Emma Tweedie is a talented, award-winning Northern Irish artist with a growing body of captivating, modern, Irish landscapes to her name. Based between London and Northern Ireland, Emma works in a variety of media, frequently sketching ‘en plein air.’ She builds up each artwork with a multitude of paint layers and often, unexpected or recycled materials. We are delighted to offer a range of fine art Giclée prints of a number of her original artworks. Each print depicts a different horizon or vista from across Emma’s Northern Irish homeland. Read more about the locations illustrated and the techniques employed by heading here. Read on for Emma’s story plus framing & display inspiration for modern landscape prints.
Left: ‘Sea Lavender’, ‘Dusk Is Here’ and ‘At Dusk Light’ are shown here displayed in coloured frames that complement the rich, earthy colours and brighter accents captured within the Northern Ireland prints themselves. Right: The beautiful palette of the ‘Sea Lavender’ fine art, Giclée print in full glory.
Tell us a little about when and why you set up your own studio?
‘I set up my studio four years ago, with the intention of painting professionally. Having trained as an artist and attended art college when I was younger, this is something I always dreamt of. Prior to this, I got ‘sidetracked’ with a career in interiors PR, juggling painting at the weekends. The tipping point came a few years ago, following a transformative ‘career coaching’ weekend. It became apparent my true ambitions lie in working to become a full time artist. Over the last two years, I’ve been shortlisted for a number of prestigious art awards. This helped build my confidence as an artist and attracted an audience of people who like my work. I started off painting landscapes but I also paint abstracts. In addition, I draw and do printmaking. In general, I devote one day a week to creating ‘other things’ and for the rest of the week I stick to my main subject matter. This keep me fresh and inspired.’
Left: Some of Emma’s tools of the trade. Right: Emma taking a moment to reflect, in her London studio.
What does ‘destination-inspired design’ mean to you?
‘Enriching my own home through an eclectic mix of objects and decorative accessories is my favourite way to remember places I have travelled to. This creates a visual reminder and triggers important memories of places I felt creatively inspired. This also helps me express myself in a highly personal way. As an artist I love layering up these finds. They provide a quick form of escape when I need to let my mind wander.’
Left: The calming palette and muted neutral hues of ‘Dunes At Murlough Bay’ shown in detail. Right: The same artwork, elegantly framed and styled within a modern home office setting.
What projects or commissions are you working on at the moment?
‘Currently, I am working on a series of layered artworks which aim to capture the ‘essence’ of nature and the world around us. The colours I am using are soft and muted. Hopefully they will transport the viewer to a place of relaxed calm. I use plein-air sketches and paintings to capture ‘moments’ I experience outdoors. I take these back to the studio and work them up into larger scale paintings. I’ve recently developed a special paint layering process. It’s quite technical but essentially uses many layers of pigment in a series of washes. These have real depth and a painterly quality to help me capture the emotion of the ‘moment’ in nature I wish to depict.’
Left: A close-up shot of Delamont II, illustrating the depth and detail of the original mixed media artwork as reproduced in the print version, each of which is carefully colour-matched by the artist herself. Right: Emma working ‘en plein air’.
Which is your favourite part of the creative process and why?
I love being ‘in the flow’. This translates as using my subconscious which is, I believe, the true point of creativity. It’s harder to achieve than you might imagine! I have various processes I go through to help me loosen up, prior to picking up my paint brushes. I often start out with a fixed idea of what I want to achieve. However, the longer I am in this relaxed state, the more the painting tends to paint itself, rather than me painting it – if that makes sense! I also do a great deal of sketchbook work: scribbling down ideas, formats etc. This is the best way to assemble random thoughts and ideas I then revisit for future projects.’
Left: One of Emma’s paint brushes on a workbench in her studio – an elegantly-hued and suitably abstract backdrop! Right: ‘Moody Skies’ displayed in a simple, slim, black frame.
How do you decide which medium to use for a particular composition?
‘That’s a really good question. It comes down to knowledge of the different paints and how far I can push them etc. I tend to do plein-air sketches in watercolours for speed. Then, when I am back at the studio, I tend to use water based paints such as acrylic and ink. I usually start with a few layers of texture and gesso and then build up the colour layers over the top. There is a lot to consider in the initial phases of creating a new work, such as composition, textures etc. This happens long before I can get going on the painted layers.’
Left: Emma documented the realisation of her original artwork ‘Dunes At Murlough Bay’. Here, she is assembling the various layers of papers and materials that went into this mixed media collage. Left: A roller used by Emma in the creation of some of her original artworks alongside a bottle of artist’s ink.
What is your dream commission?
‘I love the design ‘handwriting’ of renowned, interior designers Suzy Hoodless and Beata Heuman. To do anything for either of them would be amazing! I am also a huge fan of the South African sculptor Dylan Lewis, and to create a painting for him would also be a dream come true…’
What style of interior do you love most and what kind of rooms do you envisage your Northern Ireland prints in?
‘Rooms that are playful always appeal. Spaces with thoughtful details. Art is often bought as an afterthought. Pick a painting you love and build other elements around it – that’s a much better route to go! I love any interior scheme that feels intuitive and natural. Often there is a quiet but pleasing tension in the room’s design. There are often accent colours within my artworks. Consequently, my paintings work well surrounded by soft furnishings and other textiles. These accents are brought out by textiles and, similarly, by decorative accessories. These echo the bright pops of colour across the space.’
The deep, dramatic & moody hues of ‘Dusk Is Here’ Irish landscape print framed in two very different ways. The slim, outlining frame in a toning French navy frame (left), adds definition and effectively draws your eye into the picture. The simple white frame (right), effectively disappears and creates the impression of the artwork ‘floating’ against it’s white background.
Any styling tips or ideas for how to frame and then hang either one or more of your modern Northern Ireland prints?
‘It’s hard, when you’re an artist, to decide what to hang on your own walls. I try and rotate my artworks every eight months, so that it always feels fresh. Slip frames for canvases with a nice shadow gap are a favourite. Generally, I choose the frame based on the painting, rather than to match any interior scheme.’
Left: Northern Ireland prints depicting ancient, rural landscapes from across the region. Head here for more information about each specific subject. Right: ‘Moody Skies’ depicts descending storm clouds across the distinctively Irish landscape of the Mourne Mountain range, located midway between Belfast and Dublin.
What is your take on ‘gallery walls’?
‘I do have, what I call, a ‘salon hung’ wall which is great for displaying lots of quirky, eclectic things I like. Often, artists are collectors too. I’ve some amazing artwork from around the world that I’ve collected on my travels. For instance, where I’ve developed a rapport with the artist. Just before Covid hit, I had an amazing trip to South Africa, and sought out a printmaker called Boyi Molefe. His work is incredible. I ended up buying four pieces, now framed and hanging in my hallway. Similarly, I just bought a mini artwork from a Hertfordshire-based printer/painter called Sally Tyrie, who’s work I discovered via the amazing Instagram initiative #artistsupportpledge.’
Left: Each individual, fine art Giclée print is colour-matched and signed by the artist herself. Right: Hung in a neat row above a desk space and framed in toning shades of greens to complement each individual print, this eye-catching trio feels fresh and different.
Which other artist’s work do you admire?
‘Since being more professional as a painter, I now have much greater respect for painters and artists in general. Firstly, of the ‘big names’ that inspire me, I love the work of Cai Guo-Qiang. He is a Chinese painter, best known for his amazing gunpowder paintings. Secondly, I love the colour confidence of some of Paul Klee’s floral paintings. In addition, the large scale, abstract works of German artist Christian Hetzel. Of the British painters whose work I admire, I include among them Chris Bushe and emerging artist Claire Wiltsher.’
Do you exhibit at art fairs so potential customers can see your original artworks alongside the Northern Ireland prints, in person?
‘Yes I do, however I am understandably exploring a number of ‘virtual’ opportunities at the moment. Having said that, you can never quite replace the experience of seeing a piece of art in person. I am in the process of confirming other opportunities, both virtual and in person, for 2021.’
Left: ‘Moody Skies’ up close. Fleeting light conditions and gathering storm clouds. Right: The muted hues of the ‘Delamont II’, framed and ready for hanging.
If Emma Tweedie’s abstract, modern landscape paintings strike a chord, hop across to the Emma Tweedie Art website below or click here for the Telescope Style Northern Ireland prints edit. Share our interview on the social channels below with friends interested in Irish art or currently assembling an eclectic ‘gallery wall’. Moreover, we’d love any feedback, so do add your thoughts in the comments box at the end of this feature. If you’d like to hear more stories behind the brands, head to the TS Meets blog series here. Alternatively, follow us on Instagram or Facebook or sign up to our newsletter for travel-inspired style & design tips plus newly online products. When you do so, you’ll also receive our free, generic, 20 page ‘Room Renovation Guide.’ Thanks for reading!
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