This week Brighton Journal spoke to local painter, Loraine Hayes. Loraine’s semi-abstract paintings explore the rolling hills of the South Downs and the marine life of Sussex coastlines. She works in acrylics, using heightened colour and composition to create personal and joyful relationships with the landscape. Loraine frequently incorporates native flowers in a decorative style into her scenes, highlighting the smaller details that complement the undulating hills of the Sussex countryside. We discussed Loraine’s current projects, inspirations and favourite local walks. Keep reading to find out more about Loraine and her wonderful work.
What are you doing today?
I’m enjoying the sun and doing the base drawing for my next gouache painting.
Describe where you do most of your creative work.
I have a studio room at home where I paint but I am always looking for visual ideas in the countryside.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve worked on?
I studied Painting at St. Martins School of Art and then went into fashion magazines in London. Perhaps the most exciting thing is to now be able to concentrate entirely on my painting.
What made you decide to become an artist?
It was not a choice but a powerful impulse! When you are channelling your intention through your art you can expect some wonderful surprises.
What are you currently working on?
I am copying illustrated Vogue covers from the 1920s!
What are the key themes in your work?
My starting point is the Sussex downland using heightened colour and composition. Sometimes I incorporate native wild flowers into the scene in a decorative style over an undulating landscape.
What would you like people to notice about your work?
I hope people enjoy the colour and rhythms and get a sense of joy. I also want to highlight the small things that go unnoticed: the intense red in a stem of dock leaf; the glorious potential of a tightly packed bud of Queen Anne’s Lace.
What attracts you to the medium you work in?
I work in acrylics because I can make rapid changes. I love the freedom of allowing the painting to evolve and talk to me!
What equipment could you not do without?
It has to be canvas, water, paints, brushes and my sturdy wooden easel.
Who or what inspires you?
I am constantly inspired by the artist Paul Klee. He said that “art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible”. This chimes with the images that emerged when I decided that I had better paint a hill red and a field yellow, minimalising the use of green in what was essentially a green landscape. I hope the colours let you see the landscape in a different way.
How is your work affected by living in this area?
My paintings are a response to the Sussex Downs. In late summer the skies are full of clouds piled high on top of the hills; a flowering of flax can suddenly turn the hills the most beautiful sky blue.
What’s your favourite thing to do locally?
I enjoy walking in the hills. There’s so much to see if you look, whether that be a grand and distant panorama, or being startled at the colours of a tiny patch of native wildflowers.
What’s your favourite gallery (or place to see/experience art)?
I love visiting the Artists Open Houses in Brighton. I have taken part in several Open Houses and it is so rewarding for an artist to talk to people looking at the work.
If you could collaborate with one artist, from any time, who would it be and why?
It would have to be Paul Klee. I love his musical rhythms and his expression of colour.
What’s your favourite colour?
Turquoise. For me it’s the colour of Brighton. But I love orange! It is warm, energetic and cheerful.