I enjoy painting people because everyone’s face tells a story.
When I paint a face I have the chance to intimately examine it and see the stories that belong to it.
I am a painter from Cheshire, working in oils on canvas. I did my Fine Arts degree at Camberwell Art College in London, at a time when painting people had fallen out of favour, I banned myself from the life drawing room and spent much of my time finding objects in skips and suggestively arranging them in the studio. However, I carried on sketching out ideas because this helped to harness my imagination.
Several years followed of notching up life experiences which included working in the Health and Social Care sector where I trained support workers to understand the needs of individuals with learning difficulties. Working in this sector made me fall in love with people and their stories.
Julie Thomas, Self-portrait, Photograph
In 2019 I found myself searching for a way to paint a portrait of a woman, who was part real, part imaginary.
I was fascinated with Mother Clap, a historical figure from 18th Century London, who ran a coffee house or ‘Molly House’ which was a safe place for gay men to meet. Pilloried for running such an establishment, I decided to celebrate this brave woman with a portrait. My ‘Molly’, with her enigmatic smile and her cheeky moustache, urged me to paint again.
Molly, 2019, Oil on Canvas