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Studio Secrets

Sigrid Holmwood


Describe the things and images that you have around you in your studio and how they influence or inform your work.

I have old farming tools from my grandparents' farm in Sweden, reproduction 16th century studio pottery, wood bowls, brushes and other painting paraphernalia, and a range of historical and contemporary pigments. By being surrounded by these objects, which I also use, I am transported into the right world to make my paintings - a strange alternative reality, which is at once 16th century, peasant-farming and fluorescent contemporary.

Describe your working methods and processes.

I draw a lot, outside and at re-enactor events, using historical papers and drawing materials. I then use these drawings to make paintings, not allowing any photographs or other such images into my studio - only drawings and old art books with badly reproduced images of old master paintings. I'll use small pieces of board or card to work out interesting colour combinations and effects, which I then combine with the drawings to make the final paintings. There is always a tension between the colour and the drawing.

Which single item in your studio is most important to your work?

A difficult question, but since it would be cheating to say my pigments, maybe I should say my muller because it is the tool I use to make my paints. I have to add that I'm also very attached to my hand-made quill brush; it's perfect for egg-tempera.

Which artist/s most influence your work and which recent show has been inspirational?

Artists like Breughel, Van Gogh and other peasant-painters are the most influential for my work. The most inspirational show I have seen recently was the Ray Mears' 'Wild Food' TV series.

Is your studio a refuge or a place of torture?

Whilst there are obviously moments of torture in any studio, my studio really is a refuge. I have tried to turn it into a space where all the contents contribute towards the meaning of the work, from the pigments I paint with, to the bowls and brushes I use, to the milk stools that I sit on.