Alexandra Woods  – Saturday 16th June 2018

For most people living on or near a farm it could be a blessing and this so happened to Alexandra. Having lived right next to the Cotswold Farm Park, it was only later in life that this influenced her creative direction. But Alexandra is proud to claim that while growing up near the farm, she was able to meet Johnny Morris the well known TV presenter of yester year.

Studying textile design at Manchester and taking on screen printing as a discipline, Alexandra moved to develop her designs for patterns and repetitive imagery for wallpaper and fabric. This soon evolved into graphics for illustrations and advertisements (including on milk cartons) after continuing studying illustration at Brighton.

It was when her grandfather passed away and she was given his beloved oil paints she began to develop her skills with a new medium and paint. Subject matter was on her doorstep and with her love of knowing an animals character as well has how it looked she set out to capture both in her paintings, keeping the name of the animal as the title of the work.

Alexandra’s discussion with the Cotswold Art Club group gave us an insight to the mindset of a professional artist who wants to capture feeling and emotion in a piece. By using oils she found it great to walk away from a piece and return knowing it could be worked over as it wouldn’t be dry.

Sketching is a big part of developing her compositions, as well as knowing the animal and its habits. One in particular ‘Charlie Cow’ was a beloved cow of Charlie Weaver’s (Cotswold Cheese Company) painted on a 1mtr square canvas. Before tackling such a big canvas, Alexandra works on small pieces of paper (a4 size) in very quick sketches and takes photographs of the animal.  Once happy with a particular sketch, this will be photocopied in such a way to make a giant patchwork picture the same size of the canvas. Once cello-taped together it’s enhanced using wax crayons of biro. Going back to Alexandra’s printing days she paints the back of the paper and then rubs this as a mono print onto the canvas, thus having the original small sketch transferred.

Working on a white canvas, which she prefers, the animal is painted in first, in this demonstration, painting her own dog, using square or filbert brushes and the background painted last making sure the colours are neutral and do not clash.

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