In the next of our Meet The Maker Series we meet Charlotte Rowlands, Bristol born painter and artist.
Hi CHARLOTTE! Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you do.
My name is Charlotte Rowlands and I am a painter, born and bred in Bristol. I mainly paint landscapes, particularly scenes with water, and Bristol’s beautiful harbour provides a plethora of attractive views.
You have some fantastic creations, what inspires you?
I am inspired by French artists such as Degas, Renoir and Boudin, the English landscape artist Edward Seago and the Venetian painter Guardi. In my view, paintings of British beaches, the likes of Devon and Cornwall, and further afield such as Spain and Italy, evoke feelings of pleasure as many people are reminded of happy family holidays.
What do you feel makes your work unique?
I have often been concerned that my work does not conform to what is ‘popular’ in the modern art world and is perhaps seen as being too ‘traditional’. But over the years, I have become confident in my own painting style and I have decided that this is in fact what makes my work unique.
Is being based in Bristol important to your work?
I appreciate being able to live and work in such an artistic and creative city, which has helped to inspire me in my chosen field. As mentioned earlier, I love to paint scenes with water, and Bristol has the most beautiful harbour. As well as Bristol itself, the beaches of Devon and Cornwall aren’t too far away.
If you were to give one of your products as a gift, what would it be and why?
It would definitely be a painting which depicts a scene which is special to that person so it has a lasting meaning. A painting is something you keep for life and so should reflect an aspect of that life.
What is the best thing about being a local business?
I think it enables me to provide a more personal service in the art I produce. I am particularly fortunate living and working in Bristol as I am able to source quality local companies for such aspects as picture framers which makes it easier for carrying out my business. Also as mentioned previously Bristol is such a vibrant creative city it is great to be able to work in such an environment.
What products from other makers on The Bristol Shop do you like?
I absolutely love the Elsie Belle Jewellery. I have seen her jewellery at numerous vintage events and I have been desperate to buy one of her cute necklaces for ages. I can never decide on one though. If I could, I would buy them all.
What has been your greatest success as an independent business?
I have one particular memory that will always remain with me. My father is a successful Military Artist which luckily meant that there were one or two doors open to me when I was starting out. An opportunity arose to display work, alongside other artists including my father, at a Royal Marines auction in London. Although I knew military art wasn’t what I particularly loved to paint, I made it work to my best skills. I used my father’s photographs from his trips to Afghanistan and focused on the subject of Afghan civilians and the landscape. On the evening of the auction, I was extremely nervous and did not tell anyone I was one of the artists, although I did feel proud to have my work exhibited next to my father’s. Whilst I was wandering, admiring other paintings, the organiser tapped me on the shoulder to inform me I’d made my first sale and the buyer wanted to meet me. I couldn’t believe it. The smile on my face said it all; my first painting sale. The next thing I knew, a total of three paintings had been bought. Not that I am, or have ever been, in competition with my father…..however, it was the icing on the cake to know my father had sold only one. That was the night I thought ‘maybe I’m better at painting than I think!’
What aspect of your work do you particularly love?
I really do love being my own boss. I am sure it is the same for anyone who is self-employed. It is great to be able to make a living from what I would do as a hobby if I was working in another field. I feel very fortunate indeed and I appreciate that there are risks but my hope is that I will be to continue down this path for many years to come.