Welcome to Portfolio of the Week. We are delighted to present Louise Meaded, Reading, United Kingdom.

Lou creates delightful whimsical artworks and other beautiful pieces. Please visit Lou's gallery to see more of her artwork: http://community.art-is-fun.com/photo/photo/listForContributor?scre...

When you view Lou's portfolio, be sure to click "View Full Size" below each piece or artwork to see it larger!

Please join us for this interesting interview with Lou.

How would you describe your art?

I'd probably describe my work as a fusion between abstract and whimsy.  I also love folk art so I think there is a little bit of folk art influence in there as well. I think there's also a very childlike quality to it—I think a lot of it stems from rosy memories of my childhood!  Above all else, it's colourful! 

How long have you been an artist? 

I've loved painting ever since I can remember, however I've been selling my work for about a year. 

What is your favorite medium and why?

Definitely paint! I love the immediacy of it and the fact that you can quickly convey or trigger a feeling or emotion in a few strokes of colour.  In some ways, I think colour is more important to me that the subject matter in some ways so paint is definitely the best medium for me to work with in that respect.

What are some of the challenges in working in your preferred medium? 

I don't think the challenges I face are unique to painting; I think they're similar to those of artists who work in all mediums.  My main challenge is when I have a new idea that is in my head but I haven't defined it clearly enough to get it down on canvas.  When that happens I can end up obsessing about the idea until I've brought it to life.  It can be a bit of a distraction!

How did you learn to draw/paint?

I learned at school and also from my Dad and Grandad.  My Dad is a painter & decorator by trade and used to paint portraits of footballers for family and friends.  He also used to (and still does) paint children's bedroom wall murals for clients.  He used to always keep a big roll of wall lining paper and a huge biscuit tin full of pencils, crayons, and pens at the ready to keep my brother, sister, and I busy on rainy days.  My Grandad used to oil paint for a hobby and I used to love 'helping him'.  The smell of turpentine still reminds me of him!   

Who or what has influenced your art?

When I was younger I used to adore the Impressionists and used to love painting in broken colour.  I also like a lot of Spanish artists, particularly Picasso and Miró.  I really admire the childlike innocence of some of their works.  There seems to be something very honest about it.  I think it was Picasso who said, 'Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.' 

What inspires you? 

Nature is a huge source of inspiration for my work.  My Grandad was a keen gardener and I have so many memories of hours spent on his allotment, wandering around smelling flowers & picking apples from the tree he had at the end of it.  As you may see in my work, trees are a particular love of mine. 

How do you make time for art?

It can be a challenge to make space for it sometimes but it's always worth it.  These days I try to make sure (to my husband's dismay sometimes!) that I always have paints/pencils & paper or canvas out so even if I only have half an hour or so, I can still do something. 

 

What is your favorite subject matter and why?

As I said earlier, trees are definitely one of my favourite subjects.  Trees can be so many things; they provide homes & shelter for so many animals, humans included sometimes.  Some of them give us fruit.  You can climb them.  They keep the air clean, despite us seemingly doing out best to make it dirty!  I love the sound of birds singing in the trees and of the wind rustling through their leaves. Many of them have been around a lot longer than me and will go on to outlive me by several hundred years.  They're really beautiful to look at.  All that and yet they ask for so little! 

What's the best art advice anyone has ever given you? 

I think the best piece of advice, at least since I've been selling my art is, 'it's much easier to criticise than it is to create something'.  When I first started showing and selling my work, no matter how many people said they loved my work, it was easy to focus on a single negative comment.  Now I'm not really so bothered.  I don't really mind if people don't like my work, everyone has different tastes and for every person who has something mean to say, there's always another who likes it.  As they say, variety is the spice of life!

Do you have any tips or advice for your fellow artists?

Don't be afraid to try!  If an idea doesn't work out, you don't have to show it to anyone and you're never going to get better without practice.  Don't ever say, 'I'm not good enough' or 'I'm not that talented...'.  Rather than focus on what you can't do or don't have, take what you do have and can do and make the most of it!  And most of all—have fun!

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hello Lou I really enjoyed reading your interview --  now I understand why you paint so many trees !! LOL I think your advice is spot on as it's so easy to to focus on the negative & as you say good to try out new ideas. I love your colourful trees keep them coming !! Lyn x 

Great interview Lou. I have always loved your trees!! I like how you referrence your grandad alot. I am hoping i am making memories for my grandaughters (well Alana since she is the only one interested in art). When she grows up and has children of her own i want her to say " oh Mars and i did this, or Mars showed me this....) She has a memory like an elephant so im sure there are great memories stored up there in her little 7yr old head!!

I love what you said about trees, Lou. I've been a bit of a tree-hugger all my life personally, and now professionally, I support groups who continue to protect our precious environment. Behind my head as I sleep is a painting by Friedbert Renbaum--one of his City Trees series. It brings the outdoors into my bedroom. I expect people buy your tree paintings for the same reason. If we can't have the real thing inside, then a rendition in paint is the next best thing! Great interview.

Thanks Lyn.  I definitely think that having to deal with negative comments has been, surprisingly, one of the most liberating things.  I used to fear criticism and people not liking my work or ridiculing it.  Then - the 'worst' happened - somebody did just that.  I realised that regardless of what they had said the world was still turning and that there were still more people who did like my work than this one person didn't like it.  Now I no longer fear negative comments and that gives me more freedom than ever to create what I want to.

Lyn Pilgrim said:

hello Lou I really enjoyed reading your interview --  now I understand why you paint so many trees !! LOL I think your advice is spot on as it's so easy to to focus on the negative & as you say good to try out new ideas. I love your colourful trees keep them coming !! Lyn x 

Hi Christina, thank you for your kind comments.  Grandparents are awesome, sounds like your Grandaughter is very lucky! 

Christina Mcclintock said:

Great interview Lou. I have always loved your trees!! I like how you referrence your grandad alot. I am hoping i am making memories for my grandaughters (well Alana since she is the only one interested in art). When she grows up and has children of her own i want her to say " oh Mars and i did this, or Mars showed me this....) She has a memory like an elephant so im sure there are great memories stored up there in her little 7yr old head!!

Ev trees are amazing aren't they!  I had a look at Friedbert Renbaum's work - some beautiful pieces, the painting must look lovely on your wall.  

Ev McTaggart said:

I love what you said about trees, Lou. I've been a bit of a tree-hugger all my life personally, and now professionally, I support groups who continue to protect our precious environment. Behind my head as I sleep is a painting by Friedbert Renbaum--one of his City Trees series. It brings the outdoors into my bedroom. I expect people buy your tree paintings for the same reason. If we can't have the real thing inside, then a rendition in paint is the next best thing! Great interview.

I thoroughly enjoyed looking at your wonderful artwork and reading your interview, Louise, particularly your comments about negative criticism.  It takes self-confidence to be able to react to negative comments in a positive way...good for you!

Thanks Donna.  It's strange but the criticism actually improved my confidence.  As I said, realising that the world was still turning and that nothing had changed from my point of view in spite of the criticism was a huge turning point for me! 

Donna Duquette said:

I thoroughly enjoyed looking at your wonderful artwork and reading your interview, Louise, particularly your comments about negative criticism.  It takes self-confidence to be able to react to negative comments in a positive way...good for you!

Loved your interview and your brill artwork....your artwork is truly inspiring...love the colours you use to create your tree paintings.

Thanks Shoshana, colour is one of the most important things to me! 

Shoshana Giacomini said:

Loved your interview and your brill artwork....your artwork is truly inspiring...love the colours you use to create your tree paintings.

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