In this series of blogs we ask Cove Gallery artists to choose artists and artworks that have inspired them to give us a closer insight into the influences that drive their creativity.
Gina Marshall is now an established Dorset-based artist who turned her hand to creating beautiful contemporary art in 2014. Taking inspiration from linocuts, doodle art, patchwork and pointillism, Gina has created her own unique style, and has become successful locally as a both a commercial artist and more recently as a gallery owner.Below Gina talks of the sources of her inspiration, and of how her artistic journey has contributed in no small part to her recovery from mental illness.
“When I reflect on my development as an artist, I realise that the strongest influences on my work are not necessarily individual artists or artworks, but different styles of art. I have been drawn in particular to linocutting, pointillism, doodle art and indeed needlework and patchwork, and I suppose a common theme running through all of these styles is that each involves a degree of repetition in the technique.
The process of repetition has been important to me. When I set out as an artist back in 2014, I was suffering from bipolar disorder, and I found that painting repetitive strokes, lines and shapes had a tremendously positive effect on me. It provided me with a focus, becalmed me, and in a very real sense became a form of mindfulness.
During my early days as an artist, I wasn’t accomplished in the use of acrylics and watercolours, so my art tutor at that time encouraged me to explore different media, particularly pen and ink, and to try to develop a style that I felt comfortable with.
It was then that I was first drawn to the Linocut style. Linocut is a very commonly used method that has been used to great effect by many great artists, including Picasso and Matisse. In particular it was the bold lines and the simpler colour palette that appealed to me.
I discovered, however, that it was easy to make mistakes during the process of making linocuts, and I instead began to draw in pen and ink (as opposed to print) the designs and lines that I wanted to create. I found this very satisfying, and the foundations of my own style and approach to painting were formed.
Though I can’t attribute my style to any specific artist, a trip to the Musée D’Orsay in Paris some ten years ago helped me to appreciate the French Impressionists, and particularly the Pointillism style.
Not only were the pointillism paintings beautiful and brilliantly executed, they also suggested that lots of dots, or points, was a perfectly acceptable way of producing art, and something that perhaps I could do.
I’ve always been keen to use methods and techniques that I could actually do myself. So, for instance, whereas I don't have the technical ability to paint a realistic picture of the sea, I do have the patience and skill to paint lots of identical tiny blue fishes, so creating my own depiction of the sea. My approach takes time, but it works for me, and I’m very happy with the outcome.
I see the same method being employed by artists working in other styles, such a Needlework and Patchwork. These styles employ sewing techniques to produce incredible pieces from fabrics and textiles.
Working carefully, slowly and repetitiously, these artists create wonderful pieces that to me are clever yet accessible, and extremely inspirational.
Another artistic style I have followed is Doodle Art. Because this style has few, if any, conventions or rules, doodle art is very much underrated as an art form. Yet it has helped me enormously in developing and refining my pen and ink style. Research suggests that doodling has a calming effect that can actually create a measurable change in physical and neurological states.
Over the years, as I have overcome my bipolar disorder, I have noticed my own style of work changing. I am becoming a more accomplished artist, but I’m now producing work that is more realistic in style. My earlier work tended to be more simplistic and perhaps even escapist. It now takes me much longer to create a picture – I’m putting much more detail into the pieces, and inevitably its more time consuming."
Click the links to view Gina Marshall's collections of originals and prints at Cove Gallery
Links to Further InformationLinocuts at the Tate GalleryLinocuts by PicassoExplainer: PointillismPaintings in the Pointillism StyleExplainer: NeedleworkExplainer: PatchworkExplainer: Doodle Art