Artist captures public's favourite Sussex scenes as part of Horsham District Year of Culture
As part of the Horsham District Year of Culture artist Sarah Duffield is painting scenes from the area after the public voted for their favourite views.
With four in total it seems that when Sarah met up with one of the team she didn’t realise how many were on the cards.
“I knew Nick Jenkins from Horsham District Council liked my work and I had just done an exhibition at Horsham museum,” she says.“I thought he would ask me to do one, but this turned into four and then a few more for an exhibition they are holding.”
The public were asked to suggest their favourite places the top four are the view from Beeding Hill, Knepp Castle, Amberley and Chesworth farm.
“I have found it really interesting as it has revealed places I didn’t even knew existed like Chesworth Farm which is a wildlife reserve,” reveals Sarah.“I have had the view from Beeding Hill on my to do list for a while as it is near where I live but I just haven’t got round to painting it.”
Sarah explains that she has always been creative and growing up knew that she would be an artist.“I feel like I am living my dream and sometimes I forget that this is my job,” she smiles.
After graduating with an art and creative writing degree Sarah says that she fell out of love with art as at university ‘you have to keep notes and you are graded’, but after having children she enrolled on a college course and found her passion again.“It was on this course that I did landscapes for the first time as before that I did mainly life drawing,” she explains.“I completely fell in love with landscapes and have continued to do them ever since.”
For her paintings Sarah starts by visiting the location at different times to see how the light works and goes to different viewpoints. “I do a number of sketches, and then have a final layout sketch but I use sketches and pictures to put the piece together,” explains Sarah.“And then I start to paint. Sometimes they are composites so you couldn’t stand from one place and get that same view, it is from different viewpoints but it is still recognisable as that place.”
What surprised Sarah the most was how big the Horsham district is.
“There is the Downs, lakes and rivers and so many things I didn’t know about,” she says.“I had never been to Knepp Castle before, which I thought was quite bad.“When we looked at the suggestions from people we wanted places that people would recognise. We had suggestions for bluebell wood but that could be anywhere, we want people to look at an go ‘oh that’s so and so’.”
Sarah uses water soluble oil paintings and has recently started to draw using charcoal again. She describes her work as being ‘abstraction landscapes’ in that you can see what it is but if you went there it wouldn’t be that colour or look exactly like that.“I am an emotive painter, painting emotion using colour,” she adds.“I want people to have a connection with the piece and feel something.”
That is one thing she loves about commissions painting a place that holds a special memory for someone.
As for the Horsham district series for the farm she wants an autumnal feel with the changing colours of the leaves, while at Knepp she plans to head out early morning in January or February to get those cool crisp colours.
Sarah also holds workshops on the last Saturday of the month at the Cowshed at Steyning.“I get a lot of people who feel they can’t paint because of what they have been told at school,” she says. “Or they pick up a paintbrush for the first time with me, I say to them just do something if you don’t like we can screw it up and start again. 99 per cent of what I do I screw up and start again but I don’t put those bits on social media.“I just give people a place to create and be creative.”
For more information on the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019, visit www.hdculture2019.co.ukFor more on Sarah either visit her website sduffieldart.co.uk or ‘like’ her page on Facebook www.facebook.com/sarahduffieldartist