Inspired by Exmouth, painted in vodka
Vodka paintings go down well in east Devon
By Jo Irving
Anna Mazek takes the term mixed-media quite literally, by adding vodka, bleach and tinfoil to her paints to create a marble effect which reflects light from her land and seascape pictures.
Just outside the back door of Anna Mazek's house in Exeter is her very small outhouse where she manages to paint her sea and landscapes using an unusual mix of vodka and bleach.
"The irony is," she said, "I don't drink vodka, I like Guinness or red wine," but she does use the white spirit to manipulate her paint.
"The higher the alcohol content the better", she said, "you get more separation of colours."
Anna's tiny studio is crammed full of canvas, paint and varnish.
"Realistically I can only do one painting at a time," she said. However, her house is littered with paintings in varying stages of the drying process.
Anna feels her pictures capture light
In 10 weeks during the summer of 2008 Anna has managed to produce more than 40 pieces, some of which will appear in her first solo exhibition at the Pier Head Gallery in Exmouth.
Anna describes herself as an 'emerging artist', because after a short spell at St Martin's College in London she opted for a job rather than continue with her art.
It's only now, three decades later and with a move to Devon under her belt, Anna is again back behind an easel painting.
Her pictures are full of texture. She uses tin foil and acrylic paints with the odd splash of vodka to capture the light, which she feels bounces off the sea at Exmouth.
She said she loves the beach there: "When you walk around it looks like you're passing loads of little islands.
"There's so many reflections, it takes you back to that time in your childhood when it was a real wow factor."
A painting you can turn upside down
Some of Anna's paintings can also be viewed twice. She calls them her Turners, because you can hang them on your wall one way, but when you want to see something different you can turn them upside down.
"People can choose the mood they want - for me it's all a process of communication."
Her next venture with alcohol and canvas could involve mixing her spirits.
"I might do a Bloody Mary painting next time. Apparently tomato juice works with paint really well."
Her work can be seen at the Pier Head Gallery in Exmouth from the 2 to 15 August 2008 and then again in September.
You can also see Anna's work on her website which is linked from this page.
last updated: 06/08/2008 at 14:53