I love discovering new artists that I admire. I was delighted to have the opportunity to interview landscape painter Victoria Wylie and find out about her background and processes as an artist.
AG Tell me a little about where you come from Victoria?
VW I was born and brought up in North Yorkshire and trained as a textile designer at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee. I fell in love with Scotland and I never left. When I graduated, I worked as a weaver at the Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh, combining my practice with project co-ordination at the Dundee Contemporary Arts, the DCA, initially, then, collaborating with the Scottish Poetry Library at arts publishers called Pocketbooks. I found myself, quite quickly, with a burgeoning career as an arts administrator.
AG What happened next?
VW After a few years, I was determined to get back to being a practising artist, and signed up for an MFA back at Duncan of Jordansone. I specialised in film and installation art. However, I never went on to practice as an artist in this field. I kept being head hunted as an arts administrator, for all sorts of projects, and also found myself working as a freelance designer. There was a lot happening in Dundee at the time, the DCA was gaining an international reputation and the new V&A in Dundee was shortly opening, so opportunities abounded.
AG I know you have a family as well as a stellar career?
VW Ah – my husband and three children have been a huge driver, they provide so much love and support every step of my journey – I can only champion them for helping me achieve what I have. They are present in every painting I make. We moved to Forfar, looking for more space for studios and a more rural way of life and I started running workshops for children and found I was able to work around my family very efficiently. I started painting myself and discovered a vein of confidence that I had never experienced before. It was almost as if, all the time I had spent working as a designer and supporting artists on their projects was building up a bank of creativity in me. When lockdown happened, my workshops and design work suddenly fell away and I poured all my time and creativity into painting. I hit the ground running as a landscape painter.
AG And now?
VW I am back to back with commissions and have been selling my work steadily through galleries. So, although my career as a designer and administrator was reduced by Lockdown, my career as an artist was accelerated.
AG Tell me about your influences?
VW My influences are first and foremost nature. I love hill walking and cycling – I always have since I was a child on the Yorkshire moors. The outdoors are my main sources of inspiration. I take photos as I go and sometimes make sketches if I have time. I love cloud watching and beach beachcombing. I work from memory in my studio and just try and pour out everything I have absorbed onto canvas and paper. My outpourings include feelings, sounds and smells from the landscape. My experiences and moods can be wild or gentle or anything in between, prompting pops of colour and pattern that come from something deeper than mere observation. My painting are born out of genuine passion and knowledge of the landscape I am surrounded by. I also love looking at the work of other artists, painters I admire include the North East based painter Francis Boag and an artist based in Cornwall, David Mankin. I enjoy teaching, working with other artists and collaborating with others in the community. Art is not a solitary activity for me. This has led to some really rewarding local public art commissions, including some shop front murals and a project with young people suffering from lack of educational resources during lockdown.
You can buy Victoria’s work directly from her, or through the Green Gallery, where the director, Becky Walker, works tirelessly to help clients lift their interiors with original artworks.
You can follow Victoria on Instagram here.