Recently I had the great pleasure of working with Cumbria based fine artist Charlotte Gurran. I have never commissioned a piece of artwork before so when I had the opportunity to work with Charlotte, I jumped at the chance.
What began as a couple of hours discussing colours palettes, special places (and a shared love of interior design) became a totally unique piece of original artwork full of soul which captured the very essence of a place I love dearly. I feel that Charlotte perfectly captured the soulful connection I have to Crummock Water in her painting which now sits, pride of place, above my fireplace. The painting creates a real impact when you walk into the room, I can't take my eyes of it.
Charlottes approach to her work begins and ends in nature, where she captures fleeting moments in time and movements in nature which she calls "natural data", making her work truly unique.
Charlottes creative process is so deeply rooted into nature that I knew I wanted to share more of her story with you here. So pop the kettle on, make a cuppa and take a moment to read the interview.
Introduce yourself, tell us what you do and where you live/work.
I am Charlotte Gurran, an Artist based in the Lake District, in the beautiful county of Cumbria. My paintings are borne from a deep respect and admiration for the natural landscape, drawing on the concept of environmental wellbeing.
Do you have a creative process? Please share how you create your work
My creative process begins and ends outdoors: often up a mountain, along a river, or lake-side in Cumbria. Whilst surrounded by nature, I map the movement of birds as they travel across the landscape. When a painting is commissioned, I am able offer my client the choice of where in Cumbria they would like their natural data to be collected, that way their favourite sentimental place can be at the core of their artwork. Back in the studio, I transfer the gathered data onto the canvas, in the form of lines and tracks. Layer upon layer is applied to the canvas, only ever using each piece of data once, so that the artwork is the only unique record ever to capture those exact moments or movements made in nature.
What inspires your work?
I am inspired by the concept of environmental wellbeing, and the feelings that are generated when we truly experience nature. I believe we can derive great benefits from both spending time in nature, and adorning our living spaces with relaxing and calming representations of the natural world.
A home can feel quite rigid at times, so I love to bring the sense of organic, natural movements from the landscape into the room. Art can be so impactful to the ambience of a room, so I always work with my clients to match the piece perfectly to its intended destination. I have been fortunate enough to create commissioned paintings for many homes and also several hotels, with the most humbling reactions from my clients. Having the opportunity to create Art they will cherish forever and which will transform the spaces people spend time in each day means the world to me.
What materials do you work with? and what do you love most about the materials you work with?
My paintings are on stretched canvas, using a mixture of acrylics, inks, emulsions, and glazes. What I love most about this combination is the variety of ways they react to create mesmerising effects and textures, sometimes working harmoniously and sometimes seemingly fighting each other for control on the canvas. When I am applying wet layers to a piece, it can sometimes take multiple days for a section to dry, and I am always so excited to come back and see how the paints have settled and then further build on them with more layers!
What has been the highlight of your creative journey so far?
Something that felt very special to me was having my art requested to be installed in the entrance foyer of a children's therapy charity in Texas, USA. I had two paintings at the time which were bright aquas and blues, and the co-founder of the charity spotted them on facebook and got in touch with me saying that the bright colours would be perfect for bringing uplifting feelings of positivity to their centre.
I felt so honoured to be part of such a worthy cause, and knowing that my art is in such a special place made me very emotional when it came to ship them! I love how Art can be so powerful in the feelings it can bring to people.
What would be the process interested clients would go through to commission a piece of your work?
I love fielding queries from clients about potential commissions, and there are plenty of initial points to talk through - including the size and palette of the piece, and the specific location you would like me to collect Natural Data from, if you have a preference.
I am able to accommodate a range of finishes on my artwork, such as matt or gloss, and the inclusion of wrap-around painted edges for a deep canvas as opposed to a frame - there are so many elements that can be fully customised to perfectly tailor the piece to your brief!
If local, I am always happy to conduct a home-visit, to get a feel for the space and the light in the room. If abroad, or in a distant part of the UK, I can do remote consultations via video call.
After the consultation, I will provide a quote for the artwork. If this suits, then we can continue the process and get things underway! If it isn’t a perfect fit, then there are plenty of options we can look at to make the price suitable, such as using standard canvas sizes as opposed to custom-builds, producing a smaller piece, payment plans, or signed prints as opposed to originals.
Once we reach agreement, I can get to work! Firstly, ordering supplies and materials, and then getting out into the landscape to gather the data for the artwork. After many hours, days, and weeks spent happily working in my studio, the artwork is completed. Wherever possible, I like to hand-deliver my artwork to my clients. Seeing their reaction in person means so much, often making us both feel quite emotional!
I love to see the finished piece in its’ new home, and look back on just a few weeks ago it being merely a conversation, and now an artwork made to perfectly complement and enhance a space. If I am not able to deliver, then I package up very safely and thoroughly, and ship the painting to the customer worldwide.
Do you have a favourite piece of work, and what makes it so special to you?
I very much enjoyed creating the piece for your home. When discussing palettes, I chose the main body of colours to be soothing greens to reflect the motif of your living room but with some unexpected pops of other colours found in nature.
One of my more unusual pieces was a commission for a gentleman who wanted some artwork to hang in his new snooker room. In a slight deviation from my usual style, I still collected Natural Data from the Lake District, but I used a colour scheme inspired by the colours of the snooker balls and the felt of the table. The greens, reds, browns and yellows still created a very natural-feeling piece, though one with a nod to the purpose of the room where it was hung. The gentleman was overcome with emotion and welled-up when I delivered it to him on New Years Day morning - it was a great way to start the year!
What’s next? Do you have any projects/ exhibitions/collaborations coming up that you can share?
I am honoured to have recently been invited to be a part of the Artisan Collective ‘Shop For the Senses’ based at the Rheged Centre: an exclusive group of 9 Cumbrian artists who share a love of artwork inspired by our beautiful county.
Thank you to Charlotte for sharing your story and her fascinating artistic process. If you would like to see more of Charlottes creative journey and her work as it evolves then head over to her website or social media.
Tik Tok: @charlottegurranart