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Living Art Feature: Lucy Collins

Artist, illustrator and animator Lucy Collins has a philosophy: “There is beauty to be found in the simplest things.” We couldn’t agree more. Celebrating life’s low-key wonderful moments is the secret to beautiful art. 

Lucy’s work tells a story: summer days captured in hues of pink sherbet watercolour, and spring walks painted in delicate bluebell tones. Lucy has created an original collection for Whistlefish, which you can see here. What’s the inspiration behind her dream-like work? (hint. a touch of Maurice Sendak). 

Hi Lucy, thank you for taking the time to chat to us. Tell us about your work and your signature style…

My work is a collection of paintings that each tell their own story, and can often be interpreted by the viewer. The characters that I create come to me naturally as I draw, and they are often on their travels through a meadow or field full of blooms accompanied by a faithful pet. The stories or pictures are based on companionship; a beautiful journey that symbolises life and friendship. They are about sharing happy times and creating memories with those that are important. Balmy summer days and nights that go on; springtime hues and childhood memories that inspire. 

What’s the inspiration behind your exclusive collection for Whistlefish? 

My family and friends inspire me and my love for them is put into my work. My dogs that are here now, and since passed, remind me of happy times outside. I always love the English countryside - there is beauty to be found in the simplest things. Nature will never cease to amaze me at how beautiful it is. I would say nature is a constant inspiration to me. 

Which artists have inspired you? 

Monet was wonderful for his impressionist work and paintings of the countryside. His use of colour was perfect and so delicate. I love children’s book illustrators, especially Quentin Blake. I love Quentin’s use of line and wash; his characters are phenomenal. Maurice Sendak has to be one of my favourites too; his illustrations and watercolours were breathtaking. 

What’s your creative process and go-to materials? 

My creative process often begins with an actual title. The title can be inspired by a song, a poem, or even just a line from a book. I then set the scene and plan the composition. I draw and then do a wash, then the picture develops organically. I use watercolour, pen and have even used coffee! I build the colour in layers. I spray paint and use toothbrushes for texture, and sponges. I use my fingers. I'm always experimenting which is fun - like a meadow full of flowers, each one is a different shape and size/ shade. I love building the layers of detail. Some pieces are quite impulsive whilst others can be carefully planned. I need to look outside for constant inspiration. 

When you’re not painting, how do you like to spend your days?

When I'm not painting I'm thinking about my next painting! It really is a labour of love and I'm very lucky to be a full-time artist doing what I love 24/7. I would love to illustrate a book one day - even in animation. 

I spend weekends with my children and family in my country home in Cheshire, where we enjoy or friendly neighbour Flo (the horse!) next door.