Here’s another installment of our newest project! This time, we’re looking at the breathtaking and gorgeous abstract painting of UK based artist, Petra Lea.
Hello again, everyone! This new blog series has been super fun so far. I love interviewing wonderful artists, designers, and photographers and getting to know them. I hope you’re enjoying them as much as we are! The next person we’re going to show you is a fantastic artist from the UK and let me tell you Petra Lea makes the coolest paintings. From collages to abstracts, her work is beautiful. So, of course we had to interview her! She spoke to us about her work, how she got involved in painting, and why she paints in the style she does. Let’s take a gander at some of her art, and learn a little bit about the life, work, and style of Petra Lea.
Petra has been painting and drawing for as long as she can remember. In fact, she was often taken out of class in primary school to create artwork for other classroom walls. That’s pretty awesome, especially for a small child! She started out drawing cartoons and animals, and like most artists, eventually expanded to copy classic artists and masters to figure out new techniques. “All this experience translated into my abstract paintings as I became older and more interested in expression rather than realism,” Petra stated. You can see in her paintings that she really takes this to heart. Her paintings don’t have a true subject; rather they represent her feelings and emotions at the time she was painting.
“I am particularly drawn to abstract expressionism because of its raw qualities,” Petra explained when asked about her particular style of painting. “I find that I am more affected by the emotional impact of a painting than by its subject matter.” When you look at her paintings, you can sense the raw emotion and feeling she puts into each and every piece. Her usage of color is also amazing, and she told me that she is drawn to color to express her emotions on the canvas. Personally, that’s why I have become partial to abstract painting. It’s never about the content of the piece or the subject matter. It’s all about the feelings and emotions of the artist. And it doesn’t get more beautiful than that.
This painting and all of the ones above it are part of Petra's 19th Century Series. Petra named all of these pieces after years within the 19th century. “These works are very pared down with tranquil backgrounds, but with an overlying spikiness,” Petra described. I can totally see what she means when she says that. I myself am drawn to this series because of the calm, serene color choices and patterns, and then that bit of edginess. This one is fun because of the bright teal color (which is one of my favorite colors ever) and the blocks of more dusky colors on top. This series showcases the style that Petra paints in, and you can really see how each painting was approached differently because different emotions come through in each of them.
This painting, called Eighteen Eighty Two, was the one that immediately caught my eye. These are my colors, my favorite ones and the ones I typically use to decorate my space. So, naturally, this painting speaks to me.
I asked Petra what goes through her head when she paints. “Generally I start my painting process with a period of a few days or sometimes weeks creating the artwork in my head, what colors I will use, what form it will take,” Petra described. “I paint from my emotions so the idea I have had will be incorporated within the work sometimes as a whisper of the original concept or it will emerge strongly on the canvas.” No matter where it ends up, all of her work is emotional and very beautiful. “Often I will start a painting with something in mind and the outcome is completely different than the original idea. Expressive painting can change from day to day depending on what kind of mood the artist is in.” Truer words have not been spoken, Petra!
Petra also designs collages, but she creates the collages mainly for her own entertainment. “The collages I produce have been more of a recent thing,” she said. “I primarily create them to amuse myself.” This one, called Anticipation, is really intriguing. I love the mix of mediums. “Although I normally use both oil and acrylic paints, I tend to paint more with acrylics because of its faster drying time,” Petra explained. “I would say that the vibrancy of oil paint makes it my preferred medium, but the immediacy of acrylic paint suits my style."
Petra has some really amazing pieces outside of her 19th Century Series and her collages. This one, called Sight Unseen, is gorgeous. I love how the more you look at it, the more detail you find. The beautiful trees, the mountains in the back, and the lake really show through the abstract colors. I really love how Petra experiments with different styles and mediums. “If I come across a style which I would like to try, I try it,” she said. “Painting is a process of constantly learning and honing techniques so experimentation should be encouraged.” I could not agree more. Any artistic field is based on constant learning and experimentation. Whether you paint, embroider, quilt, knit, or sketch, you can't get better or find your own style without continuously honing your technique.
There you have it, folks! What did you guys think of Petra’s art? Pretty great, right? Which was your favorite piece? Let me know in the comments below, and share this post with your art loving friends and family. Also, let me know if there is an artist, photographer, blogger, or designer that you like, and I’ll try to talk to them. It’ll be fun, and I can’t wait to do more of these features. Stay creative, my friends!
**All images c/o Petra Lea