From the age of 13 Rosemary studied at a junior art school in Sutton which offered extra art classes alongside standard academic education. A degree at St Martin’s College of Art followed where she became fascinated with the possible relationship between sound and colour. She painted vast abstract canvases and became very influenced by the paintings of Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky.
Hard at work on one of these canvases she was spotted by Sir Roger de Grey RA, the late great landscape painter, who was then a senior tutor at the Royal College of Art. Encouraged to apply, she studied there for a master’s degree experimenting with animation, eventually returning to figurative painting under the guidance of Prof Carel Weight, another leading English painter.
The main wisdom picked up from him was that you should always allow the painting to develop in its own way, to not have fixed ideas and let some ideas go. Reality must be subordinated to the needs of the painting.
In her own words – ‘I am, with my recent paintings, trying to encompass both recognisable landscape elements and passages of pure painterly abstraction, an instinctive and emotional response to the British landscape.’
‘I begin the painting process on location gathering ideas. The empty beaches and vast skies of Tresco are a formative influence. The cityscapes of London, Cambridge and Venice are another source of inspiration, centring around water and focusing on the effects of light on atmospheric rivers and the sharp angular contrast of buildings. I have recently been exploring the wide vistas of the Fens. The area has the same powerful atmosphere and sense of isolation as Tresco. I haven’t explored that enough yet – the endless variations of land and sky.’
My large oil paintings are then constructed from such references back in my studio. “I begin by staring at a blank canvas quite often for one or two hours. The ideas ebb and flow and I rely heavily on my memories of the time and space which I was in.”
“I tend to fill the canvas with paint in no predetermined form. Recently using my hands alone as our ancestors did. My paintings are covered with my finger prints It gives a lovely fluid effect. I also spray the canvas with turpentine letting it trickle down the surface blotting and smudging it with rags and kitchen roll. I’ll literally use anything that comes to hand to get the right effect.”
Being a keen gardener, I have always been captivated by combinations and infinite variety of shapes and colours of plants, and the wonderful abstract qualities of winter trees. The possibilities are endless. They are a work in progress but I am excited about where they are going. There is no point in standing still. Every time you think you’ve arrived you find there is still much further to go.