This month we met artist, Imogen Bone.
Imogen is a contemporary impressionist painter, she captures the ever-changing light and colours of the sea, sky and Cornish coastline in acrylic and oil. Often found high up on the clifftops, Imogen works en plein air, making small painted studies which she then works into larger scale paintings back in her studio at The Old Drill Hall in Marazion, near Penzance. She is also one of the highly skilled tutors at Newlyn School of Art and currently has two exhibitions of her work on show, at Gallery Tresco and The Summerhouse Gallery.
Q. You originally moved to Cornwall to study at Falmouth School of Art. What made you decide to stay in Cornwall after the course finished?
A. I love it here! I studied BA Illustration and completed an MA in Art & Environment at Falmouth School of Art, and I just found Cornwall so warm and easy going. I instantly felt at home. I also lived on the Isles of Scilly for 10 years, so I regularly stopped off in the Penzance area. When the studio space came up in Marazion, I jumped at it. There’s an incredible view of St Michael’s Mount and a great community here. I row with Mount’s Bay Gig Club and I went back to Scilly for the World Pilot Gig Championships this year which was so much fun.
Q. What does a typical day look like, do you have a particular routine?
A. I get into the studio quite early, usually by 8.30am, and the first thing I do is put the kettle on to make a pot of coffee. Then I like to spend some time just looking, and I might move things around a bit. I’m in the studio full time, and make myself productive even if I don’t feel like it. I find it really important to be happy and comfortable in my working space and I like to break up the day with lots of trips out of the studio, which helps me to keep the high energy within my paintings. Luckily, Marazion beach is just a five minute walk from my studio, so it’s easy to nip down there and along the coast path.
Q. How often do you tutor at Newlyn School of Art?
A. I teach a course called ‘Coast’ at Newlyn every other month. I’m also teaching on the week long landscape painting course there, where there are four different tutors over the course of the week.
Q. Can you tell us a bit about your painting process?
A. I work from my sketches or photos and start off with drawing and adding lots of thin layers to the canvas, gradually building up. The way I paint is an evolving process and at the moment I am really enjoying leaving those thin washes to peek through the layers of paint, they really show the surface of the canvas and I love to see the history of the painting process. I like to work on a few pieces at the same time, usually three or four. It’s almost like they talk to each other – it’s important for me to work on them simultaneously to create a cohesive body of work, rather than one individual painting. I like to exhibit the series together too. The paintings can often be on the wall for some time while I’m deciding whether they are finished. They are all work in progress until they head off to the framers.
My latest series features my beekeeping friend, Kate. I am fascinated by her bees and they make the most delicious honey, just down the road from here.
Q. Which other artists have you been influenced by?
A. Lots of my contemporaries really… Michael Honnor is a definite favourite, Robin Leonard and Hannah Woodman are just incredible painters and colourists.
Q. What do you prefer to wear when you’re in the studio?
A. Usually just comfy jeans and T-shirts. And a good waterproof coat (my Seafolly Jacket) when I’m out on the coast path sketching or teaching on the painting courses at Newlyn, we go out whatever the weather. My favourite colours are definitely blue and yellow – it’s funny how you end up wearing the colours you paint, and vice versa!
Q. Where’s your favourite off-the-beaten-track place in Cornwall?
A. It’s difficult to choose. But it’s got to be Nanjizal Cove. You can’t park nearby, so it’s usually quiet and it’s a lovely walk along the coast path
Imogen is wearing her Etching Jacket and Sailor Shirt in our photos.