An Exciting Art Collaboration
Listeners of Tea & Tattle Podcast may remember that earlier in the spring, the artist Yvonne Coomber kindly let me pick out a print from her new collection as part of a collaboration with Miranda’s Notebook. I decided to send the print to my podcast co-host, Sophie, as a housewarming gift (I asked Sophie which print she’d like, and she chose this one, which was the one I would have selected for her myself – isn’t it lovely?).
Today, I’m so thrilled to say that Yvonne is giving away one of her new limited edition prints to a Miranda’s Notebook follower (you can enter the giveaway now through my instagram picture, or scroll to the bottom of this post for more details on how to win).
Yvonne Coomber’s Instagram Gathering
Pip Farm, the setting for Yvonne’s fabulous gathering.
Last week, I got the chance to meet Yvonne for the first time at a gathering she hosted near her hometown, Totnes. Yvonne brought together a group of floral loving instagrammers to celebrate her beautiful artwork in an idyllic stone farmhouse nestled deep in the Devonshire countryside. We chatted and laughed and photographed and feasted on cream teas and incredible spreads (whipped up by the fabulous Djamila Vogelsperger) for two days, and it was the most wonderful way to get to know a little more about Yvonne and her gorgeous art.
Pip Farm was filled with Yvonne’s prints, original paintings, cushions and lampshades, and jugs of flowers homegrown by the lovely Holly of Holly-Bee Flowers in Devon were placed on most available surfaces, so the farmhouse was filled with colour and life. It was hard to put my camera down!
An Artist Inspired by Flowers
I first came across Yvonne’s paintings when I stayed at the Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall, which showcased an impressive display of many of Yvonne’s artworks. Yvonne’s pieces are inspired by her love for nature, flowers and colour, so they certainly speak straight to my heart, and I was absolutely thrilled when I was asked to take part in Yvonne’s Instagram retreat.
Yvonne took us around her beautiful home on the outskirts of Totnes, as well as her gallery in the town’s centre, and we also got to see her incredible studio in the heart of the countryside. It was wonderful to see Yvonne’s original canvases up close, as she uses a lot of layered paint and thick strokes, and often a shimmering of glitter, that give her fields of wildflowers an incredible depth and vivacity.
An Interview With Yvonne Coomber
Yvonne Coomber in her studio
I managed to ask Yvonne a few questions about her artwork and creative process, and I was fascinated by her answers. I have a real soft spot for poppies too, so I was delighted when Yvonne mentioned them as her favourite flower!
MN: Would you tell me a little about yourself and your background? What inspired your love for art?
YC: My childhood was steeped in the psychedelia of the sixties and seventies; both fashion and culture were colourful and experimental with an inherent wildness. I think the influences of this period mixed with my rural upbringing between a farm in Berkshire and a cottage in Cork all contributed to my profound love of the untamed rainbow hues which are currently woven into each and every piece I create.
My father had a profound love of nature and my Irish mother has always tended a magnificent country garden. So as a girl my life was frequently saturated in flowers and beautiful places. In addition I have travelled widely in my life and the warmth and discovery of all of my journeys is ever present on my canvas. My five year training in Sussex provided me with an opportunity to master my painting practice.
MN: I love your beautiful florals and seaside landscapes. What do you find particularly inspiring about nature?
VC: I think the thing I find most inspiring about nature is its ability to constantly infuse beauty, whether that be on an uncultivated meadowland fizzing with rainbows of wildflowers in summertime, or a determined solitary flower pushing through gaps in concrete pavements. Also nature is deeply humbling with both its utter powerfulness and its silent peacefulness.
I also love nature as it constantly has the ability to reflect emotional landscapes. There is an unconditional quality in the natural world that allows me to simply be.
MN: We share a mutual passion for flowers, and I’m enjoying using the hashtag you started on Instagram (#wildforflowers). Do you have any favourite flowers to paint? I notice that the flowers in your work are generally always growing wild and free.
YC: I love the innocence, colour and easy harmony of wild meadowlands. The vast selection of native British flowers simply make my heart sing….from the white frothy foam of cow parsley through to the soft powder blue of harebells and the gently nodding purple spikes of foxgloves. The hedgerows and meadows of my home in the South Hams become a perfumed feast of ever-changing loveliness.
However, if asked to choose my favourite flower it would definitely be Poppies. My daughter is named after this fragile, strong crimson bloom and their easy bright beauty is almost always present in my work.
MN: You live in a beautiful part of Devon. What do you love best about your surrounding landscape?
YC: I love contrasts that exists here: the rugged coastline, the vast open moorlands and the kaleidoscopic tumbling hedgerows all deeply nourish my soul. My favourite place of all, however, is my studio which is nestled deep in Devon’s folds. Surrounded by woodland and flower speckled fields, to me it is paradise.
A cream tea in the garden just outside Yvonne’s studio – most definitely paradise!
MN: Would you describe your creative process? How do you go from a blank canvas to a finished artwork?
YC: The process before I even pick up a brush or mix oils is crucial to me. The dreaming of the painting is as important as the mark marking. My practice is a complete love affair and I bring all of me to the canvas. I pour both real and emotional landscapes onto the linen. It is a dance between intended and accidental marks with a desire to create beauty and joy. My practice feels a sacred place and the magic unfolds as I surrender to risk and the unknown. I am fascinated and enthralled by the process.
My work takes many months to create as it is a construction of many layers. The beginning is always quite ethereal and poetic and subsequently the marks become bolder and more defined. I use many different techniques and, like the nature that I paint, there is a harmony between order and chaos.
See Yvonne’s paintings and homeware products in her online shop.
MN: You have a flourishing business. What are your top tips for artists hoping to become commercially successful, as well as creatively fulfilled?
YC: I really do believe that following your heart unwaveringly has a force and power that allows magic to emerge. Believe in your dreams, because they are the gateways to success. That and a lot (!) of hard work. For anything to flourish you simply have to put the hours in with training, practice and dedication.
MN: I so appreciate the delight in colour that shines through your paintings. How do you use colour to communicate particular moods and emotions in your work?
YC: I work incredibly instinctively. I love how colours vibrate against one another and take on another unique quality because of the relationship created between them. The oils I use are my language and I communicate intuitively.
MN: Thank you so much for giving one of my readers the chance to win one of your gorgeous new prints. Would you tell me what inspired your latest collection, and do you have a particular favourite?
YC: My new collection is inspired by a deep desire to communicate happiness. I am aware that these are challenging times, and, whilst I acknowledge this, I also very consciously wanted to create work that celebrates love. I truly believe that love has the ability to transform everything both personally and globally. It is the key. This collection is drenched in love, and I have no favourite as they are all uniquely special.
Thank you so much again to Yvonne for taking the time to answer my questions! I was also so thrilled to receive my very own print, one out of 10 special editions she did for everyone who came to the retreat in my (very large!) goodie bag. Isn’t it stunning? I love the vibrant colours and joyful strokes (I spy lots of poppies too!), which will always remind me of Yvonne’s incredibly kind, generous spirit and my fantastic stay in Devon.
~ Yvonne Coomber IG GIVEAWAY ~
I’m so delighted that one of my readers will get a chance to win a new unframed print by Yvonne Coomber. I’m hosting the giveaway through my Instagram account, so all you have to do is pop over to Instagram and:
1// Like this picture.
2// Comment by tagging a friend you think would love Yvonne’s work too.
PLEASE NOTE: The giveaway is for UK residents only, and the winner will get to pick any one of the prints marked NEW on Yvonne’s website (print will be given unframed).
The giveaway will END at 10pm (UK time) on Thursday 17th May, and I’ll announce the winner on Instagram on Friday 18th May.
Good luck! I can’t wait to see who the lucky winner is and which print they’ll choose.
Check out Yvonne’s website at www.yvonnecoomber.com
Yvonne is taking part in the Dulwich Open Studios in London this weekend (12th-13th May) and next (19th-20th May), so if you’re in the area, do pop along!