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Rose Arbuthnott discusses her time in art education and the artists who inspire her

We sat down with our current exhibitor Rose Arbuthnott, to discuss her current exhibit 'Still Lives', as well as her process of creating art for domestic spaces.

Where did you grow up?

“I was born in Cheltenham and grew up locally around the Cotswolds. I went to school here and in Marlborough. I grew up on a small farm in the countryside with goats and chickens and that sort of thing.”

How did your interest in art begin?

“My Mum’s kind of an artist. She loved doing stuff and making crafts. My 'Still Lives' pieces are on the edge of being craft and art.”

Do you have an art or design education?

“I got an art scholarship to Cheltenham Ladies College, and I had a really good time in the art department at Marlborough, it was amazing. That experience really got me going with my art. Then I went to do Art and Art History at Edinburgh University and afterwards I attended the Royal Drawing School in London. Currently, I am at the Royal College of Art, so I’m still going back to education after 12 years.

“I enjoyed my art education because I like doing different things all the time. I painted recently and really enjoyed it after not doing it for a couple of months. This installation I’m doing is fun, but also quite complicated. I’m trying to move into the glass department - it’s kind of a dream of mine to work with glass.”

What inspires you to create art?

“I’m inspired by seeing what it looks like and knowing that I’m making something permanent. I’m particularly interested in creating art for a domestic space, so I find that the real fulfilment comes from when my pieces find a home and someone loves them. That’s what it’s all about.”

Are you influenced by the work of other artists?

“Very much so, though some less conscious than others. For example, Giorgio Morandi, he’s an incredible still life painter. Other artists that I’m influenced by are Mattise and Picasso. There’s also an artist called Winifred Nicholson who does beautiful paintings of flowers on windowsills. Abstract expressionism from New York also inspires me. I’ve had thoughts of developing my colour field, but right now I enjoy making these paintings and don’t feel like I need to change it.”

What is your process for creating a piece of art from start to finish?

“I buy plywood from Travis Perkins and have stashes of old brushes that I should really wash up! Then, I choose the oils paints and do the drawing. I probably shouldn’t go into too much detail; it should be an artist’s secret really!”

What do you think about the art scene in Cheltenham?

“I think it’s brilliant, I really like the artwork in local galleries. I haven’t lived in Cheltenham since school though so I’m not sure what it’s like all over Cheltenham, but hopefully my pieces will add some colour to the town.”

Is this your first gallery exhibition?

“No, I’ve had a few over the years. I really like making the work and then getting it into galleries. I’m about to do a group show in London in naturism and climate change.”

What advice do you have for other artists who are looking to exhibit their work in a gallery?

“My advice would be making the work before you organise the show (unless you’re really into deadlines which some people are!). Also, find someone great to do it with, I think that always helps. I remember a show I did with my friend Jessie Buchanan, she made me mince pies and kept me calm. That was really helpful.”

Are you enjoying exhibiting at Sixteen Gallery?

“Yes, I think it’s a great space. Charlie is doing well with the hanging system which we’re not really used to, but it's been good so far.”

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