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24 September 2014
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Artists' Quarter

NY artist: Isabel Wakeman

Isabel started to paint in between raising her family and carrying out her job as a social worker, but eventually enrolled on a full time HNC in Fine Art at York College. That was in 2002. Since then she's created some impressive and striking work.

Isabel Wakeman

I have lived in York for 35 years. I only came to painting late in life after having a family and another career. At first I attended evening classes, but then decided to take an HNC in Fine Art at York College which I completed in 2004.

The course made a fundamental difference to my work. To begin with, working with landscape, I became fascinated with texture. As I regularly attended a life drawing group, I began to wonder how to incorporate the figure into textured backgrounds and indeed how the figure itself could be textured. About this time I was encouraged to try using oils and this transformed my work.

I began to select figures from my sketch book and would reproduce them on my canvas in acrylic paint. I paint the background in another acrylic colour so as to have a clear image to work from. I then paint the figure in white oil paint. When this is completely dry I completely cover the canvas in a selection of oil paints put on in an abstract way. Then I work back into the paint to find echoes of the figure using a brush, roller, white spirit etc. I use highlights and colour to partly reveal the form. Sometimes the figure may become distorted or changed.

Painting by Isabel Wakeman

I have been experimenting with this technique for about two years. I struggle to achieve a creative tension between the paint and colour and the form. I am trying to move towards an almost abstract image without completely losing the starting point.

I shared an exhibition with two colleagues at the Friend’s Meeting House in York in 2004 and then held one on my own at the Blake Head bookshop in 2005. I have just taken part in York Open Studios. I sold paintings at all these shows.

From the 13th of April 2007, I'll be exhibiting some of my work at the Treasurer's House in York.

last updated: 04/06/08
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