Ursula was born in Dublin in 1971.
As a child, she loved art and spent most of her childhood drawing or painting. She had dreams of going to art college, but her path took a different direction. In 1992, she moved to Manchester and married; bringing up three children and pursuing a successful career in childcare. She went back to university as a mature student and secured an honours degree in psychology and had hoped to undertake her PhD.
Life takes us in different directions and when her mum became terminally ill Ursula gave up her PhD to travel between the UK and Ireland to care for her mum. Losing her beloved mum left a huge gap and Ursula turned to art to help fill the void in her life.
In the summer of 2018, she began to research acrylic fluid art. Loving the idea that people see art differently, especially in respect of abstract art it opened a whole new way of creating.
Fluid acrylic art is a way of expressing the feelings inside of her and working with this medium to create unique artwork. She is inspired by nature and the glory of everyday colours and how colours mix and flow. No matter how many times you use the same colour pallet you can never recreate a piece. Moving on to try new techniques Ursula started to use resin as an art medium. The resin creates a multi-dimensional piece of art, though layering different colours.
Ursula recently hosted a highly successful exhibition at the Station Gallery in Clitheroe and is embarking on a major event at the Ideal Home Show next march. Her work can be seen in Homes and Gardens, Vogue and London Life magazines. She also had work in Gallery Du 808 Bristol
Hello Ursula! You say as a child, you loved art and spent most of your childhood drawing or painting. Tell us more about that time.
Ursula: Growing up in the rural outskirts of Dublin in the ’70s my mum encouraged me to be creative. For me my means of expression was art. I would draw and paint at every opportunity I could get. I would make cards, little
bookmarks and pictures that I give to neighbours and friends. On Saturdays, I would try to visit the galleries in the Dublin city centre. The National Portrait Gallery on Merion Square always fascinated me, and I would spend hours wandering around. It was a way to escape what was going on around me. I would get lost designing dresses and garments, painting pictures and sketching. I loved art but it wasn’t something that I could pursue as at that time going to university just wasn’t feasible for my family and I ended up reluctantly going into office work. I moved to the UK in the early ’90s and got married and life took over. After I had my eldest two boys, I went back to art college and I had planned on going to university to study fine art. But, like so many well-made plans, things changed! I became pregnant with my third son!
How did you get into fluid art, and did you paint before?
Ursula: I did paint before I got into fluid art. As I said I went back to art college when my first two boys were at school with the view to going onto university, but the arrival of my third son put paid to that. Even when I did
go to university in 2010, I ended up studying Psychology. Fluid art wasn’t something I had even heard of till 2016. I still dabbled with acrylics but hadn’t painted properly in a couple of years. After a long illness, my mum passed away in 2016. In the years before she died, I had spent long periods back in Ireland caring for her – repeatedly travelling between Dublin and home. I started to paint again as a way of healing and filling the emptiness that was left in my life. I saw someone creating a fluid art piece on YouTube and loved the freedom
it gave the artist. I bought some supplies to give it a go and loved it straight away. There are so many possibilities and different types of art you can create with it. I love that everyone sees something different in every piece.
How long did it take you to master this form of painting (or get comfortable with it)?
Ursula: In terms of mastering this art form, I still am learning! I think every artist would say the same. You discover something new every time you create a piece. Initially, it took me a few months to get my “recipe” right. Then it was a case of learning how to create. I usually start off with a colour combination in mind and a rough idea of what I would like the finished piece to look like. It is different with a commissioned piece, as I work with
what the client wants, although I will try to guide the client if I struggle with their choice of colours and whether they will complement each other. I started to coat the finished acrylic artworks in resin and then started to
use resin as a medium in itself. This is a totally different form of art to acrylics. It offers up so many possibilities again.
How does creating art make you feel?
Ursula: Creating art for me is so peaceful and rewarding. I love being in my studio. Everything from the initial prep of the canvas, to deciding what colours and technique to use to the end result of creating the piece gives me pleasure. I can be in my haven and forget about everything in the outside world. Each piece is so unique, which gives me great pleasure. My degree in psychology ties in with the art I create as I want each of my pieces to give people an emotional experience. Make them think about what they see and feel from each of my pieces.
How do you keep your ideas flowing/stay in a creative mindset? Do you have any sources of daily creative inspiration?
Ursula: My ideas are very organic in nature. I try different colour combinations, different fluid art techniques and like to use different mediums to create texture to my art. I did a series of paintings that were inspired by exotic deep-sea creatures and their form. They fascinated me! Most look like something from another planet. I love to look at nature, growing up on the edge of the countryside and especially where I live now gives me a lot of inspiration. I love to use different types of paint and I have learnt that each company’s paints have different viscosity and permanence. This will make a difference as to how the paint layers on the canvas and interreacts with each other. Being able to play with the texture and pliability of this medium helps me to create.
Who are a few artists/people that really inspire you right now, and why?
Ursula: This is not a difficult question to answer! My favourite artist of all time is without doubt Claude Monet. I adore his work. His use of colour and light. I have spent many hours in museums and galleries both on my own and with my children admiring his work. For contemporary art, there are two people who really inspire me, and I love their work, one is called Rajan Seth, who is an artist based in London. He creates metallic pieces which are amazing. I love his work. The other is a fluid artist called Rinske Douna, I love her work and her use of colours.
However, my main inspiration is colour, light and the environment around us.
Your art is inspired by nature and the glory of everyday colours. What’s the most challenging part of your artistic process? And how do you overcome it?
Ursula: Art is a form of self-expression. I find inspiration in the expression of the natural world around us. When I create from the feelings I have from being inspired by a photo, a view out of my window it is then captured forever in that piece I make. In terms of challenges at the start, it was trying to find the right “recipe mix” for my fluid art. I tried so many different brands of paints and products in every combination possible. Eventually, I created the mix I liked working with. Sometimes the most challenging part of creating can be your own mind. I can get caught up in working out what colours are going to work together if the paint is the right consistency. When I am struggling, I find the best thing to do is just go for it. I all too often forget what I want the piece to do, and I just create. Often this is when I create something I truly like, for example, a piece called “Tropical Dreams”. I had an idea of what I wanted the finished art to look like and in the end, I just let myself go. It’s one of my favourite pieces of art and my favourite colour palette. Lots of blues and greens and splashes of colours from the flowers in the garden.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Ursula: I had a large seascape piece go to a client in London who collects fine art. He put it on his bedroom wall along with his favourite piece by David Hockney as “it complemented it”. That was a huge compliment for me!
What is the best way to reach people that are interested in your art?
Are there any upcoming shows or workshops we should know?
Ursula: I had been due to show at the Ideal Home Exhibition back in March 2020, but it was postponed and will be going ahead next March instead you can find me there. This year and last year all my upcoming shows were
cancelled. I am hoping that now we are moving out of lockdown that galleries and shows will start to open again so watch this space!
What’s next for you?
Ursula: I have a number of things in the pipeline at the moment which I am bursting to share but can’t quite yet! Keep a lookout on my social media and when everything is finalised, I will share it with you. Whatever happens, I will continue to create art and hopefully, people will continue to enjoy it.