In Conversation With Rebecca Tucker
Rebecca has been painting for many years - ever since graduating with her Fine Arts degree - while also building her own interior design business and raising a family. Not one to stand still, she has taken her painting to a new level this year having been included as part of a pop-up show of art produced during lockdown as well as having her own solo exhibition show in Santa Cruz, featuring 22 of her landscape paintings.
We are now delighted to have her as part of the Designed and Created community with her amazing ‘Teeny Tiny’ Trees. Her unique style of painting and use of gold and silver leaf make these pieces quite literally shine(!) and I am in awe of her ability to cram this much detail and perfection into a 10cmx10cm square Rebecca and I sit down to discuss more about her 100 day challenge and her work.
Laura: What’s the 100-day project?
Rebecca: Every year thousands of people undertake the Instagram #100dayproject, this is the first year I’ve managed to sort myself out in time to start it alongside everyone else! You have to choose your project carefully or risk getting bored or overwhelmed and not getting anywhere near 100 days. Something that’s not too much to do every day, but enough to be significant. Above all it kind of has to be for yourself, and if others like it then that’s a bonus.
L: Why Tiny Tree’s?
R: My obsession with trees is well developed now, I love what they mean to us as humans, what they do for us as a planet and how the trees we live amongst every day of our lives will probably outlive all of us. But it was only when someone asked for a commission of three of my gold leafed trees in a teeny 10x10cm format that my idea for the next 100 days emerged. And my Tiny Trees were born #100daysoftinytrees
L: How’s the challenge evolved, so far?
R: Initially it was about doing 100 layers, so each day I would add a layer to a board, from the background, to the tree silhouette and then adding colour and gold leaf. It soon transpired that there was something special emerging at every layer, so I decided to stop some of them at the first layer, some at the second layer and only take a selection through to the gold leaf stage. And now my goal is 100 finished tree cameos.
I have loved where this process has taken me, trying new techniques, developing ideas, the consistency of working in something within such defined parameters, of size and subject, allows me to experiment. With colour, with texture, with the background, with the layers. And it has influenced my other work too. The line has become really important to me, what a white line against a certain colour does, the effect it produces, I love the surprises.
I am delighted to have been asked by Laura to join the elite ranks of the D&C artists. I’ve promised her 100 trees, a veritable forest, and then we shall see what comes next!”
L: How did your journey start as an artist?
R: I graduated from a Fine Art degree in 1996, but then went into interior design and have been doing that for 23 years now, owning and running my own company. I have always had my painting in the background, but life, work and children definitely put it on the back burner until 2020 when the UK COVID-19 lockdown meant I gained back all the time normally spent on school runs, kids’ clubs, socialising etc., so I found a few hours each day that I could carry myself off into my studio to paint.
L: How would you describe/explain your work/pieces?
R: My ongoing obsession is with paint, the pure attraction of paint on a surface and what it does when you apply water, or rub it back, or wash off layers. Through my University degree I played with the concept of landscapes - using a horizontal line which automatically makes people assume ‘landscape’ but then using the texture and surface of the paint to bring people back to the fact that it is paint on a surface, and the pure pleasure of looking at the details.
L: What's Important to you?
R: It’s probably very out of tune with current artistic trends, but aesthetic value is my prime motivator. It’s really important to me that my paintings have balance in composition and colour, that they have aesthetic appeal. I want to make the onlooker initially see a landscape or a representation but to then move in closer and look at the details of the paint and the magic in that. I want the viewer to want to live with one of my paintings, there is no bigger compliment than if someone is happy to have a painting in their own home, live with it and look at it every day.
L: What are you working on at the moment?
R: That’s a big question! 2020 has certainly brought a period of experimentation for me, so whilst I am still working on my big landscapes, I have become a bit obsessed with line drawing. This, I think, has stemmed from my early-lockdown pursuit of taking every online drawing class that was available to me - from weekly life drawing and portrait painting on Zoom to online classes with The Royal Drawing School. At first these drawing exercises were very separate to my painting practice but it has been really rewarding to see elements of the drawing and observation skills start influencing my painting. So, I am currently working on landscapes, portraits, and drawing, and the combination of all this seems to have evolved into my tree paintings. These vary from semi representational to the much more graphic nature of my ‘tiny trees’ series, where I am using a wide variety of colours and finishes, including gold leaf and Posca pens.
L: What or who Influences you?
R: I draw inspiration from everywhere, from dog walks and nature, from photography and film, from other people’s work, from galleries and museums and from social media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, from colour palettes I use in interior design to colour combinations I see in front of me every day. It’s an ever-changing feast of influences!
L: What was the last piece of design, art, craft you bought and why and who for?
R: I have bought loads through lock down from artists selling under Matthew Burrows’ #ArtistSupportPledge on Instagram. I have bought so many things, a lot I ‘pretended’ were presents for my husband (we call them ‘for-you-for-me’ presents, he can see straight through what I am doing!). My most recent purchase is a drawing from an artist called Russell Herron who has done drawings of drawn faces on corrugated cardboard, at first glance you think the piece of cardboard is ‘the art’ but then you realise it is a very detailed, very beautiful graphite drawing of the piece of cardboard. It really makes you look twice. I love that!
You can see and buy Rebecca’s Tiny Tree’s all in our shop section and to see more of Rebecca’s work you can follow her on Instagram @rebeccatuckerpaintings