Featured Artist Anne-Laure Carruth

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‘Esther’s Retreat’

How did you get started as an artist?

I’ve always drawn since I was a kid but I let it slip out of my life for a few years. It crept back in about 5 years ago, but I’d say that I’ve only felt comfortable in saying I am an artist after I got back from an expedition in 2014.

What inspires you to be creative?

Everything. Its something I have tried to suppress at different times in my life, but its part of me, whether I like it or not. Colour, travel, people, stories, places all inspire my creative practice. Most of all, I have this innate curiosity about everything – a sense of play that I am learning to embrace instead of contain, like I have done in the past.

How would you describe your creative process?

It’s a total rollercoaster of emotions. It’s phenomenal, it’s rock bottom hideous, and everything inbetween. I’m learning to become 100% me through my creative practice, which is why I now describe myself as a creative explorer. My creative practice needs to involve moment (physical and geographical), people and their stories, learning and enlightenment about the world.

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Landscape painting in Jordan

What is your favourite medium to work in and why?

At the moment it’s oil pastels. I love colours and blending them together but don’t really like using a paintbrush. Fingers direct on the page is much more suited to the way I work – messy!

How do you tackle a blank canvas?

I attack it straight away, otherwise it’s too daunting. I throw some colour on to create a base, or just start drawing with the ink pen – then there’s no going back.

What do you find the most challenging about the creative process?

The emotional lows can be pretty epic. I’ve just had a little exhibition of my latest project, Urban art-venturing: London, and I just hit the wall. The build up of working and planning and worrying suddenly came to a halt and I was hit by the most depressing of anti-climaxes. It’s hard to manage energy levels sometimes when so much goes into creating something – you then need to replenish and nourish your creative spirit.

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‘Greenwich Observatory’

In which ways do you differentiate your work from that of other artists?

I don’t really look at other artists’ work too much. At the moment I’m just focusing on becoming as creatively prolific as I possibly can – and not being influenced by others. I want to ensure that what I do is a direct result of the connection I’m making with the drawing/ painting’s subject matter. That’s essential.

What are your essential tools?

A sketchbook, my Platinum Carbon Pen fountain pen with it’s beautiful permanent ink, and my trusted oil pastels for my daily ‘a peek inside’ series.

How would you describe your studio/workspace?

I’ve created a little haven in my flat – a simple door blank from a builder’s merchant makes a great large table. I’ve got lots of shelves with all my materials on show – If I can’t see stuff then I forget I have it so hopefully I’ll use a wider variety of kit now its all on display.

‘Ladies Pond’

Do you have a favourite art tip that you can share with our readers?

Its sounds silly but its only recently that I really feel like I mastered the idea of light and dark to create 3D looking shapes. I drew for 6 months every day with only a black ink pen on our Shifting Sands trip. This routine and use of only one medium was essential practice in really honing that skill. Now I’m bringing colour back into my work and I can really see a huge difference in how I capture volume. Practice. Just keep going – keep drawing – don’t give up!

Where can our readers find out more about you?

You can find more of my work on my website and read about my adventures in North Africa and the Middle East via Shifting Sands. You can also follow me on Instagram.

Anne-Laure is exhibiting  with ‘Urban Artventuring’ at The Proud Archivist in central London between 2-8 May. Find out more here.

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‘123 Istanbul – Balat Cafe’

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