The Guest Artist section is a place for artists to talk about their work, techniques and materials. I am sure that one artist explaining how they solved a problem will help other artists and I hope that a community evolves where artists will assist each other with their artistic dilemmas, share ideas and technical information as well as make connections and give each other friendly support.
To join the conversation please add your comment below. It will be great to have some interaction!
Here today to share her art with us is Anna Koska who lives in Sussex, UK. Thanks Anna!
JA: Please tell us a little about yourself.
AK: I’m a freelance illustrator, working in water colours and oils. I’m self taught from O’ Level Art onwards, having chosen (rather bizarrely) to pursue the sciences at A Level! I live in a rural part of Sussex and along with the help of my lovely family I’ve got overly ambitious vegetable and fruit gardens. As a result my field of work generally leans towards food/plant illustration with the occasional goose and chicken thrown in for good measure. Over the years I’ve been working with a lot of chefs and foodie people. At present I’m working on a book with one and producing large oils for a restaurant, as well as various private commissions.
JA: What materials and techniques did you use in making the art work you are showing here?
AK: Daler Rowney Georgian oils work well for me for the big gutsy colour. But for pure buttery quality, and fine punchy detail work I have loved using Sennelier Extra Fine oils. For the Red Baron Onion the two colours that played a vital role were Violet Mineral and Rouge Carmin. [Note: Daler-Rowney Georgian Mineral Violet and Sennelier Carmine Red.]
The work shown here tends to be mainly oils. I’m usually involved in a couple of canvases at the same time as one layer dries I’m kept busy by working on the other.
JA: What challenges (if any) did you face in making this work and can you give other artists any tips for solving similar problems?
AK: The challenge is always to make the vegetable/fruit look fresh and living, and to do this I find myself often using very pure colour rather than a mix. I’ve chosen to work alot with a black background to throw the colour and form out and at the viewer. The black is not a true black but a ratio of colours blended to produce hues that link the vegetable back to its earthy bed.
JA: Please tell us something about the idea behind the work you are showing here.
AK: I wanted people to fall in love with food in its raw state; to appreciate it in all its luscious, dazzling freshness… not just to view it as something on a chopping board or boiling to a mush in a pan. But before all that…. Just to SEE it, enjoy its simple heartwarming vibrant form…. and maybe even be inspired to grow it themselves!
JA: How does this work relate to your artistic practice, how you approach art over-all?
AK: I suppose that I’ve always only painted things that I’m passionate about, things that give me that internal “wow, that’s GORGEOUS!” feeling. For instance, figs make me feel like that, particularly when they’re cut open! Mackerel is another favourite. But painting someone’s favourite pet…. I can do it but it doesn’t give me the same burst of enthusiasm.
JA: Do you have any art advice you would like to share?
AK: When I choose a subject (and it doesn’t have to be edible!) I get very involved with it, get to know about its every facet, curve and texture. Then when it comes to painting it, it’s so much easier and more of a pleasure to reproduce all those details, as you’ve got to know them so well. The Red Baron Onion sat in my studio, mud and all. It got lifted, picked at, peeled and stroked. It made it far less scary to paint, so much so that I was brave enough to do a 4ft x 3ft canvas.
JA: What is your favourite art material?
AK: What a great question…so many things to choose from.. Probably Zest It: It’s an environmentally friendly alternative to turps or white spirit. It’s not noxious and it smells great… so after being holed away in my studio I don’t feel like a space cadet, wobbly-kneed and high on turps.
JA: Any links to your website or contact information you would like to provide:
AK: I welcome any questions, ideas and commissions and my website and contact details and website details are below: