Alice Hole’s ‘Autumn Leaves Hide the Path so Quietly’ was awarded a Runner Up Prize in our ‘Changing Seasons’ competition last September. In the painting depicting woodland on a Sunny Autumnal day Hole demonstrated her ability to capture light and shade, a convincing tonal range and stunning attention to detail. Alice Hole studied metals and textiles at university, an experience which helped her discover her love of drawing which has latterly led her to a passion for painting her beloved home of Cornwall.
Lisa: What inspired you to paint this particular scene?
Alice: It was a combination of the dramatic light and the beautiful autumn colours that attracted me to this view. I was on a walk in October on the stunning Penrose Estate, near where I live in South West Cornwall, when I came across this scene. It was incredibly serene amongst the trees and the light filtering through the leaves felt similar to being in a cathedral with light streaming through a stained glass window.
Lisa: Do you usually paint in front of your subject matter or away from it?
Alice: I make sketches and take photographs of the views I paint and draw and then work these up in my studio. My work is very detailed and I quite often take several weeks to create one drawing or painting.
Lisa: What do you consider to be the ingredients of a strong composition?
Alice: For me a good composition has to tell a story. There might be a path, road, or trees leading you into the picture, or something drawing you in. I love to make people feel a part of the painting or drawing so that they feel like they could step right in!
Lisa: Natural looking greens are often thought to be tricky to achieve! Do you have a failsafe technique for mixing convincingly natural looking shades of green?
Alice: I find it’s just a case of mixing lots and lots of different shades and hues of green on my palette. Also a great deal of practice and plenty of observation! When you look closely at areas of greenery in nature, you may find that the parts in shadow are not green at all, but bluey purple or dark browns and areas in the light can be golden yellows and oranges!
Lisa: When did you realise that you were destined to be a painter?
Alice: I have one of my first school writing books from when I was five years old and one of the pages says, ‘When I grow up I want to be an artist’ with a drawing of me at an easel! As a teenager I wasn’t sure exactly what type of artist I wanted to be, and I ended up taking a Three-Dimensional Art Degree. After leaving university I soon realised that drawing and painting is my passion and carried on from there.
Lisa: Do you think your time studying metals and textiles has had any influence on your paintings and drawings?
Alice: Luckily for me, the course had drawing at its very heart and during my three years there, I really developed my sketchbooks and grew my ideas through drawing and painting. At the end of my degree, it was my sketchbooks that felt like they should be on show rather than my three-dimensional works!
Lisa: What do you think it is about Cornwall that inspires so many artists? Do you ever find the huge artistic history that Cornwall has at all intimidating?
Alice: Having lived in the South East, the Midlands and having visited many places, I can truthfully say that the light in Cornwall is like nowhere else. The rugged landscapes, seascapes and historic towns bathed in this amazing light take my breath away on a regular basis! There are so many scenes I want to paint and draw, in all sorts of weathers and seasons. I could never get bored!
The artistic history can definitely be a bit daunting to say the least! But looking at the variety of art past and present, there seems to be an endless variety of interpretations of this stunning landscape. I think we all see things differently and my job is to show others my unique view of Cornwall.
Lisa: What do you consider the most challenging aspect of being an artist?
Alice: Apart from the obvious difficulties in trying to make a decent living being a full time artist, I would have to say that one of the most challenging aspects is not to get stuck in a creative rut. As an artist it’s tempting to stay safely where you feel comfortable and not to challenge yourself to try something a bit different. My aim is to try some different media in the next few months, as well as what I usually use, and see where that takes me. I’ve already started experimenting with oils so watch this space!
Lisa: What is your artistic ambition for 2017?
Alice: I’m very excited as from the 20th -25th November, fantastic local artist Sophie Penstone and I are having an exhibition in The Spring Gallery at The Poly in Falmouth (24 Church Street, Falmouth TR11 3EG), so most of the year I’ll be working towards that and producing work for other galleries too.
I shall also be donating a painting on a piece of the baulk wood which used to be part of Porthleven’s sea defences that were smashed during the storms of 2013/14. Local artists and craftspeople have been turning these pieces of rustic wood into artwork which will be auctioned on March 18th at The Atlantic Inn (Peverell Terrace, Porthleven, Helston TR13 9DZ) and online to raise money for The Fishermen’s Mission (see http://www.fishermensmission.org.uk/ for more details)
Lisa: Where online or in the flesh can we view more of your work?
You can also get up to the minute updates on my work and upcoming events on my social media – I often put up sneaky peeks of work in progress day by day!
You can find my work in the following galleries:
Header Image: ‘Autumn at Loe Pool’, Alice Hole, Acrylic on paper, 65 x 34cm, 2016