Taking pride of place in our homeware collection is our beloved range of rural-inspired wall art canvases. Featuring a collection of farmyard animals, these remarkable pieces of artwork have been painted by nature lover Sian Tezel; an artist who began collaborating with Laura Ashley after we spotted her promising talent in a competition last year.
Quite the story, let us rewind back to last year when our home team ran a nationwide Wall Art competition. Budding artists were asked to come forward and submit a piece of artwork that would be transformed into a canvas print for the new home collection. Fast forward to the present day, one of the stand-out winners Sian has once again picked up her paintbrush to create a more impressive prints for our S/S14 home collection and 2014 calendar.
Daisy the Cow Canvas / Golden Labrador / Duck Canvas / Chickens and Chicks Canvas
Living in the countryside just outside of Oxford, Sian lives with her husband, teenage children and her dog Florrie. After finishing a degree in Fine Art at Dyfed College of Art and Gloucestershire College of Art, not quite knowing what to do next, Sian moved to Turkey to teach English as a foreign language. Twenty years on and living back in England, Sian has never lost her passion for art and divides her time between painting and teaching.
A sneak peek at our S/S14 Collection featuring Sian’s artwork on cushions. See more of our S/S14 Press Show here.
We caught up with the talented Sian to find out more about her Laura Ashley range and her passion for painting…
What are your favourite subjects to paint?
I work mostly as a portrait artist but love painting animals too. When I’m not working on commissions I paint my poor husband and children, who are quite patient considering. The only one always happy to sit for me is Florrie, my dog.
How did you come about entering the Laura Ashley Wall Art competition?
A couple of years ago I popped into Laura Ashley to buy some wallpaper and saw a leaflet asking for artists to enter their Wall Art Competition. The subject was ‘the countryside’. I had just finished a commission of a painting of a cow and I was really pleased with it so decided to do another. There were some lovely Charolais in a farm yard in the village who were just begging to be painted. I was so surprised to win – I never win anything! I did smile when I saw the title ‘Daisy’ given to my painting of a very fine … boy.
Sian’s self portrait.
How did it feel to see your amazing artwork on display in-store?
It was very strange (and exciting) to see my painting for the first time in a shop window in Bath when I went to visit my friend. I am used to painting commissions and when I hand over the work that’s the last I see of it. I was so pleased to be asked to illustrate the 2014 calendar because it meant I could indulge myself and paint lots more animals – including my very own Florrie, who is the August model.
Christmas Country Creatures Calendar
How long does it take to paint one of your portraits? Tell us about the process you go through.
A portrait in oil can take up to three months to paint. As well as the sittings there is a lot of studio time spent trying to get a good likeness as well as a good painting – two different things. Painting animals is much more fun. For a start I often use acrylic which dries in a trice, and although you don’t get the depth and richness like you do in oils I find acrylic can be very expressive.
Portraits of Sian’s teenage children.
As with the portraits, the quicker the painting the better it is. When I get a good likeness quickly the finished piece is usually stronger. I find the longer it takes to get something right the worse the finished result. So a good acrylic painting takes about four hours – a bad one, four days! I have to have an idea of the finished painting in my head before I start so my studio tends to fill up with scrappy sketches and colour combinations for a few days before I start.
We think you’ll agree when we say that Sian has incredible talent, watch out for her country themed prints making their debut in our County Show collection next Summer. Or why not pop along to meet Sian and listen as she talks through her collection, taking place on the 14th December from 11am onwards at the Oxford Laura Ashley branch.
Tell us – which of Sian’s animal prints is your favourite?
To browse the Laura Ashley wall art canvases click here.