Today we have Yvonne Stewart of Coramantic as our second joy cultivator interviewee here at Joyful Roots! Yvonne Stewart lives and creates in St Andrews, Scotland. Her adorable and imaginative art often takes form in cute girls and crazy creatures!
1. Please tell us a little about what you create.
I create light whimsical artwork, I like to paint little ladies mixed with abstract shapes and patterns. I am inspired by small everyday things in life and my work often reflects my emotions and relationships. I work in mixed media including ink, pencil and gouache, I love gouache.
2. Do you have a motto?
‘Keep your heart in your art’ – do what you love, believe in your own style.
3. Can you tell us a little about your journey that led you to where you are and what you do?
In 2001 I graduated with a degree in textile design, I then moved into visual merchandising and worked my way up to visual manager. I worked long hours but was always creating at home in the sidelines. It was only in 2009 that I really had the chance to focus on my own work, in 2009 I moved out of the city and into the countryside with my husband and son. I lead a different pace of life now compared to a few years ago, country life suits me.
4. What is your most favorite project or piece that you have ever created?
In 1999 I took part in a project which combined the style of Francis Bacon (whose work I love) as well as my own style and the theme of animals. I took photos of a variety of animals at Edinburgh zoo and I created a large book of artwork – I really put my heart into that project. Work from that book was later selected for the Higher Still qualification exam paper where students were asked opinions of my work and anwered questions on my thought process.
5. Who are your role models or heroes?
Francis Bacon is my biggest hero, which you might think strange when you look at my work, but I’ve always admired and felt inspired by his work – so emotional and intense. I love his expressive marks and the passion behind his work. I also admire the work of Cecilia Carlstedt, her beautiful drawing combined with her mark making and pattern skills.
6. What aspect of your work brings you the most joy?
Getting good feedback for my work brings me a huge amount of joy, it could be a comment from someone who has bought something from me letting me know how much they like it, or a few little words over at my blog offering support and encouragement. It took me a while to find my own style and when I know that other people get it, it really spurs me on.
7. Can you describe where your inspiration comes from? (Do you perhaps have a process or ritual that you use to evoke inspiration?)
I’m mainly inspired by emotions, from my work you’ll see little ladies contemplating life or a gentle smile at a private thought. It’s taken me years to find and develop my own style and it will always be an ongoing process. I never sit down and look at an object everything comes from inside my head – oh and the weather, I find very inspirational.
8. Can you offer one piece of advice to our readers?
Don’t look too far ahead, learn to enjoy the moment.
9. What plans do you have for the future?
I intend to keep drawing and painting, keep developing my style and hopefully creating work that makes me happy and that other people will love.
10. Are there any books or tools that you would recommend to people interested in your trade?
Gouache, I can not rate it highly enough. You can water gouache down to create effects similar to that of water colours or you can thicken it up to create matt layers, it’s wonderful stuff. In terms of books I would suggest having a look at the book Wonderland, it is packed full of amazing photography and illustration, really uplifting.
11. Finish this sentence: For me, it’s the best feeling in the world when…
…people get my style.