Meet emerging artist Isabelle Carr

Isabelle Carr’s calming paintings take inspiration from the organic silhouettes of rare antiquities and ancient artefacts. She talks to us about creating harmonious balance between colour and shape, and her newly launched collection of fine art prints.

Photo by Sophie Merrell

Q. Hi Isabelle, it’s lovely to meet you. Could you tell us about your journey to becoming an artist?

A. Thank you, so lovely to meet you too! I studied Fine Art at Falmouth University where I first began painting, and have continued to develop my practice since graduating in 2018. I have always been inspired by a range of work from sculpture to photography, but painting continues to be my outlet. 

‘I enjoy using deep, earthy tones that generate a feeling of warmth and familiarity.’

Q. Your work features softly muted yet opulent tones, how did you arrive at this accomplished palette? 

A. Colour plays such a key role within my work and using the right colour is essential. I enjoy using deep, earthy tones that generate a feeling of warmth and familiarity. Balance also plays a very important part in the work, and I find this balance using complementary colours to create bright, bold works even when using subtle shades. 

Photo by Elle Kydd

Q. Is there a particular medium and process to your work?

A. I work mostly in oil paint and coloured pencil on canvas. I like to begin the canvas with playful, naive drawings of the subject in order to understand how to balance the composition, then I allow the process of painting to take over. The narrative of the painting comes into its own in this way.

I paint as if I’m colouring in, sometimes applying thick layers of paint and using the brushstrokes to create movement on the surface, other times putting a lot of pressure on the brush, scratching back the paint, allowing the translucent paint to reveal the areas of coloured pencil beneath. I’ll often work back into the paintings with coloured pencil and oil paint, building layer upon layer until the work feels complete.

Isabelle’s playful, exploratory line work

Q. Where do you find inspiration? How does this translate into your work?

A. I am inspired by organic shapes found within an environment. While exaggerating these shapes, I question themes of tension, stability, isolation and connection to create compositions that examine how these forms interact with one another and their surroundings. 

‘Days in the studio are usually very relaxed and playful.’

Painting ‘The Dove’

Q. What does a usual day in the studio look like for you?

A. I like to get to work as early as possible in the morning. I do a lot of standing and looking before I finally get to painting. Although I welcome mistakes within my work, I try to be patient and take my time - once there’s too much paint on the canvas there’s no going back. I listen to loud music, I make sketches, I mix colours until they’re perfect. Days in the studio are usually very relaxed and playful. 

The spearhead collection that inspired ‘The Dove’

Q. You have released a series of prints with King & McGaw. Can you tell us more about these artworks? 

A. The inspiration for these particular paintings was found in the organic silhouettes of antiquities and artefacts, from vintage oil lamps to ancient spearheads. I wanted to create a simple body of work that focused on harmonious colours and shapes. I am so excited for these to be released with King & McGaw, and hope they’ll bring a calming presence wherever they live.

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