Nel Whatmore is a North Yorkshire painter and designer. She came to Pateley Bridge Art Club to talk about her background and showed some of her flower paintings, landscape paintings and her designs for manufactured products.
Nel talked about her interest in art from an early age, showing us competent paintings at age 6 and 11.
She remained keen on art and chose an option at A level and then went to Art college.
One project was a portrait of a gorilla in oil pastel. He would not stay around or pose until he was at ease with her presence.
She explained that a traditional art college did not prepare students for the business aspects of a working artist. For that she sought help from the Princes Trust to start her art career. She thanked Prince Charles personally when he visited her art display at the Chelsea Flower Show.
Her art school training did not prepare her for the technical needs of manufacturers who wanted to use her paintings on products. She needed to learn rapidly how to configure images into continuous form for print runs onto fabric and other products. To these are added demands for the same design in other coordinated colours, all within limitations of 18 available colours per design.
This is illustrated in this adapted painting, showing the colours used.
She eventually followed advice from her daughter to use digital means, instead of physical cut and paste, to adapt her designs to meet production needs.
She created this stylish quilt cover by mimicking kaleidoscope techniques.
Nel’s main interest is painting landscapes and flowers in chalk pastel. She has exhibited her large flower paintings regularly at Chelsea Flower Show.
This year she has become artist in residence at Harlow Carr Gardens and also paints at Burton Agnes Hall.
Nel mainly uses Unison pastels; using Sennellier pastels when vibrant colours are needed.
As well as painting on pastel boards, she has to prepare her own boards for her large paintings. She prepares these mainly with Art Spectrum Colourfix primers, which have an acrylic base with fine grit to provide a fine tooth to hold the pastel.
Coloured primers can be used to reduce the the amount of pastel needed. These background colours can be varied across the painting, either using the coloured primers or acrylic paints covered by a clear primer. The primers can also be watered down if the pastels are not to be thickly applied. They can also be applied thickly with directional brushstrokes to enhance the effect of the pastels.
Nel paints landscapes which can often be seen in the Chantry Gallery in Ripley.
Nel also uses Pan Pastels applied with a soft flexible applicator. She demonstrated how swirling highlights can be added to clouds.
Nel also showed how she painted landscape studies in changing light in a series of three
Nel Whatmore Website
There is more detail and better quality images on her website > www.nelwhatmore.com