Before she can sit down, paintbrush in hand, in front of the easel she has to know every little detail about the person or the place she is about to commit to canvas.
“I feel that I will only be doing the subject any kind of justice if I know about them how they lived why they did what they did in their life and why where they so different. It is almost as if I need to be living in their life,” she explained.
“I spend hours and hours researching all I can about them before I start work and then I just become totally absorbed in the painting as I try to get their personality to come out in what I am creating.”
It is not just icons such as Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor that get this treatment from the Heage artist – she has also found out all she can about Derbyshire’s familiar landmarks such as Riber Castle and Heage Windmill for her landscape series of paintings.
It is these paintings that will be being exhibited at Studio 61 Gallery at Holloway this month – the gallery, owned by Karina Goodman that gave Mandy her first solo exhibition in 2007.
The largely self-taught artist says that her dreamy, ethereal landscapes are influenced by her love for the Impressionists and she is also influenced by realism as in the Renaissance.
Mandy likes to describe her work as a story that depicts history and highlights our heritage – that’s what her recent Heritage Inspiration Series is all about. One of her most recent paintings is to be recreated as a wall mural at The Yew Tree pub in South Wingfield.
Mandy’s emotionally-charged four-foot high portrait series of paintings are something quite different and her latest work in progress is Amy Winehouse – when I visit a half finished canvas is awaiting her attention.
One recent painting of which she is particularly proud is My Boy: A son, a father, a brother and a husband that was exhibited at the Brit Poppy Art WW1 Centenary Charity Art Exhibition in August. Her muse for the moving piece was her own son Nathan.
“I have had such a wonderful response from people about that painting. He really spoke out to them and that’s just what My Boy is about.
“Once the painting is sold all the money will be donated to three prominent charities that help soldiers and their families.”
Mandy started drawing as a small child and later studied at the Impressionists Era at an adult further education class and attended art class workshops for ten years before exhibiting.
Go to http://www.artbymandy.com to see more of her work and exhibitions. You can also follow the progress of some of Mandy’s work on her facebook page facebook.com/artbymandy.