I recently had a coffee and chat with the very lovely and very talented Liz Kay Photography as a part of a series of interviews she is conducting for the Creative Cornwall group.
Welcome to another coffee chat with a creative where today I’m chatting with one of our prolific members and great contributors – Tamsin Dearing The Artist. So sit yourself down with a tea coffee or something stronger and lets start to find out more about Tamsin.
So Tamsin, who are you?
I am a self-taught Cornish artist, I specialise in fine art portraiture in pencil and pastel. My work is highly detailed and realistic, focussing on studies of people and animals and capturing all of their beauty just as they are. I work with simple tools – just four pencils for my graphite work, and love to show the potential that there is in my materials of choice. I have a traditional and representational style, slowly building up many layers on the page to create lifelike textures and subtle tones and values. I draw because I love it, and would do so even if I never shared my work with anyone else. It can be a meditative practice – when it is going well!
And which 5 words would you use to sum yourself up?
Determined, witty, artistic, introspective and compassionate.
Which part of our beautiful county do you live in?
I live in St.Austell. I consider myself so fortunate to be in Cornwall, and to call it home. St.Austell is a great place to be based, there’s a very creative community and a big focus on ceramics here of late with a view to celebrating the area’s China clay connections past and present. Plus we have wonderful landscapes with coastline, woodlands and moors so there is a lot to be inspired by.
A lovely area! what and who else inspires you in your work?
I am inspired by the natural world, and the people I meet as well as those I never will cross paths with in person. Ideas come from other artists’ work, the greats like Michelangelo as well as many of my contemporaries. Sometimes it is the way a photographer has captured an image that sets my mind racing, at other times it may be a pen drawing of a turnip in an old recipe book that shows me something new about shading or composition. Inspiration can be found in the way someone’s wrinkles seem to light up their entire being when they laugh. I always say that I will know it when I see it. When choosing what to draw I wait for that feeling, the gut response and an instant connection, I can never predict it but I always feel it when something sits just right with me and is almost asking to be drawn.
How did you turn all that into a business that works for you?
When I first started out I drew a couple of commissioned portraits which came about through word of mouth. One of my first was for the mechanic I used at the time. He still has my portrait of his dog on his wall and I drew for him again just recently which was wonderful. I attended occasional craft fairs and had a table at an event at The Eden Project where I sat drawing and chatted with people. That led to me running a Learn to Draw workshop for six people as I was sure that since I taught myself to draw that I could teach others. That one afternoon grew into teaching drawing for eight years and sharing my knowledge and techniques with hundreds of students. I had never wanted to teach but found I loved it, and it taught me so much in turn. I am grateful to every single person who put their trust in me, they have all inspired me so much too. Now I focus on making my own art and commissioned portraits which is such a joy to do.
And what can you NOT live without?
Of course art is integral to my life, but so are plants. I adore growing flowers, fruit and vegetables, and working with nature to create a wildlife haven here in my garden. Sustainable and low impact living is very important to me, as is good food, and taking care of myself, those I love and my environment. So what better way to combine all these things than through the great creative experience that is gardening? Plants bring me daily joy, the most delicious fresh produce, are so beneficial to my mental health, connect me to my surroundings and my community, support countless other lives through ever increasing biodiversity and are a feast for the sense with their beauty, flavours, scent and textures. Plants greatly enhance my life, and are also essential for it. Thanks plants, you’re the best!
So do you prefer Coffee or Tea? Cake or sandwiches?
I love both tea and coffee so I’ll have one of each please, and sandwiches all the way – plant based of course.
Thanks Tamsin, lovely to chat and find out more about you, good luck with all your art, and keep posting on here with what you’re up to, we’d love for you to keep in touch!
Photograph by Paul B Nash Photography – paulbnashphotography.com