Vivienne Cawson, artist

Cybelle 3The first thing you notice when you step into the studio of artist Vivienne Cawson is her vast collection of vases and jugs.

Vessels in a multitude of shapes, sizes and colours fill every nook and cranny and it is clear she is as passionate about them as she is flowers.

One of her workshops has just finished as I arrive and the lilies they have been painting are still on the studio table – their powerful scent filling the room.

The walls are adorned with her breathtaking watercolours and despite it being a dank winter’s evening outside I feel as if I have been transported to a summer’s day.

It is ten years since Vivienne started painting professionally after 19 years as an art and design teacher in further education. She had trained in printed textiles and before embarking on her teaching career she worked as a freelance designer of carpets.

“I have always had an interest in interiors and geometric patterns and it is still a strong element of my work today,” she explained.

“Pattern, colour and natural form are the focus for my paintings and my inspiration can come from something as simple as a piece of fabric or one of my special containers as well as the flowers themselves.

“I think I have become known for my collection of fabrics and variety of vases and jugs,” she said with a smile.

“My work is not a faithful reproduction of my subject – I don’t paint anything I don’t enjoy painting. I aim to produce something spontaneous, alive with fresh, vibrant colour from the information in front of me.”

Vivienne, 63, was encouraged to paint from an early age by her father Sydney Shorthouse an esteemed miniature painter who only took up art seriously when he retired but became a vice president of the Royal Miniature Society before his death in 2009.

“He hadn’t been allowed to go to art college when he was young so he always encouraged me to do what I wanted to do. Like him I like to have a challenge and something to aim for each year,” said Vivienne.

Her next target is to show at some of the country’s best art, craft and design shows.

Since 2005 she has become a member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Art, the Leicester Society of Art and the Birmingham Watercolour Society. She had a solo exhibition at Ingleby Gallery near Melbourne last November and will be exhibiting at Patchings Barn Gallery at Calverton from March 7 – April 12. There are meet the artist days on March 15 and 29. The preview will be on March 7 from 11am-2pm.

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