Meet the artist

Wendy J. Allen

I am a painter and occasionally make readable art objects. I have come late to painting, having started out as a printmaker and bookartist.  
I often used water-mixable oils for my monotypes and tried painting with them. I really enjoyed their buttery texture and the directness of painting, which is so unlike print-making, but they took so long to dry that I often ended up with mud!

Then I discovered acrylics!
As a very impatient person, I love the way acrylic paint dries so quickly, allowing layers to be built up in one session and much more freedom of expression. Although most of my work is abstract nowadays, just occasionally I find myself becoming more figurative.
My instinct is to work as big as I can fit in my studio, which is not enormous, but recently I have been working on small 30 cm square boards and canvases. They are quite challenging but I love a challenge!

My paintings evolve in an intuitive, stream of consciousness way that I hope conveys the awe I feel in the landscape and natural world in general and my faith in God, the Supreme Creator. I love colour and in some ways, each canvas or board is an exploration of and engagement with colour.
Although I have many photos as visual cues, and I use sketchbooks to record ideas and colours I’ve mixed, my work is much more about memory and the feel of the places I’ve been. I have always wanted to preserve the beauty I see but in a way that conveys how I feel about it. I have lived long enough to accumulate a wealth of memories – mountains and waterfalls, streams and meadows, crashing waves and winter storms.

 The great thing about such a mental image is that it includes the feelings, the experience of the place. Wind in your hair, the smell of brine in the air, the thunder of water on rocks, the electricity you felt that day in that place.
This is what informs my work, although the relationship to such things is often not apparent until the piece is nearing completion.

Titles come last! They are simply a way of cataloguing the work.  The piece might well mean something completely different to you than it does to me. In fact, I hope it does. I hope it brings back memories or dreams that inspire you and that it helps you feel that there are beautiful things to enjoy in this world, no matter what life is currently throwing your way.

Where I work

I am a born-and-bred East Anglian having lived in Suffolk most of my life. My home is in a small village 3 miles from the town where Thomas Gainsborough, 18th century portraitist and landscape artist, was born in 1727. I’m not quite that old!
I am lucky to have a studio, a garden shed, close to the back of my house. It has its limitations, such as no running water, but it is my sacred space where I don’t have to clean up unless I want to and nothing interrupts me, except my husband calling, ‘Lunch is ready!’

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