The multi-talented Felicity Hayward is not just a plus size model on the pages of Vogue and i-D. She's also an artist with her first solo show at Eaton House this October. While developing her technique of not looking at the paper while painting, she has embarked on a quest to complete 100 watercolour portraits. Cass Art wanted to find out about the challenge.
When did you start using watercolour?
I started using watercolour when I was around 13 in school. I love the fact you really have no idea what colours and shapes might appear on the paper. I think it is quite a romantic art form.
What materials are your favourite to use with watercolour?
I like to keep my work really simple. I use water-based pens so the colours can run, and gummed watercolour paper pads.
What is your working process like?
I love people, I love characters. I actually draw my subjects 'blind', only looking at the subject, not the paper, until I have finished. It's fantastic for hand-eye coordination. You get better and proportions get stronger with the more practise you get. Everything comes out more abstract. As well as being an artist I am an international model, and I travel a lot so it is hard to stay still in a studio. I'm always drawing and painting everywhere. Trains, planes, park benches, the sea-side, my grandparents' back garden. I get inspiration from everything around me.
If I'm honest with you I don't think I am great at drawing normally. I feel there is too much pressure to get the image 'perfect'. I actually draw better 'blind'. There's an honesty to my work that way.
I started doing these drawings when I was working at a pupil referral unit for young boys with severe behavioural problems. This was an art practice I taught children. It was to make them aware that making mistakes, especially in art, isn't a bad thing. You can learn and grow from mistakes and it can turn into something beautiful. Be brave and explore your inner creativity.
From whom do you gain inspiration?
The young, the old and everyone in between. My main inspiration was from the children from the school I previously worked at. There was an inner calmness and element of fun when these troubled children got into blind drawing.
What would you advise a budding artist interested in this practice?
If you aren't a confident artist, draw blind, and see what you come up with! Never give up or throw away old drawings - they can be re-used, re-developed or passed on to inspire someone else.
My solo show 'I'd Rather Go Blind' will be exhibited in association with Eaton House Studio opens to the press October 9th, then running through to October 19th to the public.
It's sponsored by Cass Art and in partnership with Young in Prison, a charity close to my heart. This charity raises money for children and young adults all over the world to give them a better chance at life. Using creativity and art workshops they focus on life skills and use positive role models to prove that change is possible, inspiring people with an energetic approach through the power of the arts. 10% of all of my sales from my solo show will be donated to this charity.