We talk with Caroline about her artistic journey capturing fleeting moments, the freedom of experimentation and conveying a sense of place in her finished works.
Painting on aluminium, wood and canvas, Caroline Hall’s colour palette immediately conjures up memories of nature, sea, rocks, sky and above all light. There is a sense of drama and energy in her paintings; a painter of music as well as landscapes Caroline’s paintings have a rhythm and harmony that belies their energy.
What is your first ‘art’ memory?
Picking up a pencil from a very early age and ‘losing’ myself in the process of drawing.
Describe your art practice in five words
Painting the essence of landscape.
How did you become an artist / where did you start your artistic training?
I became a professional artist after 15 years as a BBC reporter and presenter. I needed a change, my children no longer needed me at home and Winchester School of Art was on my doorstep.
Seven years later with a part-time BA and a Masters in Fine Art under my belt, I decided to throw everything at my new career!
What is the main inspiration for your work?
I would have to say the natural environment, from the rolling hills of Hampshire where I live to the pink granite cliffs of my family home in Jersey.
I always carry a sketchbook for taking notes. When I am experiencing a place I don’t just see it, I hear it and feel it as well.
How has your work changed over the years?
When I graduated I was frightened of colour and drawn to order. I am no longer frightened of colour and my work has become gradually freer.
Aluminium is still one of my favourite surfaces and I have learnt to use a drill and a sander alongside the paint so that the bare metal shines through as part of the final work.
How would you like people to interpret your work? What does your work say about you?
My journey paintings are inspired by fleeting landscapes, often seen from car and train windows. As well as a literal meaning, they are also about life passing us by, about things missed and how we interpret something which is glimpsed for a second and then gone.
My recent work is more painterly and all about letting go. The colour palette still relates to landscape but the marks I make are much freer. I have also started a series of paintings inspired by music which is almost as important as landscape but harder to paint. I am now not afraid to experiment.
Explain your process, from concept to finished piece
I start with an idea or a memory. Sometimes I do a series of quick sketches, but more often than not I make some random marks with spray paint or if it is aluminium, with a sander. This keeps me from being too literal.
The process of painting is one of putting paint on and taking it off, building the work up in layers until it feels finished. I often rotate the painting so that it remains semi-abstract. The idea I started with may completely disappear but there is always some sense, be it an emotion, a colour, a movement that I keep returning to.
There is no prescribed time limit - I just know when a painting is finished, when I have managed to convey a sense of that place which it represents.
Please describe your typical working day…
I paint in the morning and that is when I head down to my studio in the centre of Winchester. There are usually brushes to clean from the day before and sometimes if I didn’t have the energy, the paint palette as well!
Then I will pick the colours I am working with and start mixing up a new selection. I never let go of a painting once I stop. It is in my thoughts continuously until it is resolved so I usually dive straight in.
Painting is such an immersive process that I cannot manage more than three hours before starting to ‘ruin’ things so I have to make myself stop and walk away from my studio. Luckily my small sausage dog Dexter is not good at staying still for too long so he is a good time limiter! Afternoons are for walks or cycles and sketching.
Tell us something about you that might surprise us...
I am a trained Cordon Bleu cook.