Tracey Ross’ landscape paintings combine a celebration of the rugged beauty of the Norfolk coast with harmonious and beautiful colour, applied in a texturally rich manner. She works from drawings which she makes in front of the subject – her aim to capture the energy of the sea in dynamic marks. The recording of her responses to the scene are then taken back to the studio where she develops her observations into finished paintings. This weekend sees Tracey open her studio to the public for the last time as part of the 2015 Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios. We ask Tracey about her painting.
Lisa: Do you make all your work out of doors?
Tracey: All my sketching is done outside along the North Norfolk coast. The sketchbooks seem to hold all the power, it’s where the raw energy is captured and they allow me the freedom to express how I feel. I’m not anxious about drawing all the detail, making rapid drawings is key to grasping the beautiful, fleeting light and spiritual essence of a place. The challenge is how to convey those emotions and transform them into a painting.
Lisa: What do you love the most about making art based on the landscape?
Tracey: It’s the seasonal changes – they just come alive and make my heart sing. I love the ever-changing beauty; the clouds are awe inspiring and lift me to another place. I work in mixed media creating lots of textures using tissue paper, acrylic and oils.
Lisa: Do you need to have a close personal connection to the landscapes that you base your work on?
Tracey: Yes, Yes and Yes! I was born in Norfolk and to truly know something is to remain close. Although, I like experiencing new places there is always a sense of ‘rootedness’ within the Norfolk landscape that appeals.
Lisa: What is your studio like?
Tracey: The studio is a sanctuary, set in a Holy valley near Walsingham. Even though it’s still a work in progress, it feels peaceful, tranquil and full of light with lovely views across the dale — heaven on earth!
Lisa: Is opening your studio to the public a daunting prospect?
Tracey: Not at all; taking part in Norfolk & Norwich Open Studios is an opportunity to engage and for everyone to learn something new. I have been taking part in N&NOS for several years and feel it’s an opportunity to meet all kinds of people. Several visitors I’ve met seem to plan their holiday to coincide with Open Studios and like to take a piece of North Norfolk back home with them as a special memory. It’s also an opportunity for visitors to see how the studio and garden has developed. This year it’s the joy at having a roof and a new raised decking area.
Lisa: Is it ever difficult handling the public’s response to your work?
Tracey: Not really as that’s just what it’s all about isn’t it? I love the diversity of what Art is – it creates discussion, and isn’t that the role of the artist to engage the public’s response?
Lisa: What are you going to show at your forthcoming open studio?
Tracey: This year I’m excited to be showing a wide range of original art work from ‘affordable’ miniatures to medium and larger scale paintings. I’ll also have lots of freshly printed cards as well as having my sketchbooks out on display.
Lisa: What is your most prized possession in your studio?
Tracey: Thankfully, I’ve learnt to let go of possessions! – I feel it’s the inspiring views and having a ‘vision’ for the work. Having said that, I do have some family heirlooms such as a handmade dresser and my grandmother’s vintage tea trolley for storing my paints etc.
Lisa: Where online or in the flesh can we view more of your work?
Tracey: You can view the work online at: www.tracey-rossart.com via my recently set up Facebook page ‘Tracey Ross Artist’, Twitter – ‘@TraceyRossArt’ and www.nnopenstudios.org.uk – my artist ref number is 69. To see the work in the flesh, then obviously during Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios. After Open Studios I have a solo exhibition at The Artmonger Gallery, Burnham Market from the 13 – 20th June as well as taking part in the prestigious ‘Cley 15’ during July. Then from the 1st – 26th September I shall be holding another solo show at the fantastic Wiveton Hall Café.
In between these events I shall be taking part in several mixed shows with the Norwich 20 Group of Artists throughout the year.
So a lot going on!