Outdoor Studios Kent and the South East - AmandaThesiger

AmandaThesiger

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Living and working in Kent for many years, I’ve developed my practice in many different directions. Formally trained at Maidstone Collage of Art, then the Royal Academy Schools and the British School at Rome, from early on I’ve been an abstract painter, working with play, intuition and experimentation. I became obsessed with egg tempera, encaustic and then oil paint. I love the tactility of materials; how oil paint moves, the smell, the patience you need and the way it fires your imagination while you’re working with it.

Gradually I began to work in mixed media which heightened my sense of materiality and the importance of process. I’ve worked with slate, wood, fabric, shells, stone, over print, book pages, maps and in 3D, with natural and found materials, with inks, various paints and all sorts of dry media. I love the directness of print and collage – you can throw in new elements and there’s quick progression. Each foray is like an act of sabotage that kicks the work into life. In-the-moment working is risky, but as you’re working; you respond, you invest and, with luck, an image is formed.

A big part of my creative life has been spent working together with and engaging people from all walks of life, ages and experience, and none, across a broad range of art activities. Outdoor Studios, which I am a founder director of, brings people into contact with aspects of the natural world through creative exploration. From museums to schools, Age UK to the National Trust, from community family learning to 1:1 classes, it’s a learning experience for me too. Whether a formal drawing course or a day of exploring creative possibilities in a wood, it has kept me on my toes. And it’s a revelation to see what people make… someone who hasn’t done anything with their hands in years might suddenly turn out an extraordinary print. It’s taught me so much about different materials, ways of working and people.

Drawing is a significant part of my practice, it underpins so much – and I find it’s a very grounding, mindful activity. Closely linked to drawing,  I started researching and making natural inks to use in my own work in response to a commission a few years ago. I liked the colours so much; they were incredibly rich but gentle at the same time, and they reflected the hues of the landscape. I’ve been making them and using them ever since. Natural inks complement watercolour and all sorts of media – they’re water soluble but fixed once they’re on the paper. Natural inks are ‘live’ and the colours are wonderful to draw, paint or write with. I passionately believe that working creatively with nature provides new ways to connect to it.

Where possible, the inks are made with ingredients sourced locally to me in north Kent – I take foraging walks and cycle rides to find the materials.  Preserved with essential oils to ward against any fungal presence, they’ll last at least a year – oak gall and black walnut will last a lot longer. Land Marks inks are for sale via my Etsy shop, Turpsey.

Facebook: @landmarksink

Instagram: @land_marks_ink and @thesigeramanda

Web: amandathesiger.com   

Etsy shop: turpsey.etsy.com