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Behind the Brushstrokes: A Conversation with abstract painter Liese Webley

Updated: Jul 2

Liese Webley is an established abstract artist with a career spanning over two decades. Inspired by the natural world, particularly the coast and moors of Devon and Cornwall where she resides, she creates vibrant abstract paintings using oils.


Her work is known for its rich layers, recurring motifs, and the stories each piece whispers through its textured surfaces. Liese is a dedicated artist, meticulously crafting each piece until she feels it's ready to be experienced by the world which can at times amount to years of work on a single painting.


I am lucky enough to be showcasing part of a new body of work inspired by Liese's recent travels to Antibes and St Ives. The paintings are very recognisable as Liese Webley but with a move to a more literal interpretation of her experiences.


Enjoy finding out more about this very talented artist and absolutely lovely person by reading on...

What sparks your initial ideas for a piece? Is it a feeling, an image or something else entirely?

Normally a view that grabs my attention or colour or it could be just a shape that I feel the need to explore and express.

 

Do you have a specific routine or ritual to get into a creative head space?

A large cup of tea and some good tunes on in the studio then getting started with something normally gets the creative juices flowing!

 

Do you have a plan for a piece before you start, or do you allow it to develop organically?

I normally have a visual starting point be it a sketch or photo I have taken then it develops into its own thing.

 

Do you have any lucky tools or materials you can't work without?

I have my best pallet knife that has been with me since I started art school 28 years ago!




 

What's the most challenging part of your artistic process?

Self-doubt but then again that’s part of who I am and that nagging voice is what drives me forward to keep painting and keep moving forward however tough it can feel at times! I'd like to say being an artist is a gentle journey but for me it’s a bit hilly but definitely who I am and what I need to do.

 

Is there a hidden meaning or symbolism in your work that viewers might miss?

There are often fishing floats within my work that originate from a shape/form from over twenty years ago when I lived in Cyprus painting and working at the Cyprus College of Art and I got obsessed with these floats as I kept finding on the beach.

 

If you could have your art evoke one specific emotion in a viewer, what would it be?

Lost in another world, taken somewhere else.



Who are your artistic heroes, and how have they influenced your work? Louise Bourgeois and her determination and stubbornness to keep creating and the fact it was her way of surviving life - I am fascinated by this. Francis Bacon because of his application of paint and intensity of his work. Also, Matisse - his use of colour and pattern just brings me joy and so inspiring.

 

Does your art ever surprise you with where it ends up taking you?

Constantly as I never know where it is going to lead me next, from a recent trip away my painting has changed again and I go with this; it’s what brings me back to my studio, the element of surprise!

 

If you weren’t an artist, what would you be doing?

I can’t imagine ever not being an artist as I have always as far back as I remember felt the need to create, my way of making sense of the world around me. My teaching which I do is all part of this and I love to share creative processes with others.

 

What are your ‘must have’ snacks and drinks when in the studio?

A huge mug (bucket) of tea and my new best snack is cheese and Marmite oat cakes! Yummy!

 

What's the best piece of artistic advice you've ever received?

Keep going, show up and create.

 

You are hosting a dinner party and have invited 3 other artists (living or dead), who would be on the guest list?

Louise Bourgeois even though I think I might be intimated by her!


Turner because I would like to chat about his seascapes and their emotional impact and did he really get tied to a mast in a storm!?


Frida Kahlo because I did my dissertation on her diary many moons ago and she is so fascinating.


I loved reading all your responses Liese! Thank you so much for taking the time to join in.


You can shop Liese's beautiful new collection here.

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