In the studio with Treena Seymour

What is your favourite medium and why?

Acrylics would be my most preferred medium for my work. There are many reasons why I prefer to use Acrylic paint especially over the prestigious oils.

  • I love the way Acrylics dry so quickly, an hour or so. This is especially advantageous when layering is involved.
  • Cleaning up after a day of creativity with Acrylics is a breeze…plain water does the trick.
  • Acrylics are very reasonably priced and come in a vast range of viscosities and I am able to paint on anything: canvas board, paper, wood, card etc.
  • If I choose to paint a crisp edge, acrylics allow me to do this with brush, palette knife or spatula.
  • After doing some research on Acrylics and their capacity to hold their colour over time, I have found this to be very favourable without any fading or yellowing. Its easy to add a clear non yellowing varnish over the finished piece anyway just to be sure.
  • Acrylics also give me the license to create thick impasto paintings. I can build up the paint quickly as its drying time is so rapid all with out cracking.
  • I love the feel of the paint and the way if flows along the surface whether it be by brush, palette knife or spatula. Its endless co-operation when manoeuvring this mass around the surface, “moulding” it into the creation in my mind.

What themes do you explore in your work?

Living by a beautiful bay, I am drawn to its beauty and wonder. This is reflected in a lot of my work. Whether it be the sandy beaches, the deepness of the ocean, the colours in and around the bay, the energy which it draws, the sublime attraction to all who flock to it, swim in it, sun bake or walk on it.

Mother Nature's Seasons are a particular attraction to me as well and are also reflected in many of my works. My love affair with each new Season brings new Collection of work representing how I feel and see them.

In my works, I try to capture the true beauty in the subject through paint and one I try to extend to the audience. I want them to feel what I feel when I paint and hope they are able to get a sense of what my paintings mean not by merely reading my description but by looking and touching my work.

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

Each piece of art I create envelopes a lot of emotion. Having a subject to paint is not enough. I need to “feel” the subject, to almost become the subject as it were. Some might say “I put my soul into my work”. I am not sure that's true, but there is definitely a lot of my personality in each piece.


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

My Studio is my sanctuary, a place where I can let my creative juices flow. A place where I let my imagination go wild and explore many new avenues.

I am very fortunate to have a large sized Studio upstairs in my home with high ceilings and French doors opening out onto a beautiful balcony overlooking the Bay where a lot of inspiration comes from. There are two rooms off the Studio where I store most of my supplies; canvases, paints, easels etc. These two rooms adjacent to the Studio help keep my work space clear and open, great when I am working on extra large canvases. Usually I have 3-4 paintings going at once and sometimes when doing a triptych or quadriptych, I need all the room I can get . Also having a large work bench area which I can work around swell as a wall where a long bench with under cupboards and drawers gives me more storage room and working space on top. My Studio is generally a neat working space. I can’t work with clutter around me, too distracting.

Plenty of light fills the studio with three walls containing large windows. The sun sets over the Bay so I have plenty of gorgeous afternoon sunlight. When it gets too hot, I just close the blinds, turn on the AC and the Studio lighting and I am set to continue my work.


Art studio and painting materials

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

Nothing too odd or quirky but I do have certain rituals. First up I make sure I have everything at the ready for the creative journey. By this I mean canvas prepped, brushes ready to be dipped in paint. Don my lucky painting clobber. Have the coffee brewing for that all important cuppa. Music of choice is selected, usually something which corresponds with my painting subject as I want to set the mood in the room which will reflect in my work. The room needs to be uncluttered. I generally like to put drop sheets on the floor and my work bench, especially necessary if I am pouring.


Do you prefer to work with music or in silence?

Good question…..depends on how I am feeling and what I am painting. Generally music but there are times when I find myself just wanting to listen to the birds outside, the wind blowing or the beach activity especially in early Summer or late Spring when the weather is warm but not hot and I can just open up the French Doors and let the outside in. I have been known to put on a movie on my portable DVD player too.


What do you enjoy doing with your free time?

Having a creative mind extends beyond the Art Studio. Gardening is another creative passion of mine where I have designed and built a few wondrous gardens filled with scent, colour and texture. My green thumb comes from my mother and as a child I was always out in the garden with her trying to distinguish plant from weed. Exercise is important and I regularly attend gym Monday to Friday; you know what they say, Healthy Mind, Healthy Body. If I have any tension, stress or nervous energy, this is where I expel it and am set for the rest of the day in the Studio with a clear mind for creating.


What is you favourite Colour?

Just ask anyone….BLUE. It has such a calming and tranquil feel about it. It also symbolises intelligence, loyalty, faith, trust, wisdom and confidence. It is a colour which a lot of my painting are adorned with. Whenever I paint with this wondrous colour, I am always happy and at peace with my work.

Blue represents the sky and the ocean and as this is what I look out onto every day, its properties fill my every fibre. My love affair with Blue is enduring.

What do you collect?

Over the years I have collected a wide variety of items from Limited Edition “Erte” Plates, Italian Figurines to books by a few of my favourite authors both Fiction and non-Fiction.


Interests other than art?

Movies are a pleasurable pastime of mine. I love films between 1950s - 70s where over zealous actors play their roles like it is their last. It gives me a chance to wander off into someone else's imagination and explore the fabulous creations on film.

Reading is also an interest of mine. I have a small library of literature encompassing Fiction and Non-Fiction. Paulo Coelho is my favourite author and have collected and read his entire portfolio of literature. He is very spiritual and his works are not only inspiring but uplifting.

Visiting Art Galleries whether it be on-line or on foot. It's such a great way to be inspired and appreciate all other forms of art and keeping in touch with what's out there and whats trending.


Are there specific messages within your work?

Most of my work exudes happiness, life, energy and movement. This is something which I value very much and practice every day. It isn’t something which I purposely say to myself “This is what I am putting in my painting” but when I look back on my work when its finished, there it is.


What excites you and inspires you as an artist?

To have a talent which I can share with everyone is such a special gift. Its so exciting to be able to use this gift, create a piece of art from the heart and have those who gaze upon it come up with their own interpretations (if I am working on Abstract). To see their faces smile and clearly be happy with what they see. To put a smile on someones face is truly a delight and such a reward. This inspires me to continue my journey in Art and keep sharing my pieces with the world to enjoy.


What does your creative process entail?

First the Inspiration or Subject. This is of course the first part of any creative journey. Having found the idea then comes the question as to what medium, what surface on which to paint and what size. Will it be a single piece or a diptych, triptych etc. All of these questions are thought out carefully and can sometimes be the hardest process for me. I need to envisage in my mind what the subject will look like in different scenarios. This process I usually think about the day before I am going to paint. The anticipation of starting a fresh piece of art can be daunting but its exciting at the same time.

Once that process has been thought through, its time to start the painting. I usually just put paint straight onto the already triple primed canvas without sketching first. I possibly will have a few sketches beside me of the basic shape of my subject. I like the free flow of movement and don’t like to be confined to “barriers” drawn on the canvas surface. Depending on what I am painting, I will create layers having the painting dry in-between layers (a plus when using Acrylics) and slowly build up the image.

When the majority of the painting is complete, I may find myself going over small parts to “finish off” and of course signing the art. After leaving the painting to fully dry I always apply a couple of coats of clear matte varnish to protect the work.

What do you enjoy most about painting?

The freedom to create and have the artistic license to freely express myself and lose myself through paint. To enter a world of imagination and creativity and leave the world's woes at the Studio entrance.


How do you know when an artwork is completed?

Many years ago my Art Teacher said to me “when you think you’ve finished STOP”. These words have rung in my ear at the near completion of each and every piece of my work. If nothing else, this was a valuable lesson taught. In saying this, I have overdone work before when I haven’t been on the ball. It's easy to do, one too many brush strokes can ruin a piece of art. I think its something many artists dread. When is enough enough? Once I think the painting is finished, I walk away from it for a few hours and then revisit the piece with “fresh eyes”. Straight away I can tell whether the piece is complete, apart from that all important signature.


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

Follow your dream. I know its a bit of a cliche but it's true. If you believe in yourself, anything is possible. Keep practicing with the medium you like, research other artists who use the same medium. Do not “compete” with other artists one coming “better” than them, there is no such thing as a better artist, just a different one. We all have our own unique style. It can take time to find it but the more you paint, the more you will see and feel what works for you.


Do you have any planned upcoming exhibitions?

At this stage, no, but that's not to say I do not want to have one in the near future. A lot of planning goes into an exhibition and I can see myself looking into it more in the new year.