Interview: Artist Teri Anne Scoble

by Cass Art

Artist Teri Anne Scoble’s work is currently on display in the BP Portrait Award at the National Portrait Gallery until 15 September 2013.

As part of our Meet the Artists programme Teri Anne Scoble will be joining us at the Kingston and Charing Cross stores this August to talk about her art, painting processes, portraits and answer your questions. Be sure to drop by for a chat. Visit the Kingston store at 103 Clarence Street KT1 on Saturday the 3 August from 10.30am-11.30am or the Charing Cross store at 13 Charing Cross Rd WC2H on Sunday 25 August from 11.30am-1pm where she will be joined by artist Agnes Toth, also exhibiting at the BP Portrait Award. You can find the full details and schedule for the Meet the Artists programme here.

We caught up with Teri Anne Scoble to talk inspiration, portraiture and essential materials for an exclusive Cass Art interview. Was there a defining moment when you decided you wanted to be an artist? A defining moment was when I admitted to hospital in 2007. I realised, life is precious and short and wanted nothing more than to seriously paint. I have given up a successful business in order to do so.

Who or what has influenced your work most? There have been many influences over the years. From Botticelli when I was a teenager to most recently Da Vinci. I was mesmerised by Le Belle Ferronniere at the National Gallery. I suppose also the BP Award has influenced me to produce the double portrait that has been accepted this year.

How has your practice evolved since then and what are you working on at the moment? Since being in hospital in 2007 my practice has evolved simply through the amount of time I now dedicate to painting. With the increase in time dedicated I am able to improve my technique and also branch out into breaching my boundaries and becoming looser and more experimental in my work. I am presently working on three paintings: two portraits and a landscape. I am also working on a sculpture.

Where do you look for inspiration? All around. Was it Delacroix who said before he died that he had 40 more years of work in his head? Well, I also feel that I do not have enough years for all the ideas and paintings that I want to do.

Where did you grow up and where did you study? Did these places have an influence on your work? I grew up in London in an artistic creative household. I studied at Corona Stage School and have worked most of my life in the entertainment industry, painting portraits backstage in between shows. As a professional choreographer and dancer my skills and training have a huge effect on my work. As a dancer I’m able to physically feel emotions and understand the subtlety of movement, what’s going on underneath the skin. As a choreographer I’m used to unveiling emotions and feelings and transferring these into art, a statement.

What draws you to portraiture and do you make any other work? I love figurative work, painting people and faces, capturing a moment with emotion and expression. I also like to paint landscapes. Sometimes I feel I am just starting out and I want to try everything, seek new things, ideas, products and experiment.

How would you describe your work? My work is mostly in oil paint built up with glazes and fine detail. Some have a surrealistic edge.

Could you tell us about your working method and process? I draw and sketch in watercolour. For oil painting I have recently started to prepare my canvases with gesso and sand them down. My under-painting is usually in raw umber. I then paint thin layers of oil paint waiting for each layer to dry; therefore I have several paintings on the go at any given time.

What materials do you use? Oil paint on fine linen canvases. Watercolour on fine hot pressed paper.

Do the materials you use inform the work or vice versa? Vice Versa. Sometimes I have a battle achieving the desired effect I want, if I have chosen the wrong materials.

What are the vitals tools in your studio? Easel, light, paint, brushes, canvas and opera music.

Which colours are essential in your palette and why? Terre Verte, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Raw Umber, Paynes Grey, Alizarin Crimson and White are all essential ingredients for my mixing of skin tones.

What are your favourite brushes and why? Series 7 for watercolour and fine sable or synthetic for oil are necessary for fine detailed work. I also use hog hair and palette knife for different textures.

Which products are essential to your practise and why?  Winsor and Newton Sansodor Solvent because it is essential for thinning paint and cleaning brushes in between colour changes. I would recommend it because it is low odour and I recommend any product that is good for the environment. Winsor and Newton Artists’ Oil Colour in Terre Verte which I use for under painting of flesh tones. I have used it since discovering Michelangelo used a similar shade under flesh colour. I would recommend this colour for any artist working with skin tones. Michael Harding Oil Colours which are effortless paints and sometimes I feel they do the work for me.

Find more of Teri Anne Scoble's work at    
Image: Mrs. Damon and Mrs. Healey by Teri Anne Scoble, 2013 © Teri Anne Scoble

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