ARTIST Q&A: LUCI MACLAREN

Published: 30 August 2019


Luci Maclaren's debut solo show 'Momentum' opens next week. Aptly titled, this body of work features moments of intensity, competition, and even collision- as Maclaren articulates the excitement of British sport through gestural, brightly hued brushstrokes.

We caught up with Luci to learn more about what inspires her, her artistic process, and her surprising hidden talents!

Momentum runs 5-14 September, opening with a private view on Wednesday 4th of September.

For more information, to RSVP to the private view, or to request a catalogue, email enquiries@thompsonsgallery.co.uk. 

Above: Lions Roar | Oil on linen | 54 x 54 inches | £6600 | Enquire/ Buy now

Thompson's Gallery: How did you first come into art? Were you influenced by someone you knew, or an experience?
Luci Maclaren: Well I always loved drawing and painting from an early age and studied history of art at university... but I never fully thought I could make a living from being an artist. It wasn't until I was 28 and had been living in Los Angeles for a number of years that I knew what I wanted to do and I knew i wanted to give it a proper chance. I had other part time jobs that supported me and chose a fine art course to study in LA. Then I was on my true path!

TG: How would you describe your artwork to someone who's never encountered it before?
LM: Full of movement. The hashtag I always use when explaining my work is #colourandmovement. I use incredibly thick paint and often a palette knife to keep the work loose and uncontrolled. I want the painting to be alive. I want it to breathe. It;s definitely impressionism I would say.

TG: Of all the sporting events and British pastimes you paint, is there a favourite? What makes it stand out?
LM: I To be honest I'm sports obsessed but if I had to pick a team sport it would be rugby. It's the most fantastic spectator sport. I put my heart and soul into supporting Scotland. I also played a lot of tennis when I was younger and think Wimbledon is the best day out. I got to be court side at the men's final this year. It doest get any better than that!

TG: Do you have any studio rituals or superstitions?
LM: No one watching me unless I know them very well! Radio 1 has to be on.

TG: Does your process have any established pattern, ie sketching beforehand or resisting pattern in total?
LM: Nope I just crack on with the oil paint. I ideally work on many paintings in short sharp bursts. For me its all about fresh eyes. I stop seeing things after a while...

Luic at work in her studio

TG: Do you ever experience 'painters' block'? How do you overcome it?
LM: Yes! Before I moved to London I was in a bad block. I felt stuck in a rut and had lost direction. A change of scene was what I needed. On a day to day basis if I'm not feeling it, I tend to give myself a break. Sometimes if I push myself I can do more harm than good.

TG: What is your best piece of advice to young aspiring artists?
LM: DON'T WORRY YOU CAN DO IT! Know that it is very possible to be a living working artist but like all jobs it has its tough times. However if you love it, with a bit of time and a lot of love and effort everything will fall into place.

TG: How does living in London influence your practice? How does it compare to your time exhibiting and painting in California?
LM: London came along at exactly the right time. I lived on a farm about an hour and a half outside London which was fantastic for a while; affordable, beautiful and quiet. I grew up on a farm so it made sense. However after a certain point I felt quite hidden and removed. I needed Londons energy. California was at the very beginning of my career... I feel like im in a very different place now. 

Above: Winding Up | Oil on linen | 36 x 24 inches | £3500 | Enquire/ Buy now

TG: What is your studio like? Do you like having music, podcasts, or something else on in the background whilst painting?
LM: Im currently in the process of building my own studio in North London. Its been a long time coming and a dream! I need a second room for storage of wet paintings. Lots of white walls and glass. Working from home and I cannot wait!

Above: Inside Luci's studio

TG: Did (or do) you find inspiration in the work of other artists? Anyone who's been influential for you?
LM: When I was in my teens I was obsessed by Scottish colourists. Particularly Peploe and Cadell. I Still love them. On a more contemporary front recently Andrew Salgado has inspired me with his huge canvases and the way he puts down paint. I think his stuff from a few years ago is magnificent.

TG: Do you have any other hidden talents?
LM: Incredibly loud whistle and lifelike owl hoot.