintings on show in the Lenham Community Centre and you can also see her work at next May’s Pilgrims Way Artists show at the Tithe Barn, Lenham.