In the studio with Deb O'Loughlin

What is your favourite medium and why?

I’ve used a few different mediums over the years and resin has been by far my favourite. I love that due to the nature of resin, each piece breathes its own life and tells its own story with its unique intricacies. No two pieces are ever alike. You can use the exact same colour palette over and over again and each piece may look world’s apart. And unlike other mediums, with certain manipulation you can get such varying and interesting patterns. But at the same time resin also has a mind of its own, sometimes it will react exactly as you plan, and sometimes it won’t. That’s the beauty of it!

What themes do you explore in your work?

I’m not an artist that usually creates with a theme or vision in mind. Putting together a complimentary colour palette is the most important decision in my work. So whether it be an ocean style palette or a diverse mix of colours, ensuring it blends perfectly across the board is my priority. The one consistent feature in my work is including a metallic element. Whether it be silver, gold or copper, I find the metallics gives the piece extra depth and draws your eye across the painting.

What should people know about your art that they can't tell from looking at it?

A lot of people don’t realise that resin has a short working time. When creating a new piece, organisation is key. Everything has to be set up prior to mixing up the resin. Then its go, go, go. Depending on a few factors, I only get between 30 – 40 minutes to paint. Resin sets pretty quickly so all the patterns and depth in piece is created at speed. If something goes wrong once the resin starts to set, there is no coming back from it.

If you have to choose one artist whose work inspires you, who would it be?

I have a huge girl crush on Amica Whincop and her amazing art. Amica uses nature as her inspiration and although her work is abstract, you can see nature in every piece. But it’s the patterns that inspire me. I don’t know how she does it, but I love it!! If you haven’t seen her work, you should definitely check it out.

Tell us about your studio. Location, clean, cluttered, big, small, etc?

I work from home so my garage has a small section converted into my studio. I have to share the space with my creative husband so when I don’t have any pressing jobs my art table in the middle of the room has to get packed up. I do have an art desk to one side where I can sit and plan my work and underneath is a cupboard overflowing with different mediums. And my husband is a bit of a clean freak so sharing the space forces me to keep the area tidy (which isn’t usually my forte!)

Do you have any pre-work ritual that puts you in the right mindset to create art?

To make sure I’m in the right mindset to paint, I have to manage my time properly. As I have a ‘day’ job, I have to make sure I have a few hours set aside where nothing else can interrupt me. And because I only have a certain amount of time to create with resin, I also have to make sure that I know exactly how much resin I’m going to need to make the piece and to have all of my mediums and tools ready to go, laid out on my art desk. I can’t work any other way.

Do you prefer to work with music or in silence?

Music all the way. My music tastes are quite eclectic but I prefer a random selection so one minute I could be listening to Gotye and the next to Linkin Park or Enigma.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I’m a big home body and I love watching movies. Whether it’s with the kids or something for myself and the hubby, there’s nothing more relaxing than cuddling up on the couch and losing yourself in some drama or comedy.

What is your favourite colour?

Turquoise. I have at least 12 different shades in a variety of mediums and it is always the first colour I look at when buying more paint.

What do you collect?

I don’t really collect anything but if I had to choose something I’d say candles. I LOVE candles and have a gazillion just waiting to be lit.

Interests other than art?

When I have the time I love to cook. I grew up with a mother who was a great cook and was lucky enough to be taught so there’s always variety in our house. I’ve started teaching my girls to cook too, I think its an important life skill for them to have. And who doesn’t love delicious food!

Are there specific messages within your work?

To be completely honest, no! Art is a very personal thing and what one person loves, the next person can’t stand. So when I am painting for my collection I choose from a variety of colour palette’s that I love and think will add a touch of elegance to a home's décor.

What excites and inspires you as an artist?

The perfect colour palette. Whether I’m working on a piece for my website or for a commission, every colour has to be in harmony with every other colour in my palette before I can start. I can’t throw in a different colour just for the hell of it to see what happens, that would just freak me out and make me anxious! If it doesn’t match, it isn’t happening!

What does your creative process entail?

When it comes to resin, I’ve never really been an artist with a vision in mind, it's all about the colour palette for me. So once my colours are chosen and my art board is primed and ready to go, I lay out all of my paints / mediums and tools. Everything has to be on hand once I start because of the short working time with resin. Once I start pouring it is essential for me to make sure every piece has a variety of patterns as that is what draws the eye. And removing bubbles is also essential with resin to ensure a beautiful smooth surface. The very last thing in my process is to completely cover the artwork. This prevents dust and insects settling into the resin while it cures. I learnt that very important lesson the hard way because if the painting is not covered I can guarantee you one tiny little insect will seek out your art and immortalise itself forever!

What do you enjoy most about painting?

I have always said that painting is my sanity. Life is hectic between work and my young family but painting never fails to calm me. And to know that I am creating something that will bring happiness to another person is the best feeling.

How do you know when an artwork is completed?

All of my paintings usually have either 1 or 2 layers of resin. Sometimes the colours blend in such a perfect way creating stunning patterns and I just know that a single layer is enough. And other times it just needs ‘more’ so it gets a second layer to bring in extra patterns and an amazing depth that one layer just can’t give you.

What advice do you have for artists who are starting out?

Experiment. And then experiment again, and again, and again. It has taken me years to get my resin art where it is today and that has all been through experimentation. And believe me, I’ve had a lot of fails and thrown out a lot of pieces, but that is the only way to find what works for you. And I have always strived to be my own artist and not let any other artists’ style influence my own. I think that is really important.

Do you have any planned upcoming exhibitions?

I don’t have anything in the works at the moment but I’ve always wanted to do my own Solo exhibition so I’ve been putting a bit of thought into that. I even have a name for my first solo exhibition so you will just have to watch this space!!