Following The Frome | Anna Boss

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Following The Frome Interview | Anna Boss

FOLLOWING THE FROME A journey through painting along a South West waterway.

Capturing the moments just before rainfall, the settling of mist over rolling hills and the changing quality of light throughout the day, Anna Boss’ paintings beautifully convey the atmosphere of the landscape; you can almost hear the wind moving through the trees, and feel the rain approaching on the banks of the River Frome. We spoke to Anna about her new body of work and what moves her to paint.

Rain Approaching | 60x60cm | Mixed Media

Your recent series of paintings capture the landscape along the River Frome, what is it about this area that inspires you? Well, it's very English I suppose. It's a humanscale river; in places you can wade across, there are fallen trees forming natural bridges, and in spring and summer the vegetation just spills over the banks threatening to encroach the river. Combine this with leaden, rain-filled skies and it is both threatening yet very familiar at the same time.

Had you been planning to make a series of work based on this location for a while, or was it more of a spontaneous decision? I've been visiting this stretch of the river for years, there's a lovely campsite nearby, and I have often walked along the river and then swum back to the campsite. I happened to be passing by this spring and stopped by to see if I could find some views to paint. It was raining, but that is fine - I find gloomy weather more interesting to paint than

sunny days - and I'm afraid some of the camping memories also involved rain. I remember vividly one swim where it began to really pour, and the experience of a viewpoint just an inch or two above the surface as it is hammered by huge raindrops is one I will remember all my life.

Your paintings are in the landscape genre but you wouldn’t really describe them as traditional, they have a very ethereal and translucent quality. Could you tell us a bit about your process and how your paintings are made? Out in the field I document my journey through quick sketches using black 'Quink' ink mixed with water and by photographing to capture the detail. Back in my studio I apply slow drying acrylics, and layer it with matt boatbuilder's resin to create more depth and an element of translucency.

Study of the Frome I

Study of the Frome II

How closely did you stick to your original sketches and photos of the River Frome when back in the studio? Does the process of making the paintings change how you see the landscape, or allow for any happy accidents?  The sketches and photos often don't capture the texture of the water, or the changing light, and so these have to be put back in, from memory, and just from the feeling that you recall. I'm not a good enough photographer perhaps! And if the painting was a perfect replica of a photo, then why bother? So the texture and reflections in the water are brought to the fore, and the sky that I paint reflects a period of time, rather than a snapshot. These paintings are really all about the textures and contrasts in the sky and the water, and this is where the hard work happens and hopefully the atmosphere created.

Could you tell us a little about your background and what draws you to painting over other media? During my foundation course at the Royal West of England Academy and my Fine Art course at UWE I explored all kinds of medium, including sculpture and installations, but have returned to painting over the past 10 years. It's partly because the subject matter that I'm interested in - the light, the sky, the landscape - is one I can express on canvas, and partly because it is a medium that is accessible to everyone - I can create something that people might want in their home. I've also been experimenting with ceramics for the past year, inspired by the patterns found naturally in living things, like feathers and plants, but I'm not yet ready to reveal these to the public!

Swollen River | 60x60cm | Mixed Media

Wet Tones | 60x60cm | Mixed Media

What is it about landscape in particular that interests you? As a runner and a dog owner I spend time outside in all weathers, in alI seasons, and feel like I am in the landscape, rather than observing it. I seek out open spaces with distant views and depth of light. I try to document this time, these journeys, through the quality of light: the ever changing skies, and the way that the distant features can fade in and out depending on the sunlight, the cloud cover and the moisture in the air. The same vista at the same time the following day can be completely different. So alI I can capture is my own experience, but happily that can sometimes be an experience that someone else recognises, and appreciates.

Lastly, which artists are you inspired by, and why? Richard Whadcock, for his dramatic, large scale landscapes that are mysterious and elegant; Eberhard Ross, who captures movement in sky in a cinematic style; Grayson Perry, for his eloquent lectures and observations on society; and of course, given my own subject matter, I can't forget Turner and his mastery of light and atmospheric depth. I have also followed Richard Long’s work ever since I was a teenager, inspired by his documentation of a journey through various mediums and challenging the environment around us.

Farleigh Bend | 60x60cm | Mixed Media

Banks of the Frome | 60x60cm | Mixed Media

First Contemporary are very pleased to be showing Anna’s paintings at the Affordable Art Fair Bristol from the 9th – 11th September. Come along to the fair to see more of Anna’s work, or visit her page:

For further information please contact gallery director, Andrew Hood. +44 (0) 7791699138