Thursday, March 7, 2019

International Women's Day Ask and Answer Part 1

In Celebration of International Women's day, we wanted to take some time to reflect on the many women who play a role in our local arts community, and in particular, in our community here at Argyle Fine Art. The women in our community wear many, many hats: artist, businesswoman, supporter, teacher, caregiver, advocate, entrepreneur, mentor, friend...these are only just a few. We are so fortunate to be able to work with and represent a diverse range of women artists, each of whom has an incredible story to tell, and each of whom are exemplary in their drive and passion to create.

One thing that is really special about our community here at Argyle Fine Art is the way in which our artists show support to each other. It's truly incredible to see how our artists are so open and willing to reach out to each other, whether its to offer support and encouragement, to collaborate and share ideas, or to simply be friends!

Today on the blog we'd like to feature an interview conducted between two of the many women artists we represent here at the gallery: Isobel Hamilton and Sharon Cave. We hope you'll enjoy their very insightful and inspiring conversation.

Sharon Cave, Go with the Fly, 30" x 30",Oil on Board

Isobel Hamilton:What is your background- your life before art? (other careers, hobbies, etc)

Sharon Cave: Was there life before Art? I started drawing when I was a little girl. I was actually accepted at Art School but decided against it in the end and went to school to become a nurse instead. Nursing was just the start of a varied career which later included Teaching and then headed back to the Arts in the form of Graphic Design. Now I just paint…every day. It is my hobby and my job. As for other hobbies…I read a lot, I dance (ballet), I am learning to play the piano and to keep my life varied and exciting, I am learning to speak French!

Sharon Cave's studio
Isobel Hamilton: Is there a woman in your past or present who has influenced your art in some way and how?

Sharon Cave: I suppose my Gran was probably my first influence. She was the only “artsy” one in my entire family. She was brought up a Lady, and while she never learned to cook or clean house, she did produce some beautiful handiworks. Recently Adriana has been a big influence on my art making. She has been pushing me to “expand my horizons”, has given me opportunities to speak about my art and my journey, and has been encouraging me to delve more into illustration and story writing. And lastly of course I can’t forget my Mom; my biggest fan, collector of my work and the person who bought my first oil painting set.

Sharon Cave, Rufus, 4" x 5", Oil on Wood Panel
Isobel Hamilton: Do you have any advice to other women considering a career in the arts?

Sharon Cave: A career in arts can be whatever you want it to be. If I could start all over again, I would definitely take business classes.

Isobel Hamilton: Are there any female artists that have had an impact of your own art practice?

Sharon Cave: I mostly choose artists whose work strikes a cord with me, and whether they are male or female doesn’t play a part in that process. If I had to pick, then I’d say Mary Cassatt. I love painting the figure and when I first started out in pastels Mary Cassatt’s figurative work really inspired me. The other artist I’ve chosen is a performing artist; singer/songwriter Sade. I was at the nightclub of her first solo performance and I still remember it as if it was yesterday. The song she performed that night would become a huge hit around the globe. This prompted me to think about the many different ways there are of saying the things you want to say, telling your story your way. Sade’s story is told through her music, mine is told through my paintings.“You can only grow as an artist as long as you allow yourself the time to grow as a person,” -Sade

A work-in-progress painting by Sharon Cave for her upcoming show this May

Sharon Cave: What is your background- your life before art? (other careers, hobbies, etc)

Isobel Hamilton: My background is a little... eclectic! I'm originally from Scotland (we emigrated here in 2013). I've always painted and sketched, but at school I also enjoyed the sciences. I studied Photography, Film and Television at university in Edinburgh, but after graduating struggled to find any film work. I dabbled in various things, including mural painting, jewellery making and website building, before deciding to change career direction. I did a part time course in Forensic Medicine and Science and went on to become a Fingerprint Expert. I worked in Glasgow on a wide range of cases and gave evidence in court a couple of times, and I also studied for an MPhil in Pure and Applied Chemistry. But it was basically a bureaucratic office job, and over the years it became clear that wasn't for me. When we emigrated to Canada I was determined to make a creative career for myself. I tried various ideas before realizing that the thing I have done since before I can remember - paint and draw - was actually what I wanted to do for my career.

Isobel Hamilton, Winter Lights #4, Acrylic on Wood

Sharon Cave: How did you start making art? Why do you make art?

Isobel Hamilton: Like many people I was creative from a young age; I was always painting and drawing and making things. I loved art at school, but didn't pursue it to university level because I didn't think it was 'a career'. So I just did it in my spare time because I enjoyed it. As I've got older I've realized the importance of doing something I love to do, and something I can get lost in. This is what art is for me, more than anything else. I love the sense of achievement when a painting is finished, particularly if I know I've taken a step forward in my own abilities. I also love the idea that I can create something that will speak to someone else, someone I've never met, and that they will put it on their wall and it will become part of their life.

Isobel Hamilton in working in her studo

Sharon Cave: Is there a woman in your past or present who has influenced your art in some way and how?

Isobel Hamilton: It may be a cliche but I would have to say my mother. She studied Fine Art at Oxford university and although she left her career in the arts when she had me she was always creative. Not only did she encourage me to paint and draw (as did my father I must add), she often took me to the museums and art galleries in Edinburgh where we would walk around, looking at the paintings, and she would point out details and tell me stories about the subjects and the artists. We would go on holiday to Europe as a family and would always visit the art galleries there, as well as churches and museums. She has a great interest in Renaissance art and passed that on to me; we reproduced a fresco by Benozzo Gozzolli together in a spare room of our house! I think my love of detailed paintings comes from being exposed to these paintings as I was growing up.

Isobel Hamilton, "Autumn Glow", 12" x 9", Acrylic on Panel

Sharon Cave: Have you ever experienced a situation where you felt you were treated differently as an artist simply because of your gender?

Isobel Hamilton: I had to think about this question for a bit, and no, I can't think of an occasion. I was always a tom boy at school; I had more male friends than female ones and I liked traditionally 'male' subjects like Technological Studies, Chemistry and Physics (as well as Art!). At university most of my classmates were male, and forensic science is quite a gender neutral role. As a result I've always felt very comfortable in any environment, so from a career perspective I haven't ever felt that I was treated differently (except that perhaps I didn't fit the expected female mold sometimes!). I am early in my art career though so, as a female artist, I don't have a lot of experience to draw on....

Isobel Hamilton, Winter Lights #3, Acrylic on Wood

Isobel will be showing a new body of work here at the gallery next month opening on April 23rd, and Sharon will have new work in a show opening on May 11th.

Check back tomorrow for a second interview featuring artists Kimberley Eddy and Jen Worden!