This evening we were delighted to welcome Jessica Cooper who joined us from her studio at the Newlyn School of Art in Cornwall
Jessica has been an artist all her life and has had a successful career for many years with her paintings which capture a mindfulness and consideration as expressed within her still life subjects.
Our conversation with Jessica explored her practice and how she articulates her thinking within her work. The discussion took place around a few pieces of work in her studio.
The first piece we discussed was her latest artwork and one that she is still working on. Inspired by watching Marvel films during lockdown, we have a lamp and shade with patterned rectangle (influenced by a coaster recently purchased) in the composition. Jessica talked through her thought process and how she constantly strives to balance shape, line and colour, searching out relationships, pairing down visual information whilst, at the same time, keeping the essence of form and what is felt from within. Why do you make that particular mark or place the coaster at an angle or use a particular shade of grey for the background? Jessica was keen to stress the importance of constantly employing a mindful awareness of how the elements of the composition are both connected and balanced.
The second piece of artwork was derived from a memory from her stay in Los Angeles. A pink bowl of blue chips with black vase. Jessica explained that her ever-present sketchbooks are her main source of inspiration. She had observed and drawn the pink bowl many times so that eventually her line on the canvas became instinctive and informed.
This painting has been sitting in the studio for some time and Jessica says that sometimes it can take a long time to resolve a painting; to find its central core. She pointed out that at times such as this you must not take the easy way out in your search for meaning and clarity; and by the way look out for those happy accidents. She admits, however, that there are times when all you can do is paint over and move on.
It was terrific that our members were so engaged by what Jessica had to say and we even managed to chat about the ‘whiteness’ of white and how to get a really ‘ black’ black (thanks to Ericka and Sue for the Golden White and Black 3.0 recommendations too). Jessica said it invariably takes many coats of paint to reach just the right colour or tone.
There is so much more I could say about how inspiring it was to listen to Jessica but I will conclude by saying that we really hope that she will let us see the images of the two pieces when they are finished.
Jessica is having a break in 2021 from any major shows but will be showing at the Art Fairs if they resume and will have work with Cube Gallery, London and Thompson’s, Aldeburgh.
You can keep up to date via her Instagram and website @jessicacooperdesign and www.jessicacooper.co.uk