ANNABEL ANDREWS: Avant Garde Abstract Artist

I started drawing and painting very young. Living in the natural environment on the Isle of Wight (England), there was no TV, internet, iPhones or iPads...
ANNABEL ANDREWS: Avant Garde Abstract Artist

Tell us how you got into art?

I started drawing and painting very young. Living in the natural environment on the Isle of Wight (England), there was no TV, internet, iPhones or iPads. Our toys were the trees and animals in the fields, and curiosity was focused on nature, observing things very closely, or looking out to the sea and sky.

At school, at a very young age, we received classes of drawing and painting, and every year, we were examined by the Royal Drawing Society. The teacher was from the famous London Slade school of Fine Arts. She motivated us through her teaching, and I did well in the exams, obtaining an honors certificate.

After leaving school, I intended to study art but was offered a good job in London, which I accepted. The work was interesting, learning at the same time orthopedic radiography and attending operations at the London Clinic. Some of my work was used to illustrate Sir Reginald Whatson Jones books.

In London, I shared a flat with a friend who had finished art school and worked for an advertising company. My friend taught me many things during the weekends, and the Australian artist Brian Robertson also lived upstairs. Brian later became well known as an art critic and author.

Where did you study?

Years later, I went to live in the Canary Islands. I attended a municipal workshop with a sculptor, Abraham Cardenas, and I started doing sculpture while taking the Parramon correspondence course from Barcelona, which was interesting and lasted three years. It was very exciting to send my work and wait for the results and the corrections. I learned all the techniques and started to paint Canary Island landscapes.

There, I won a local prize, and started painting portraits in the British Club in Las Palmas. There were always plenty of volunteers to sit, including the British Consul.

On coming to live in Madrid, I attended the prestigious Peña Academy in the Plaza Mayor, where I learnt many techniques and live model painting.

The following years, I attended two important workshops in the Circulo de Bellas Artes de Madrid. The first was with Jose Guerrero, who had recently returned to Spain from New York where he was part of the New York school of Abstract Expressionism. He made a great impression on me, inspiring me to try minimalism and abstraction. Unfortunately, he had to return to New York. I then started another workshop with Pablo Palazuelo who was geometric and constructivist; he had an interesting group of friends around him. He also greatly influenced my work. The two workshops were a bit antagonistic: Guerrero was very emotional, very visceral and and Palazuelo was logical and very cerebral, so everything was very rational and structured. Both have marked the path of my artistic work.

What are your inspirations?

Fundamentally, it is the landscape of the forest that surrounds me, here in the Sierra de Madrid. The backlight between the trees is what fascinates me most, as a desire to go towards it, to an unknown place. A yearning to get there, but I do not know where. Walking through nature nourishes me unconsciously.

On waking up in the morning ideas are swarming into my head, and I like to start working before they vanish.

I paint landscapes, but my concept of landscape is broad, as wide as the world around me.

What form of painting would you say your art is?

My love of drawing pulls me towards a figurative representation of the model. I am interested in drawing something as it is to me. When making collage, geometry is the main idea, being totally abstract, but when painting, I try to combine all, but always with a reference.

I would define my work as total and colorful minimalism on the border between figuration and abstraction.

Who are your clients?

My clients are worldwide, but I do not know them. Some are large companies like Citibank of Manhattan and also collectors like Agnes Gund and great decorators.

Have you done many art shows?

I have had many exhibitions and now feel ready for a large retrospective.

What is your next series?

A continuation of the last series of minimalist colour fields, but each work is an adventure that can take me anywhere.

Which series are you the most proud of?

Always the one in the making. It would be paralyzing to think it was worse than the one before. But I do like the black and white series.

Which artists inspire you the most?

Starting with Friedrich, the romantics and Nordic expressionists. Nolde, Munch, Van Gogh and the Americans Newman and Rothko. And of course, my teachers Guerrero and Palazuelo.

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