As 2020 draws to a close, join us as we take a close look at a selection of artists whose work is inspired by the festive season in December.
Self-taught figurative painter Andrew Macara is perhaps best known for his vibrant Winter scenes, often set within his native Derbyshire. His joyful landscapes have earned him national acclaim as one of the most distinctive British figurative painters today. As Professor Ken Howard, President of the New English Art Club, notes, “He simplifies but always captures the essence of his subject… [and] touches the everyday joy of life. His paintings celebrate life and show us a new way of seeing.”
Emma Haworth’s lively scenes capture the continuous ebb and flow of modern metropolitan life, in the streets, parks, and squares of London, New York, Paris, and beyond. Built upon meticulous observation, Haworth’s paintings combine a sweeping, panoramic viewpoint with extraordinary individual detail – a plastic bag caught in the branches of a winter tree, or the threads of a tassel on an ice skater’s hat. Her work has received wide critical recognition, earning her two Hunting Art Prizes at the Royal College of Art as well as the Woodhay Picture Gallery Prize by the New English Art Club.
Margaret Loxton has always felt a deep kinship with farmers, fisherfolk, vineyard workers, and nuns of her neighbouring countryside. A Middlesex native, Loxton worked on the land herself before embarking on a full-time painting career in the ‘70s. Regular travels through the Dordogne, Normandy, Brittany, and Provence have similarly inspired several series of paintings on local paysan life, playfully depicting the scenic and architectural delights of rural living.
Chris Ross Williamson
Working from his home studio in Bedfordshire, Chris Ross Williamson creates heartfelt narrative paintings that detail the lives of Garfield, a tall, gaunt dog owner, and his faithful Jack Russell, Barton Darcy. Influenced by the stylised works of Paul Sample and Ralph Steadman, Williamson’s works glimmer with humour, tenderness, and light-hearted whimsy. As Williamson notes, “I like to give people a grin, if possible.”
Judy Joel taught herself painting in early childhood, developing a charmingly direct, naïve style of visual storytelling. Her distinctive “life story” commissions draw from the memories and photographs of her clients, saturating paintings with personalised detail and warmth. In each, Joel paints her white-haired Mother and dog, a tribute to the woman who encouraged her to follow her dreams.
Raised in a vicarage in the Norwegian countryside, Trygve Skogrand cites the heavy spiritualism of his childhood as the foundation for his work. Painstakingly detailed, naturalistic paintings glow with mythical and religious motifs, often transposing art historical iconography onto scenes from everyday life. As the artist describes, “I find the process of cutting out, combining, and moving about pictures and symbols simulating in my search [for] small glimpses of insight into the mystery of human existence.”
Born in Hong Kong and trained in Britain, Lauren Wan creates art for the world’s leading brands in fashion, tabletop, home furnishing, and stationery. Her poetic approach and sophisticated colour palettes are inspired by her world travels, from Caribbean beaches and Hong Kong harbours to the street corners of New York City. Her work has been exhibited in the U.K., China, Germany, Bosnia, Japan, and the U.S.A.
Principally trained as an abstract artist, Paul Powis has garnered international acclaim for his bold, stylised landscapes and vibrant mark-making. His work has been exhibited at the Royal College of Art, the Royal Festival Hall, the Museum of Modern Illustration in New York, and beyond.
Jane Tattersfield creates colourful, intricately decorative images inspired by Indian and South American cultures. Pulsating with rhythm and movement, her oil paintings evoke ancient myths and natural cycles as well as textile, folk, and ancient art. Tattersfield specialises in children’s books and television work, in particular with Channel 4.
Vanessa Bowman’s paintings capture the simple, everyday beauty of her native Dorset. Vibrant still lifes and whimsical landscapes observe the pattern and texture of her surroundings with distinct, jewel-like hues. As Art of England magazine notes, “Her muted palette and beautifully detailed still lifes are distinctively hers – she has a wonderful eye for colour.”
Lisa Graa Jensen
Lisa Graa Jensen paints lively, imaginative landscapes of the undulating countryside, French farm life, markets, pubs, and cafes. Using light watercolour and acrylic inks, Jensen works from memory, sketches, and photos to create spontaneous and largely improvised scenes. She is a three-time winner of the Royal Academy of Art’s Christmas Design Award and an elected member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolours.
Ruth Addinall’s paintings conjure a tranquil, stylised world of rich hues and soft geometric forms. As the artist describes, “my subject matter generally comes from moments of everyday life that I would hope most people could recognise… [and] that palace within us which allows us to escape the confines of the external and create new worlds.”
Annael Anelia Pavlova
Bulgarian-born Australian artist Annael Anelia Pavlova uses classical music to create her paintings, prints, and drawings, which encompass both the figurative and the abstract. By weaving in the works of composers from the Renaissance to Postmodern periods, Pavlova achieves a unique synthesis of concept, music, and visual art. Her works have been exhibited throughout Australia and abroad.