Chandra Ward – The Artist’s Interview
Beautiful, elegant brushstrokes. Rich, warm and subtle colours. Chandra Ward’s contemporary, impressionist landscapes, waterscapes and animal watercolours and acrylic paintings are detailed and striking.
The splashes of blue colour in her marvelous painting, ‘The Dovecote’ draws the eye through a uniquely coloured landscape to a detailed and delicately painted Dovecote house.
And ‘Listening to the night’ sports a brown hare, in a moonlight setting. The gorgeous shades of blue make up the night and the trees silhouetted by the moonlight add a unique depth.
Chandra’s paintings reflect serenity and whilst some are real and others are imaginary, they have a dreamlike beauty would look fantastic on any living or bedroom wall.
You can view and enquire about Chandra’s work on her website: http://chandraward.artweb.com/
You can also follow her on Facebook
Chandra is also on Twitter
Where are you from and where are you now?
I grew up in London… I went to a girls school and they encouraged us to go into the Sciences, I don’t think I displayed any particular artistic tendencies in school, though I did love writing, fiction, and non-fiction. After doing a postgraduate degree at University College London, I went on to work in the NHS. I was living in Chiswick, West London when I met my husband and we later moved to Hertfordshire, and I continued to commute to a London each day for work.
How did you discover your passion for art?
It was a very gradual process, something I found I enjoyed because it was an escape from the stresses and strains of modern life. I am mostly self-taught. I’ve attended workshops, joined art groups, and read lots of books by artists whose work I admire.
It was the move to a more rural environment that gave me a totally new perspective on life. I love the mountains of Cumbria and Scotland, and we used to do a lot of fell walking and scrambling up quite difficult paths, but the views and colours on a sunny March day, with a dusting of snow on the fell were breathtaking, I always took my little watercolour box with me, or did little sketches. It is difficult to say sometimes what moves you to paint a particular view or subject…..it’s something deep within your soul…..it could be the changing of light as clouds move in,,. or the beautiful colour palette of a landscape spread out before you in the valley. I can’t explain why I felt the need to paint rather than take a photo. I think when you paint, a little bit of your soul goes into it. Also, if you don’t want a tree in the composition you can move it, or put it somewhere else!
About 10 years ago we relocated to Norfolk, where we still live, and it’s a different kind of landscape here…very wide and open skies with its own beauty, especially along the North Norfolk coast. I have been able to devote a great deal more time to do what I love. Many things in the natural world inspire me to pick up my paintbrush ……the changing of the seasons, and my garden…
What does Art mean to you?
I am never happier than when I have a paintbrush in my hand! When I’m painting I am totally absorbed by what I’m doing, and it’s almost like another subconscious part of me takes over. When I see a painting that really resonates with me and I love, I wish that I had painted it!
From inspiration to finished artwork, please describe your process?
Sometimes I carry an idea for a painting in my head for ages before I decide to start work, bringing it to life. I don’t work from photos often…I prefer to remember views, or light sketches because one then captures the essence of a place or feeling rather than trying to focus on a lot of extraneous detail.
I work quite quickly, do very little drawing, maybe just an outline sketch..so my work is generally quite loose…..I may spend a few hours waiting for layers to dry, then over the next week or so I add more detail…I look at a painting a few days later, or maybe even a couple of weeks later, with fresh eyes… one can see it totally differently. My paintings evolve on the paper. I like to feel that they will be atmospheric, magical, and connect with people emotionally in some way.
What is it about water-based paints that you like?
I love the somewhat unpredictable nature of watercolour…one has a certain amount of control, but one can achieve some very lovely effects with it….can be an unforgiving medium sometimes, but one can learn to work with this. I also love the transparency of the paints, and the way colours can blend together. Acrylic paints can be used in a similar way, however, they are opaque..but I do use them a lot too, sometimes using a palette knife instead of a brush. That’s great fun! I do use other media and I have worked with oils, but I seem to keep coming back to watercolour. I like to experiment with new ideas and try out different techniques occasionally.
Which artists do you admire and why?
I admire many of the impressionist painters…Monet particularly Also a great fan of paintings by Salvador Dali, J.W.Waterhouse, Turner, and John Singer Sargent. Contemporary painters, well, there are so many whose work I really admire. I suppose I would pick David Bellamy, Alvaro Castagnet, and Fabio Cembranellil. I also l loved work by father and son, Alfred Heaton Cooper and William Heaton Cooper, both Lakeland painters, and I love the Heaton Cooper Gallery in Grasmere.
Since when you started out, how has your artwork changed over the years?
I think I have become bolder, more colourful, and more expressive, and impressionistic….I used to paint or sketch a lot of mountain scenery, but now I paint a much broader range of subjects …still relating to nature though!
How do you market your work?
I am very bad at marketing my work, as I would rather be painting! However, I do realise that one needs to work at this, and I have just set up a website , which I think all artists need to do these days. I also exhibit a few times a year, and some of my work is on display all year round at Stow Hall Gardens and I have exhibited several times at the Artslounge gallery in Swaffham .I have a relatively new Facebook account, but I realise now how controlled the ‘ reach ‘ factor is, so it will take time to build up a following.
If you could pick a favourite painting of your what would it be and why?
I have two really…..A small oil painting I did called, ‘Fields of Gold’….it was the first framed painting I sold, at an exhibition, …..I had only sold a few mounted watercolours before, so it was very special to me. Another favourite, a watercolour, ‘Stairway to Heaven ‘ ..this one hangs on my wall at home…..The Western Isles., and the Inner Hebrides are so beautiful, and it brings back lots of memories….I wouldn’t want to sell it! …I love the colours and the ethereal feel.