Our latest print baby, Wildflowers, was developed in collaboration with Gold Coast/Byron Bay based artist, Leah Bartholomew. We are SO THRILLED to have worked with her – she’s been on our wishlist for some time, and finally the stars aligned!
This graphic designer-turned-contemporary artist brings pure joyful sunshine to her artworks, and with her feet never too far from some sand she was our dream collaborator. Naturally we wanted to learn about how Leah developed the print and get to know her creative process a little bit more.
What is it about Australian wildflowers that you love?
It starts with the association to place. Most mornings I start the day with a walk around the Byron headland where I see coastal banksias, flannel flowers, eucalypts, bottle brush and paper barks. I really appreciate the robust nature of our native plants, and their earthy tones.
What are the flowers featured in the print?
Flannel flowers, Boronia, Blue Squill and budding Waratah flowers.
Describe ‘Wildflowers’ in 3 words:
Energetic, Earth and Sea
How did you get started illustrating/painting/printing?
I did 10 years of study in fine arts, screen printing and graphic design. I always knew I’d work in the creative industry and I was lucky enough to land a job at Beci Orpin studios.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I take literally hundreds of photographs of flowers and plants wherever I am – whether it’s on a morning walk or travelling to far flung places.. flora is so evocative of a place. I try to match a colour-palette with a place, for example one of my recent works Portland Meander was from a hike into a forest in Oregon where the feeling was one of fresh, cool fluorescent greens which I’ve tried to capture in the chosen colour palette.
What’s your process to developing a new print, like this one?
The brief was to capture the feeling of my version of summer- for me that equals the blues of the ocean, the warmth of the sand and earth tones in the region and flowers vibrating with life incredible scents.
Favourite mediums to work in…
Paper collage and acrylic on canvas.
How does living by the coast influence your practice?
One of the benefits is I have a studio that has such incredible light sometimes I have to wear sunglasses when I paint (haha, it’s not quite that intense but almost!). When I’m looking for inspiration or need to plan my practice I’ll take a walk along the beach and it rarely fails to clear my head or spark ideas- I mean there are whales breaching and beautiful mountains, I have no excuses.
My average day, kicks off with….
A coffee from McTavish in the Byron Industrial Estate or if I’m up really early I’ll get one from Sparrow in town and watch the sunrise.
Make breakfast, and then every day is different, whether it be mixing paints, doing collages, working on a mural design or processing orders.
And finishes with…
My favourite fish tacos from Chihuahua and a delicious drink and then often back to the studio to finish work.
What do you do when you get ‘stuck’ – are there any techniques you use to help get the creative juices flowing, either to start or continue a work?
I create a story board of things that inspire me – it can be anything, interiors, textiles, plants, travel. Also when I get stuck I make paper collages to get colour combinations I love… or I look through the thousands of photos of taken of plants and flowers.
Where will we see your Wildflower beach umbrella set up this summer?
At Rainbow Bay or Wategos … that’s if my sister and friends don’t steal it – there’s no one who doesn’t love some beautiful shelter in our rather unforgiving sun.
What 5 songs will you be playing at your next summer BBQ?
That’s a big question! Got to get the music right so… Right Down The Line by Gerry Rafferty, Seabird by Alessi Brothers, This Must Be The Place by Sure Sure, I Would Die 4 U – by Prince and Heart It Races by Dr Dog
If you were a WWF wrestler, what would your name be?
I loved Glow so I love this question.. but it’s tough! The Colour Crusher ?!?
What’s next for Leah Bartholomew?
I’m really excited to be part of Greenhouse Interiors exhibition in Melbourne at Flowers Vasette, Fitzroy. My work will be alongside Georgie Wilson and opens November 22. I’ll also be painting a mural down there. I’m also getting final samples on a wallpaper range which will give people who’ve always wanted one of my murals in their home a really easy option!
5 Favourite places in Coolangatta…
Greenmount Point for a whale spotting and Norfolk Pine South East Espresso for the best omelette Tupe Aloha for margaritas and a fabulous crew Francie’s pizza Snapper Rocks for watching the sunset
5 Favourite places in Byron…
Lighthouse walk My studio complex- there are so many creative and diverse people and in the industrial estate Belongil Beach for the sunsets and dogs off leash having the time of their lives McTavish for all the good looking surfboys… sorry I mean surfBOARDS, and The Rails and The Northern for a beer.