We’ve sat down with Amy Judd, the talented artist behind the beautiful artwork selected for the Battersea Spring campaign. Read on to find out what inspires her to put paint to canvas.
How would you describe a typical day in your studio?
Mornings start off with a mad dash to find nappies and socks for my baby girl before dropping her off with family and then heading to the studio, where I can take a deep breath and relax! I scoff a croissant and a banana at my old school desk, open up my paint smeared Apple Mac and decide what music/radio station to listen to. The previous night I will have picked what to paint and have it planned out on the canvas in preparation for the day ahead. I set up my paints, light to dark on my throwaway paint palette (sheer laziness) and set out my brushes. I paint until I have come to an organic stopping point, a finished torso or plumage, then eat lunch (perhaps left over curry) and have a natter with my studio friends. I finish about 5pm to pick up Mia and spend the evening researching and planning for the next day.
What drew you to explore the relationship between women and nature in art?
I have always been drawn to mythologies and folklore and their magical relationships between humans and nature, but it was when I saw ‘Swan Lake’ the ballet that my work changed. I was captivated by Odette’s transformation to and from a swan, it was a sublime idea and I began creating my own myths within my paintings. I was drawn towards more avian themes as a bird’s plumage is a joy to paint and works so well with the soft skin tones of my figures. When I started introducing birds and feathers into my paintings I soon saw they had a greater impact on the viewer. To many people these birds and feathers can hold a deeper symbology, representing contradicting values such as beauty and death, peace and misfortune, vulnerability and strength.
What was the inspiration behind ‘Bath White’?
‘Bath White’ is the name of the butterfly in the painting, it is a simple winged butterfly covering a woman’s face, masking her and gently shielding her from the world, as one might close ones eyes to concentrate. She wears a plain white shirt that glows like the white wings of the butterfly, she could be contemporary or from another time, there is a sense of nostalgia but the image is timeless. I want to create an image that stands still, a fleeting moment of silence; similar to when a butterfly lands, its wings frozen for a second before rapidly fluttering away again.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
There have been several red letter days, way back when I had a tiny windowless studio Hicks Gallery stumbled across me at our open day and asked to show my work, the exhibition was a real success and led to many more, I was at last a “professional painter”! I collaborated with the New York edition of Harper’s Bazaar to produce a six page spread, it looked fabulous and introduced my work to the American market; earlier this year I was even mentioned in Kate Hudson’s top 20 favourite things. Welcome to America!
More recently I finished a commission for The Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane in London, it was the largest painting I have done and I love that people from all over the world visiting the Hotel will see it.
What would you say are the most challenging and the most rewarding aspects of being an artist today?
I am very lucky to be selling my work and making a living out of what I love, but it takes time to get established and many years of part time work and “maybe I should try something different” moments. The studio is cold and you need real self-discipline to get up and go to work when you are the boss and your bed is so comfy and warm. Tax returns and VAT is a real pain, enough said!
BUT, I Love my job, creating something that people enjoy or are moved by, that they want in their homes or just as a screen saver. Also, I can choose my own hours, I like my own company, I can listen to whatever music I like, dance when I like. More importantly, be with my daughter whenever I like.
Do you buy artwork yourself?
This is a good question, I have one small original painting of a pretty oriental woman bought at an antiques market, not valuable but I love it, with delicate brush work and muted tones. For the most part, our house is full of prints, as my husband is from a graphic design background, and I love the layered graphic quality of them. I own a few Peter Blakes, one of which was a wedding gift from my gallery (thank you!), I love them and they are some of my most precious possessions. The Affordable Art Fair has some great print galleries and it is always full of tempting buys!
What advice would you give aspiring artists?
My advice is to get seen. No one will see your talent if it’s stuck behind your studio door. Be pro-active and get an online presence, my best exposure has been on social media, through Facebook, Pinterest and bloggers, these have a life of there own and keep going without you having to do a thing. More importantly, get your stuff out there physically by organising your own shows, enter competitions, do open studios… you never know who will come!
Take a look at how Amy’s painting, ‘Bath White,’ inspired the Battersea Spring Campaign.
If you would like to see more of Amy Judd’s work, then grab your tickets to the Spring Collection here.