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Rosalind Bouverie – A Life Long Artist Returns to School to Get A Degree

Rosalind with her granddaughter


When do you know you were an artist?  Was it when you were a young child, or did you discover your talent later in life?

 As far back as I can remember being a small child, I was always drawn towards colour, shapes, patterns and a great urge to always play around with crayons and anything around the house to make a decorative  mess with. My earliest memory of starting school, on the first day, was a large tub of brightly coloured crayons, with which I apparently decorated the walls and floors of the classroom! So I guess the artist in me has always been there.


How did you get started with art?  Was there a teacher, or someone recognized your skill at home?

 Art was my favorite lesson at school. It was all I looked forward to, right through from kindergarten (I spent my early childhood in Germany) right through to Secondary school. I went to many schools as my parents were stationed all over the place in R.A.F. Camps. Mostly, all the teachers I had recognized my creative ‘need’ and love of colour.  My of parents picked up on it, and encouraged me to draw and paint.


Recognizing that your medium is painting, do you do art in other forms?

Painting is my biggest love of expression in my creative profession.  Although I have dabbled with many materials and process’s, including: printing (many different kinds)  Lino cuts, sculpture, (clay and glass), collage, batik, (dying fabric and stitching beads and feathers), photography-which is often crucial to assist picture making, or for reference, generally, I have had many failures, and few success’s from all these experiments. Most art courses have a set plan of different techniques to ‘taste’ in case you may find that you flourish in a specific type of creativity-but I always knew that I would be a painter. Collage is the only other process that I sometimes return to.


What kind of training do you have?

Training is probably not the right word here. I would call it Guidance (as a school kid) and later on, perhaps, academic teaching ‘methods’. I took art classes after school, more like a club, where we were left to our own devices and had a lot of fun. Because I missed out on going onto art college after leaving school (my father was totally against the idea, it was the 60’s-too many hippy’s and political stuff going on) I pretty much taught myself and arrived at oil painting using a palette knife after watching Nancy kominsky’s tv program -I had immense fun, and churned out loads of paintings. Much later on in life, after marrying and having a family-I returned to studying A level art, at the age of 34. I did not do very well with my grade, so took it again 2 years later. I regarded my art practice as just a hobby after that, fitting it around bringing up a family and working. I participated in many adult education classes-just to go somewhere to paint-for several years. Then, 5 years ago, I heard about Ashford School of art and design, and decided to start at the bottom, and work my way up. I began with the ABC in fine art course, which led up to HND fine art, and then finally, BA(Hons). So, I have 2 A levels, and 2 certificates, and a degree.

What do you feel your accomplishments have been in all of these years?

Rosalind Wins A Competition

My ‘accomplishments’ I would say are many commissions for friends and family, several exhibitions in Ashford, competitions for various art magazines, to have gained a few certificates, to exhibit in major art shows for Ashford school of art and design (4 in all), to achieve a BA (Hons) Degree, and to have a painting chosen to be displayed in a gallery (for sale) in Ashford. But I also feel that I have accomplished an insight into the professional side of being a working artist, overcome obstacles, through experimentation, trials and errors, failures and success’s, learned how to be self critical, and gained a lot of knowledge on contemporary art theory, history of art (the lectures were so engaging) and an opportunity to realize my vision.


What is in it for you?  What about art is so important to you?

As you are aware, and I am aware, my inspiration for the core of my artwork comes from the natural world. For me, being creative is an ongoing artistic ‘journey’ that I never want to end. The ‘importance’ lies in the desire to convey my personal response to the beauty within landscape and nature. It is like an ongoing journey of a learning process and discovery. Expressing myself in this painterley way, is a release of emotions-a place where I can feel ‘free’, and it keeps me ‘focused’. It is very close to my heart, so art is very important to me for those reasons. I would go so far to say that it is inspired by love.


Why did you decide to go back to school as an older adult to get a degree?  What drove you to do that?

Going back to college to study was a hard decision. I almost never did! My son encouraged me to do it, as my work had come to an end, I was signed off sick with my bad back, I was bored at home in the daytime (housework was getting me down), and I always felt that I had it in me to take my art just that little bit further. Plus the colleges were crying out for mature students to fill the spaces, and the fact that you could get a loan to assist you, was tempting. I felt that I needed to take up art more seriously, I had a thirst for more knowledge, I knew I was stuck in a rut painting at home, and thought it would be great to have a studio space to spread my wings in. Plus, it was a challenge! I also wanted to learn more about the art profession.


Where there other adults in the classes that you attended, or was it mostly young people?

I was totally surprised to find that the group I was in had an age range from 18 to 69, so I felt like I was ‘in the middle’ at 52/3! There must have been at least half of us over 45 years. I think we all had the same idea.


What was your college experience like for you?

My experience was one of mixed emotions, daunting at first, exciting, nerve-wracking, because of the deadlines for handing in work, shock factor with the colossal amount of paper work involved electronically-I may add-which meant that I had to learn how to use a computer-fast, and also buy one! Overall, I loved the creative side in the studio, loosing myself in my work, in my own studio space. There were ups and downs, events for fundraising that were so time consuming and ridiculous, lots of lectures (which you had to attend). I hated anything that took away the painting time. lectures were  very interesting, but too long. I often used to fall asleep during these! The pressure was very demanding and caused lots of late nights-stress, family squabbles, etc.  (That part I am glad is behind me.)  Looking back I am glad I have it behind me, and would not take anything up quite so grueling. But, the opportunity to push yourself artistically, and achieve great things-cannot be ignored. I was just  ill prepared for it!


I am a big believer that people are what they do.  What would it mean to you if you could not paint?

I just can’t imagine what it would be like not to paint! As I have always done so. I guess if I didn’t paint, then I would be doing something else. There always has to be’ something’ other than the mundane for everyone. Having had a taste of not being creative for a while due to my injury recently, it is like something has been stolen from me. I am not happy if I can’t do the thing I love!

What are your plans for your artwork now?

I do not have any great plans right now for my artwork, because of my circumstances-but I am hoping to ease myself back into painting. I intend to do a series of nature based pond paintings on small canvases, and then approach the new galleries in our Town. I also have a few commissions to finish. I am taking each day as it comes, and working on getting better and stronger. I hope to create a space in the house where I can set up an easel and working area-so I have a permanent place to paint. At the moment, I am working on sketches for future work, and have gone back to portraiture-so I am in the sketchpad. It really is an ongoing ‘journey.’


Rosalind lives in England with her husband and two sons.  She has four children and several grandchildren.


Особая благодарность njuta для создания этого красивого видео!

Special thanks to Njuta for creating this beautiful video!