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Artist Insight: Nicola Mosley

Can you share a bit about your artistic journey and what inspired you to pursue art as a career?

I came to painting late but from a young age I have always been involved in some sort of creative process. I ran my own interior design business when I lived in London. I loved working in that world of colour - itís very creative and I thought that was my career. Then my husband was transferred to Houston, Tx and thatís where everything changed. An artist friend suggested I go to art college after I had taken one of her art workshops so I enrolled at The Glassell School of Art, the teaching of the Museum of Fine Art, in Houston. Thatís when I began to pursue art more seriously. It was such a great course and I was so excited to be at art school. I remember thinking this is it, this is what I should have been doing all my life and wished Iíd started sooner. I couldnít get enough of it! I through myself into it and with two small children at the time it was a bit of a juggling act.

Can you share a memorable moment or a moment you are most proud of from your artistic journey so far?

I think it must be when I was invited by a Houston gallery to have my first ever solo exhibition - it was a complete surprise and I was over the moon. It was a very exciting time but nerve racking too! I have had solo exhibitions in galleries in Cornwall and thatís been very special to me.

My work has been selected for the associate memberís exhibitions at the iconic Penwith Gallery and thatís been a real highlight. Itís a beautiful gallery which was set up by Barbara Hepworth, Ben Nicholson and others from the St.Ives group.

What inspires you and your work?

My love of the sea plays a fundamental role in my art and life. I was born in Hong Kong and spent my childhood living by the sea which has had a huge influence in my life and work. After years of living abroad, I now live on the coast in Cornwall. My studio is perched on a hill overlooking a harbour - itís exposed to all the elements that the ever changing Cornish weather brings. At times itís very atmospheric, watching dramatic storms and cloud formations rolling in over the bay. Being surrounded by all this has had a significant influence on my recent work.

Could you describe your creative process from start to finish? (Eg. Can you see your finished product before you start it? Do you have any rituals or habits that help you get into the creative zone?)

I do have an idea of what I would like the end result to be but it doesnít always work out that way. Sometimes a painting can go completely off in another direction so I usually end up just going with the flow. If I start off a painting using a photograph as reference, Iíll put it away once the painting is underway. That keeps me from being drawn in to too much detail. Iím trying to keep things pared back.

When Iím in the studio I do have to have music playing or the radio on. Something to listen to. It settles my mind.

What themes or concepts do you explore in your work, and why are they important to you?

I generally keep the focus on the sky and clouds and donít want to distract from that. The old masters would often paint all the detail in the face and leave the hands barely finished. I love the idea of that.

What mediums do you primarily work with, and why do you find them particularly suited to expressing your ideas?

I paint in oils but have worked in watercolour and acrylic too. I also studied Chinese brush painting for a while which I loved though the process is quite disciplined and much less forgiving than painting in oil. What I like about painting in oil is the fluidity of paint and I donít feel itís a race against time. Iím much more suited to painting in oils as I like to paint multiple layers of glazes aiming to achieve a depth of light and colour and I like to use a palette knife for added texture and definition.

Are there any artists or movements that have influenced your style or approach to art? How do you incorporate these influences into your own work?

Iím a big fan of Rothko - I love his work and the concepts behind them. The Rothko Chapel in Houston is an incredibly moving space. Another earlier influence was Richard Diebenkorn. When I was at art school in Houston I came across some of his work that was temporarily on show in the Museum of Fine Arts. His Ocean Park series was inspirational and inspired my Falmouth Harbour series of twenty paintings that were exhibited in a solo show in Houston.

Many collectors are drawn to art that evokes emotion or tells a story. Can you share the story behind one of your pieces that holds special meaning to you?

I love to be in empty places - not necessarily completely remote but quiet places away from it all. The locations I paint are these places, memories of peaceful and calm days by the sea. ĎSea Gazingí is a memory of being by the coast just looking out to sea on a quiet balmy evening.

What do you hope viewers take away from experiencing your art, aesthetically, emotionally or something else

Predominantly a painter of the coast I am constantly drawn to the horizon, where the sea meets sky or where sea meets land. Reducing the landscape to subtle, minimal forms, I would like the viewer to see an abstracted essence of land and sea and a feeling of spaciousness. I would like viewer to feel a sense of peace and calm or uplifted. Painting for me is a contemplation of a place, frequently returning to the same location to paint.

Is there anything else youíd like to share with our Gallery visitors and collectors?

I would like to viewer to have their own ideas about my paintings. I know the location that Iím painting but it could anywhere, if it reminds you of another place itís a good thing. I hope when people look at my paintings they feel transported to a time, an emotion or a place from their own memory.