Yvonne Overton is exhibiting in and helped organised the large group exhibition ‘Seeing is Believing’ at St John the Baptist Church with the Waltham Forest Arts Club. The exhibition is open 2-10 July with a preview evening on 1st July.
We asked Yvonne some questions about her art practice and ideas.
Julie: Please tell us about the work you will be showing in the Leytonstone Arts Trail in 2016.
Yvonne Overton: The theme for our exhibition at St John the Baptist Church is Seeing is Believing, inspired by the detection of Einstein’s Gravitational Waves earlier this year, and open to personal interpretation. My work is a long painting on lining wallpaper that started out with an idea around Francis Thompson’s verse about stirring flowers and troubling stars. As I’ve developed small preparatory studies new and surprising influences have started to emerge and I’m excited about the final outcome of this totally new style of work for me, and I love experimenting with colour combinations.
Julie: You have co-organised a group show. How does your work fit in with the other work in the exhibition?
Yvonne Overton: We are very excited about the quality and diversity of interpretations of the exhibition theme. We have a full spectrum across the fantasy, scientific, spiritual, cosmic, and Earthly realms. As my work contains influences drawn from elemental forces of nature I see it fitting well with other artists ideas.
Julie: This is the 9th LAT. Have you taken part in the Trail before and what did you do?
Yvonne Overton: I took part in 2015, also at St Johns. There was no theme last year and I submitted a leaded glass panel inspired by the Knights Templar. The work was installed against one of the lancet windows.
Julie: Tell us a little about your artistic background / education.
Yvonne Overton: My work has always been inspired by nature. I studied botanical illustration at the South London Botanical Institute in the mid 1990s and did a course in glasswork after that. When I moved to Waltham Forest in 2002 I joined local adult education courses in art and photography and in 2005 took a BA (Hons) in Fine Art at the University of East London.
Julie: How would you describe your art practice? What kind of things inspire you to create art?
Yvonne Overton: My practice is primarily as a painter. During the past 10 years I have been working with oil on canvas, mostly abstracted landscape and a lot of sky. More recently I’ve returned to fine botanical work and drawing, making studies of insects and feathers. I’m also fascinated by light and transparency and working with glass allows me to use colour and form in a different way. I like the idea of experimenting with contemporary ideas using a traditional craft that’s been passed down the centuries virtually unchanged. My source inspiration is deep ecology and the natural world. As a painter I work from an inner perspective of the energetic quality of nature rather than from a documented image. I’m also fascinated by the microcosmic level and the worlds within worlds that lie beneath the surface.
Julie: How would you describe a good day in the studio?
Yvonne Overton: If I’m working on a project with a deadline a good day would be one where I’m fully focused and the work flows. On other days I enjoy doodling and daydreaming, playing music and allowing new ideas to emerge. Although all ideas were once new and I’ve recently been looking at old work journals and portfolios, a great inspiration. Never throw anything away!
Julie: What challenges (if any) do you face in preparing yourself and your work for the Trail?
Yvonne Overton: As part of the organising team of Seeing is Believing I feel a responsibility to the 20+ artists who are exhibiting their work, and to ensuring its a fantastic show for us all, for St John’s and for LAT 2016. For my own personal work, I have just started painting the actual wallpaper, which is long and sits perfectly on my workbench outside. So I’m hoping it stops raining soon as its very fiddly to work on inside my small studio.
Julie: Do you collect art?
Yvonne Overton: Yes, not on the level of an investor, but I do have an eclectic mix of art forms that I’ve collected over the years.
Julie: Please tell us something you really like about Leytonstone.
Yvonne Overton: I love that Leytonstone still has a local villagey atmosphere and so far feels untouched by the rush of development that’s changing other areas so dramatically.
Julie: Besides the Trail, what is coming up next for you and where can we see more of your art in the flesh or online?
Yvonne Overton: My next project is to make a leaded glass piece for an exhibition in September called 100 x Madonnas at The Crypt Gallery, St Pancras Church in London.
My work can be seen online at www.yvonneoverton.com