Beth Winterburn creates art that is so expressive. I find myself getting lost in her pieces; each one is a feast for the eyes. Her talents have not gone unnoticed: both Hommemaker and Maker Academy featured her work and tours of her studio late last year. If you follow Beth on Instagram, which you should, you’ll get to see a continual flow of glimpses into her creative world, including this living space that is to-live-for. I am thrilled to promote her work in 2017 and I’ll be sharing some exclusive previews of her work all year long.
Starting fresh for 2017, here is a brand new interview with Beth. I hope you find her thoughts on inspiration, makers and balance as insightful as I did. Enjoy this talented artist and be sure to follow the links below to see more of her work.
Your work is so expressive and yet refined. How do you find that balance?
I make it a practice to investigate and learn my tools – to experiment with them as much as possible – so that their behaviors become fairly familiar. The tools that I use are incredibly important to my practice and my style – which brush, which size brush, which material the bristles are made of, etc. Knowing in advance what will likely result from a particular brush (or any other tool) allows me the freedom to be expressive, but also keeps things from getting out of control.
“Beth’s work is characterized by bold, gestural brush strokes and minimalist detail. As a nod to her analytical roots in photography and architecture, she approaches each piece with a mathematical mindset – counting evens and odds, balancing lights and darks, visually “slicing” the composition into thirds and fifths. She approaches her work as if it’s a problem to solve: combining and contrasting elements with and against one another to create a cohesive yet dynamic piece.”
It’s obvious that you have a love for what you do. What inspired you to start creating?
Thank you! That really means a lot. I do, and I’m glad that comes through. I’ve been drawn to creative practices since I can remember. I come from a long line of creatives, so I was fortunate to see that as a very normal part of life. I think that gave me the freedom to try things myself. I also grew up in a very small town where there wasn’t a whole lot to do ;), which I really think helped fuel my creativity as well. If you don’t have it, you make it yourself!
Why should designers and decorators use handmade and handcrafted goods in their projects?
In my opinion, there’s an intimacy – on so many levels – to using handmade/handcrafted goods. Makers and artists who put their hands to their materials are doing so much more behind the scenes to arrive at that piece – it’s an extension of who they are. When I work with a client, I’m considering more than just color, more than just how it “fits” logically or aesthetically (although those are always considerations). I’m thinking about what represents them and what they might be able to identify with in my work. It’s just one more way of relating/conversing human to human.
“Beth’s work is an exploration of contrast, tension and resolve. Methodical by nature, she challenges her own ideas of control by experimenting with materials, allowing them to behave as they naturally would, with subtle direction. Each canvas, piece of paper or panel is an invitation to engage – to feel, to react, to explore the tension and resolve of each and every element and property used to build it.”
Do you have a favorite customer story?
I really enjoy interacting with all of my clients, but this past year, one particular client reminded me, once again, why I love what I do. He reached out to me to create a piece for his home, and in his inquiry, went into great detail about how my work spoke to him, how he saw aspects of his life in the work, etc. It was really touching and affirming. I felt so honored to work with him and to create the perfect piece to go into his new home.
What’s on the horizon for EBW?
Over the past year, I’ve found myself moving more and more into large scale work. (If you could see my studio space, you’d say, “But how??” ;)) I make it work, and my family is very accommodating and supportive. Maybe not in 2017, but hopefully sooner than later, I have plans for a larger studio.
I’d also really like to get more involved with my local community and perhaps even the younger local generation. I was able to do a workshop with kids last year, and I enjoyed it so much. There’s such freedom and a refreshing lack of inhibition with kids. They don’t overthink their work – a good reminder that I often need in the studio.
In the immediacy, I’m collaborating with other artists online for a small group show at the end of February. More on that soon! I’m also continuing to explore the same themes that keep me coming back for more – control vs. no control, contrast, tension and resolve.
Lastly, I’m continuing work on a new collection of raw canvas work. It is such an unfamiliar territory for me (paper is my jam), but I’m determined to arrive at a body of canvas work that feels consistent and authentic.