Photo by: Annie Swarbrick of Quirky Workshops, Greystoke, Cumbria
At school Amanda was told she was rubbish at art and should concentrate on the Sciences. I moved to Cumbria in 1977, living in Blindcrake for the first 9 years then in Central Cockermouth for over 34 years. About 30 years ago a friend and I went to local evening classes and worked on flower studies using coloured pencils – I now realise that would be called Botanical Art and have since widened my horizons! In 2004 I joined Cockermouth U3A art under the wonderful guidance of Jacquie Cowan who eventually encouraged me to join Keswick Society of Art. In November 2017 I joined GoFigure at Braithwaite and realised I could push out the boundaries even more!
All my work is for sale with the exception of “The Other Woman” whom my husband greets each morning on his way from bedroom to bathroom.
- Dream Girl – Acrylic. Background inspired by Van Gough. 25x37cm
- Girl in a Green Dress – Acrylic. 25x34cm. Painted at a “GoFigure” outside session.
These two pictures, and the portrait below, were all started at GoFigure sessions. I like to take prepared backgrounds, some like “Dream Girl” quite elaborate, I knew I’d be painting “Girl in a green dress” outdoors so I used colours to suit and the background of the portrait below was thick swirls of acrylic paint so i had to fight hard to get the features, done in oil pastels, to show up.
- The Other Woman – Oil pastel on acrylic. 24.5×24.5cm
- It’s snowy Outside – Mixed media with acrylic. 28.5x28cm
- Hart’s-Tongue Ferns – Ink and watercolour. 17x25cm
At the start of lockdown Dave Miller emailed a very small group of GoFigure members who had pre-paid on March 6th 2020 for future sessions in Braithwaite Institute. That £65 gave me access to a wonderful, still on going, session of GoFigure weekly zooms. It was decided each member would prepare a series of a paintings, done during lockdown, to be shown to the group. I ended up doing my seven paintings in less than 5 days! On return from a planned visit to West Cumberland Hospital husband and i stopped for a walk at the CWT reserve at Clints Quarry Egremont. We were being bombarded with instructions about “social distancing”. The ferns reminded me of a group of gossiping women ignoring the advice.
- Learning to Walk After Covid-19. Ink and Wolf carbon pencil. 30x22cm
During U3A drama zooms I learnt one of our members had recovered from Covid-19 and he sent me various photos so I could base several paintings on his experiences. At the age of 13 years, after years of severe illness, I had to be taught to walk again and the Covid-19 situation brought many images flooding back to me.
- Walking Towards the Rannerdale Bluebells – Acrylic. 38x27cm
I love being outdoors and a trip to the Rannerdale Bluebells had, until this year, been a
fixture in my life. I was so glad to have a series of my photographs to help me with this picture. We had 7 GoFigure outdoor sessions and I was trying to paint outdoors twice a week, even in the snow and ice. The very varied coastline of Cumbria gives a wealth of subjects. The painting below was started in November 2020 with biting cold wind coming off the sea.
- Iron Ore Foundry Site, Harrington, Nr. Workington – Acrylic 24.5 x 34cm
In late December 2020 Cumbria went into Tier 4 followed by Lockdown and I’m prevented from driving 7 miles to my nearest beach at Maryport. However, on January 8th, 2021 husband (79) and I (77) had our first dose of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. A new beginning!