We visited Nadine Faye James at her studio to talk about where she's heading with her artwork: the answer is that she's been venturing out into the wild to create a fascinating series of landscapes (we'll be showcasing these on the blog soon). Nadine has never made life easy for herself when making her art, from creating portraits using a manual typewriter to producing paintings while standing in a freezing field or getting up at the crack of dawn to make drawings with a "crepuscular" feel. Read on!
What are you working on right now?
I've been working in the landscape a lot. There are so many things I haven't been looking at. I've been focused on drawing a certain field with trees in the distance and hedges at the side. Sometimes the field is ploughed, sometimes filled with corn, other times there's just grass with a path through it. For about two years I've been drawing and painting it from different angles and recently realised I didn't even know what the trees were and what the flowers in the hedgerows were so now I'm going to the field and finding out what everything is. I am going to make some information drawings with closeups. At the moment I've been doing a lot of work in sketchbooks en plein air and also note-making. I work quite quickly. Some days all the pictures work out fine and other days they are awful.
The work you're talking about is self-initiated. Are fewer of your pieces the results of commisions these days?
I don't do much commercial work any more. I've got used to the freedom of self-initiated projects. I now tend to have selling exhibitions to make money from the work I do. But now and again when I do and illustration job I find it difficult to swap from doing what I want to do to doing what someone else wants me to do. In the end it usually works out though, although not having a computer doesn't make doing commercial work very easy. When I first started illustrating about 13 years ago you could post stuff to the client but now everyone requires work to be scanned and emailed.
Where do you take inspiration from, beyond the work of other artists and illustrators?
I go out walking in the countryside around where I live to get inspiration from what I see. Apart from 'The Field' I'm very interested in lichen, mosses, fungi, roots and holes in trees. At the moment I'm into going for a walk and taking photos and collecting or sketching things I see and then coming home and getting books out to identify what everything is. I have a thing for books about birds and buy one every week from the second-hand book stall at the market. I have great teetering piles of them in my studio. I like the drawn bird books best, rather than ones with photos. I'm interested in what the artists have drawn the bird standing on, like little islands or a twig in mid air.
Take a look at Nadine's profile and artwork for sale on illustrato.rs.