An interview with renowned British Contemporary artist Yvonne Coomber to find out a little more about what inspires her striking art work.
Hi Yvonne, thank you so much for speaking with me today. First off, please could you tell me a little bit about yourself, how you started out and what inspired you to become an artist?
I have been painting for as long as I can remember. I was brought up on a farm and spent much of my early years in Ireland, my mother’s homeland. I travelled widely in my twenties with a thirst for exploration and discovery. I was both inspired and enchanted by the world and all it contained. I have lived and worked in Australia, Africa and Europe and during these periods absorbed these adventures. Subsequently they have been translated into my colourful canvasses. When my daughter was born I also spent time with a horse-drawn community in England, discovering ancient and sacred forgotten parts of our land. This chapter of my life has affected me deeply and it was a privilege to have had this magical time full of music and a profound peacefulness. My spirit of curiosity and deep enquiry also led me to pursue a degree in Philosophy and Literature at Brighton University, and much later a formal fine art training in Sussex which was the springboard for my contemporary paintings. I now live in Devon with my gorgeous husband Mike and have four children.
Other than the natural world around you, what else do you think influences your paintings?
Everything and anything inspires my work; puddles, clouds, crumbling walls and beautiful interiors. Added to which I live and work in an artistically rich community in Devon. I share my studio with a ceramicist and two other painters. My husband Mike Boyer is also an artist, and my daughter Poppy Coomber has just graduated with a painting degree from University of the Arts, London. I also have many friends who are photographers, musicians and performers. I think that having a wealth of artistic input all around me in both my working life and home life helps to feed the font of creativity. I walk and travel a lot and my camera records my inspiration. It might be the fiery blaze of an early morning sunrise, a wild river, the tender fragility of a new leaf, or the stoic strength of an ancient oak …I take my inspiration from everything around me before interpreting it onto canvas and returning it to the world as a gift of movement, colour and hope.
Why do you think people connect so deeply with your work?
I often have other artists email me to say that they have been inspired by what I do. I got an email just the other day from a young woman who had been so influenced by my work that she has decided to take a change in direction and go back to school to study art. I feel humbled when I hear things like this as to be able to spark someone else’s creativity and steer them towards creating more art to give back to the world is truly amazing. I love that my paintings sing to the soul, and to be able to stir people and evoke such emotion is a huge motivation for me.
What hangs on your walls at home?
A good question! Our home is an ever-changing eclectic gallery of artwork from friends and family, as well as my paintings, photography and sketches from our regular travels.
What do you do when you’re not painting?
I have a passion for books and the new worlds that unfold within them. I also love to walk in wild places with my husband Mike. Cooking good food is a joy. My yoga practice is also an important aspect of my life. As mentioned earlier I have a deep love of travel and am alwas excited to immerse myself in other cultures, arts and experiences. This year I have already been to Morocco, Portugal, Spain and France. All these experiences are eventually woven into my canvas. With such elemental natural beauty throughout the world I find that ‘switching off’ isn’t really something I ever do because my painting and the work that I do is ingrained so deeply within me. Colour is very much a language to me and I cannot make myself mute when there are so many songs to be sung!
Thank you Yvonne, it has been lovely speaking with you today.