“An Artist with no Time to Waste”
By Margaret Vickers
Phoebe Stone was the guest artist for the July meeting of the Lane Cove Art Society (2023). Oil pastel is her medium. Drawing has always featured somewhere in her life. What made this presentation a stand out was the authenticity of the free mark making from this self-taught artist.
It was fascinating to try and determine the influences that have shaped Phoebe’s artwork. Phoebe is time poor. Juggling the demands of a very young family, managing a home and attempting to build a career in the art world meant that whatever art medium she was going to seriously attempt, it had to allow a quick outcome. The desire to have some art in their children’s bedrooms provided the incentive to start her art journey. She happened upon oil pastels. Sennelier, Van Gogh, Caran D’Ache and Holbein brands are all used. It was new territory for Phoebe who had trained as an interior designer. It meant that she had already gained a solid understanding of colour, composition and texture in her profession. She had also done art when she attended Mosman High school. In addition she has always been interested in interiors right from a very young age and mentioned that she loved visiting her grandmother’s home as it was a “treasure trove” of fascinating objects. Add two very supportive and creative parents (they owned a gallery and did framing) and one understands why this artist is pursuing her creative journey with such vigour.
Her exposure to domestic interiors in her career path also influenced her subject matter as she loves sketching and drawing interiors. Still life subjects of food, wine and interesting objects are often under her artistic eye. Thoughts are woven into her interiors. She ruminates about what has transpired in certain interiors. For this demonstration an unusual shaped jug, orange and intricate ceramic bowl were given her attention. “I just want to start and finish it,” remarked Phoebe. She enjoys working with Reeves brown coloured craft paper and also on board. Gesso is used to smooth the surface before oil pastel is drawn on it. White oil pastel is used a lot so Phoebe brings texture into her work by drawing on brown paper or allowing the Masonite board colour to come through. To prevent any smudging occurring Sennelier fixative is sprayed onto the artwork.
As Phoebe freely sketched her still life subject she chatted about how doing art for her is a meditation. The audience witnessed a young artist passionate about intuitively making her marks, not aiming to capture realism but aiming to harness the mood and the spirit of the subject. “I just go for it,” Phoebe said. Her own style has developed organically with squiggles here and there or adding an imaginative element just because you can. On the other hand you can decide to leave out “stuff.” “I am not precious about my art,” Phoebe declared. She does not have time to be!
Recently Phoebe took the courageous step of moving into her art journey full time. She praised Instagram as a means of “getting your work out there.” It certainly has popularized her artwork and opened avenues into galleries and commissions. She has exhibited with Michael Reid, the Purple Noon gallery and is about to have her first solo show at Hake House of Art gallery in September.
So many lessons were inherent in Phoebe’s demonstration. This self-taught artist has a purity to her marks and it is so obvious “that she loves what she does.” Phoebe took the courageous step of foregoing her interior designer career and is now doing art fulltime. Perhaps the pandemic facilitated this decision as art is truly what she is passionate about and allows an escape into a world of her own creation. Her “go for it” approach achieves scintillating outcomes where her unique organic style is apparent. Thank you Phoebe for a very delightful evening of art.