Monday, 8 December 2008

Introducing Tina Mammoser


I first learned to paint here in London so my water paintings used to be of the dark, gloomy Thames river running through the city or rivers and coast in Scotland (where I first lived here in the UK). In fact I remember my very first attempt at painting the river - it was awful! Until then I had mainly painted figures and still lives, but soon became obsessed with the structures of bridges and piers along my shoreline. It was a seascape teacher at a local conservatoire who showed me how to paint light and shadow and colour of water, not lines and not what you think you see. But still, the objects and buildings were my focus.
(Hay's Gap, London Oil on board, 2001)

A few years later I spent time painting in Pouch Cove, Newfoundland (hi Jeanette!) which changed my work, in technique and vision, completely. I was snowbound on the seafront surrounded by the reflection of blue and lavender. How different was that from dark grey London? Light was like a revelation.

Now light is what my work is about. The first project really exploring the idea in depth was my Lake Michigan series, since I was born and raised in Chicago. (hi Lindsay! my parents live in Algonquin so I still visit often) The paintings first grew from studies I'd done plein air on the lakefront. But then the series became based on memories of seasons and times spent at Foster and Oak Street Beach, Belmont Harbour, and runs home from the Loop to Lakeview. This memory based work focused on mainly on light and colour more than any of my paintings previously.
(Lake Michigan study of Navy Pier, acrylic on paper, 2007)

Of course Lake Michigan is far away... and my nearer water provided a wealth of inspiration! I went to the Kent coast cycling for Christmas one year (to Deal) and realised how much subject matter was on my doorstep! Almost all of the Kent coast is within a couple hours on the train. But me being me once I have an obsession that's it, so I had to cycle and paint the whole UK coast. In time. So far I've done Kent, Sussex, the Isle of Wight, and parts of Hampshire, Yorkshire and Essex.
(Photo of studio and cycle assistant the Lt Col., at Scarborough beach on Yorkshire ride)

Rather than paint a representation water I try to capture the way light and weather affects and reflects the water surface and sky. Part of that is because of the scientist in me; I'm fascinating by optics and colour theory and the way light works and reacts to mediums and surfaces. How movement and depth of water changes the reflections or colours seen through the surface. Unlike some of the other artists in Watermarks I'm not aiming for a sense of place, but more a sense of space.

(Slideshow: The English Coast series)


Katherine Tyrrell said...

Now you see I knew all that - but saying it like this makes it all "come together" in a really helpful way.

You've been on such a journey already (both literally and metaphorically) that I'm sure your approach and insights will bring a creative spark to the group. :)

Plus just look at all those connections to places where people live!

Laura F. said...

I LOVE your story and I so understand your kind of fascination with water.
My place connections to you are that I have lived in London, Edinburgh, and had a house on Lake Michigan for years. Lake Michigan is an odd subject---sealike, yet not a sea. I'm very eager to see more of your work.

Anonymous said...

Your work is beautiful Tina and I loved hearing where it originates and how you arrive at creating your art! I am looking forward to seeing so much more of your unique way with water!

Jeanette said...

Tina, I do understand your fascination for water and the light play around it.

Your paintings are mesmerizing and my eyes flit over them from one area of light or a piece of more solid ground and back again.

Your journeys both artistically and physically to achieve your art, are phenomenal and I'm happy that Newfoundland, especially the part of it that I'm familiar with, helped shape some of your current direction.

Tina Mammoser said...

I probably journey a bit too much, I'm restless. Even now I keep going - I have to go see the bits of coast myself to paint them.

Jeanette - I wanted to come back to Newfoundland, but apparently the residency programme is by nomination only now. Ah well!

annie said...

Yes, as Katherine says, you've been on such a journey. And I do think that if you SHOULD still feel restless, there may be more paths you need to explore. I think those inner leadings are important though we can't always pin them down. I'm so glad to have a back seat here to watch you.

Lindsay said...

Lucky me! I have your beautiful coast book to inspire me in my own use of color for the lake. I meant to tell you that your use of canvas inspired me too. I'm shreadding mine up to add textured threads to the river banks in my latest painting.
Lovely to see your story all in one piece here.

I also resonate with you needing to be out along the coast using your bike. It's a totally different feel when you are using your own steam...Paddlelng or peddling :>)

Gesa said...

Tina, such a rich post. I've always been fascinated by your landscapes since I first saw them on WetCanvas and I am very envious about your coastal journeys by bike. Many thanks for this post and I am very much looking forward to how this group is going to develop

vivien said...

a fascinating post and the space and light really resonate with what interest me

and a beautiful selection of paintings in that slide show

looking forward to reading and seeing more

and ......... you HAVE to get to Cornwall for special special light

muddy red shoes said...

Encroaching dark margate...beautiful colours and mood, I love it, yes...come to cornwall with your bike.