Guest Artist: Jackson’s Art Blog

I was recently interviewed for Jackson’s Art Blog. You can read the interview below, or by clicking here.

“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.

Here today to share her art with us is Marie-Louise Plum, who paints in London, UK. Thanks Marie!

JA: Please tell us a little about yourself.

MP: I am Marie-Louise Plum, an artist and illustrator from Walthamstow, E17. As well as good ol’ fashioned editorial illustration I also go by the motto that I can draw on anything. That means I take unconventional objects like musical instruments, old telephones, museum display boxes and ornaments and draw all over them. I mainly exhibit my work and contribute to arts publications and projects, although I sometimes get the odd – and I do mean odd – commission to make things like giant sweeties or married vegetables out of papier mache and illustrate them. I also have a keen interest in the world of mental health and facilitate drawing workshops for mental health service users. I do this in the interest of art and illustration therapy and also run a popular blog to highlight creativity and art in mental health.

JA: What materials and techniques did you use in making the art work you are showing here?

MP: I am first and foremost a doodler, a scribbler, an illustrator. I love dip pens, fat pens, thin pens, black pens, coloured pens, brush pens, liquid ink pens, fountain pens…you get the idea. I like to draw with pens. My most preferred materials are dip pen and ink, usually acrylic ink. I also like using watercolours and Winsor and Newton inks. I start my artworks in pen, usually fast and furious mark-making on paper, just to get the feel of what I am trying to achieve. If I want to keep the style of the first sketch I will usually use a light box to trace and keep the lines that I want. I’ll then continue drawing without the light box. If I am drawing with a more cartoon style I usually sketch in pencil, then when I am happy, draw with pen over the top of the sketch until I get the image I want.

JA: What challenges (if any) did you face in making this work and can you give other artists any tips for solving similar problems?

MP: The only challenges I really face in making any piece of work is when the drawing doesn’t go to plan and I completely deviate from the original idea of the piece I want to realise. This can be very discouraging and confidence knocking. I don’t find being flexible about my ideas is something that comes naturally to me so when I don’t draw the picture I have in my mind I do start to worry. However this is easily overcome by telling yourself that you have to be adaptable and go with the flow for any art to truly work, that ideas are in constant flux and have many meanings to many people. There is not a right or wrong way to make pictures. They are what they are.

JA: Please tell us something about the idea behind the work you are showing here.

MP: I am obsessed with childhood emotions, imagination and fears as well as fairy and folk tales, mystery and the uncanny. I wanted to illustrate a piece that conveys the feelings of creepiness you get as a child when going to bed, when you run and jump into bed to as not to let the bogey man under the bed snatch and grab at your legs. That feeling of someone hiding behind the curtains in your room. And you tell your parents but they assure you there’s no one there, go to sleep. You feel like they don’t believe you but you trust them anyway, and after worried minutes you drift off. But that’s when the bogey man comes. I love the idea of the child’s being right after all and their fears being realised. Whether in this image the bogey man is a real thing or perhaps a bad dream creeping into the little boy’s mind. The piece is called Archie Goes to Sleep and is from my recent solo exhibition ‘HAPPYLAND’.

JA: How does this work relate to your artistic practice, how you approach art over-all?

MP: This piece of work is the first I attempted using an already created piece of art to up-cycle and create my own artwork. I like to experiment with ideas and although I get that nagging doubt about ideas not going to plan, I do tend to try out new things frequently. Because I have a day job art is never stressful or tiring for me as I am not often up-against-it to hand in work and my livelihood does not depend on me churning out illustration on demand. Art is always free and exciting, I have no pressure to work to tight briefs or please other people. In this way I can make the art that I choose and enjoy so much. I have great respect for outsider and folk artists who I feel with their non-restrictive approach have captured the very essence of what art should feel like when it is being made.

JA: Do you have any art advice you would like to share?

MP: Be who you are and be that well.

JA: What is your favourite art material?

MP: My most favourite art material is acrylic ink. I love to create patterns and use it to up-cycle museum display boxes and I find that the ink works perfectly over a good primer. It is also great for drawing on already painted surfaces; for example, my featured image is a charity shop painting which I illustrated directly onto. I was able to do this with acrylic ink without having to use a primer.

Marie will be exhibiting the work from ‘Happyland’ at Wood Street Indoor Market in Turnaround 10 with the Waltham Forest Arts Club April 14th – 20th and in the E17 Art Trail September 1st-16th at Walthamstow Wine Club, 56-60 Grove Road, E17 9BN.”