Anna Wilson Patterson is a Sussex based painter whose work gives insight into the environment and atmosphere of the more desolate places to be found in and around her beloved Hastings. She is often drawn to the romance of the sea and rural landscape. Figure- less scenes rendered in gentle pinks, greens and greys describe quietness and the gentle yet powerful energy of natural forces. Anna also often paints her characterful greyhounds, in their element discovering the wonder of their world. Alongside painting, Anna has worked in community settings since 1991, including as an art tutor. She is also known to work in print and to make illustrations and greeting cards.
Lisa: When did you start painting?
Anna: Art was the only subject that I was good at in School. I took O Level and A Level Art, did a degree in History of Design and a Post Graduate Certificate in Art and Design Education. In 1992 I started community work full time and art remained very much a leisure interest until 2007, when I decided to follow my dream and open an Art Gallery selling my own and other local artists work.
Lisa: Why do you paint?
Anna: For fun and the challenge and fascination of trying to capture an atmosphere or mood. I enjoy the process of seeing a painting develop and ideas in my head presented back to me as an image.
Lisa: What are you working on at the moment?
Anna: I’m working on a series of paintings inspired by The Stade, Hastings. The small fishing boats are launched from the beach and the whole area is full of curious shapes, net huts and industrial objects used in the fishing industry. There are also sheds where visitors can buy the catch of the day. I love everything about the area, the crunch of the shingle, the screeching gulls and the texture and colour of the wooden huts.
Lisa: What are the essential ingredients to a good painting session?
Anna: Most of the time I paint indoors in the Studio from memory, so a clear space to work, good light and all the colours I need.
Lisa: Are there any particular art supplies that you could not work without?
Anna: Plywood cut into squares, painting knives and water based oil paints.
Lisa: You live on a clifftop at Fairlight Cove in East Sussex; can you describe how where you live influences your painting?
Anna: I have always drawn inspiration from my immediate environment. From the clifftop I can see my favourite vistas, tiny Hastings fishing boats to the west, the sand at Winchelsea Beach and across Rye Bay to Dungeness in the east. Typically rabbits munch our grass and foxes trot up the garden path. I walk my elegant greyhounds every day through Hastings Country Park and back along the cliff top path.
Lisa: Making paintings is a deeply personal experience and it can feel quite exposing to show your work in an exhibition or open studio. How do you process criticism about your work?
Anna: I think it’s good for there to be balance in all things, so as well as hearing people who love my work, I find criticism revealing. I am curious when people find my paintings too bleak or empty. I think it would be odd if everyone understood and related to my paintings.
Lisa: Do you always work in front of the subject you are painting?
Anna: I work from the subject for still life subjects and my hounds in the garden. The rest of the time I walk repeatedly through the spaces I want to paint and then take photographs to remind me of colours or points of interest.
Lisa: What words of advice would you give to someone considering a serious commitment to painting?
Anna: In hindsight I would say work part time so you aren’t dependent on earning a living from your paintings and buy artist quality materials. Paint what you love. Join in with other artists through drawing classes and Open Studios.
Lisa: Where online or in the flesh can we see more of your work?
Anna: I have a Facebook page www.Facebook.com/ArtsHut and an online shop http://www.annawilsonpatterson.com
In the flesh I hold an Open Studio at my home every June and September
Plus I have paintings at Avocet Gallery, Rye Harbour and greeting cards at Made In Hastings