This month’s featured artist, Pat Campbell, has been an active member of the Lyme Regis art community and supporter of the Lyme Regis Art Society for many years. Pat is not afraid to tackle any subject, and her colourful, eye-catching work can be viewed in local exhibitions and at the Town Mill. Here is her story in her own words.
“I’ve been drawing and painting ever since I can remember. My father sketched and painted in watercolours in his spare time and, as a small child, I loved sitting with him, drawing and painting alongside him. He showed me how to draw perspective and how to make things look 3-D. He also instilled in me a love of the countryside.
From my teens onwards until I was in my late 30s, I did very little artwork. By then, I had two children and a full-time career in social work, working with children and families. But I missed being creative. Luckily for me, a friend who was a full-time artist wanted to set up a women’s art group. She had a number of friends, like me, who wanted to do something creative. We agreed to meet once a week and from then on, we all took off! My friend had trained at Camberwell and Goldsmiths and each week she would set us a “lesson” which might be still life, life drawing or drawing from imagination. We would try different media, too.
Looking back, I often think of it as my substitute for going to art college. We started to hold annual exhibitions and would sell some of our work at these exhibitions, too. Eventually, our group became well-known locally in South London and I and others were invited to participate in exhibitions at the South London Art Gallery and the Café Gallery in Southwark Park.
Our group has now been going for 37 years! This, despite the fact that many of us left London decades ago. More recently, we’ve had a sort of renaissance in that, during Lockdown we have met weekly, not only to do little art projects together on Zoom, but also each member has taken it in turns to suggest a subject for a longer project to be completed in two months, which then goes up on Instagram. Working with other people, bouncing off ideas, really helps to keep me motivated and fresh.
I was an active member of Lyme Regis ArtsFest from 2007 until it finished in 2016 and I’ve had work since in some of the group exhibitions at the Town Mill. Currently, my work is on permanent display at my daughter’s shop, Lucy Campbell Jewellery, she is the silversmith at the Town Mill.
I find it difficult to choose my favourite medium; for years I worked in soft pastel, a medium I still enjoy for its directness, the purity of its colours and its ability to cover a large area quickly. Lino printing is also another medium I love, although I am far from proficient in it, but I particularly like the crisp image it produces. Over the years I have tried stone-carving, silk painting and stained glass. The first two I loved and still intend going back to; the last – probably not – too many cut fingers and I was hopeless at soldering!
Having tried so many different media, colour, texture and light in the landscape are what really inspire me and therefore painting, in whatever medium, is still my first love. For the past 15 years or so I have worked a lot more in water-based media, mainly because I love playing with colour and effects. I would like my work to be a little more abstract, but I may have to accept the fact that this isn’t my style!
My advice to people who are starting to paint or who are coming back to it after many years, is to buy the best quality materials you can afford and, if possible, find a friend or two to paint with you or join a local art class. My favourite quote as regards the creative process is from Picasso: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working!”
The range of Pat’s work can be viewed on her website: patcampbell.co.uk
Our ‘Featured Artist’ articles are edited by Sheila Stratton