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5 minutes with artist Rachel Bottomley

5 minutes with artist Rachel Bottomley

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a contemporary painter based in South Surrey, working from my home studio surrounded by countryside.  I live with my husband and two children, who are 6 and 4 years old. I am obsessed with colour, pattern and details. My wandering mind is often distracted by beautiful things which end up on my easel.  As I answer these questions, I am continually distracted by the foxgloves bobbing next to me, focusing on the outline of their delicate bell shape and how their colours change as you move up the stem. My work celebrates the beauty of the natural and interior world sewn together through the harmonious use of colour and pattern.    

Artist Rachel Bottomley in her studio

How did you first get into art?

Growing up, I always had a sketchbook on the go and loved anything creative. I didn’t go down the art route after school and trained to be a primary school teacher. I taught in schools for ten years until I had my two children and it was then art found me again. Painting has been so important to me and given me headspace away from the challenges of parenthood. The immersive nature of my work allows me to be totally present and enter a different world becoming totally absorbed in my textured painting process. 

Artist Rachel Bottomley's studio

Where do you look for inspiration?

Inspiration finds me! My friends call me a magpie, drawn to colour and detail, that I take back to my nest and make my own. I love to think of my paintings in that way; they are full of treasures and are like collectibles. The subject of my work is often flowers, but what gives it greater depth are the details I draw upon to bring my scenes to life. The intricate weave of a Welsh blanket or playful patchwork quilting, handmade ceramics I’ve collected over time, encaustic tiles from Lisbon, and the colourful masonry of homes I’ve pottered past in Greece – these are all elements with which I decorate my artworks – a colossal memory bank of pattern and colour is raided with each and every painting. 

Artist Rachel Bottomley's studio

Any exciting projects in the pipeline you can tell us about?

I am taking part in the Art for Angelman charity exhibition on 5th October 2024 at Great Western Studios in London. This exhibition will create vital funds for FAST UK whilst raising awareness of Angelman syndrome. I am also excited to be showing a collection of works at Eastwood Fine Art in a group exhibition in September and October 2024 in Hampshire. 


If you could own one piece of art (however unattainable!), what would it be?

I love to collect art by women artists and top of my list at the moment is a fruit bowl painting by Australian artist, Emma Gale. 


Arty tip you’d love to share or advice for young artists starting out?

To go with your gut and try to ignore the negative voice in your head. Also, try not to criticise your work whilst you’re still working on it, focusing on enjoying the journey it’s taking you on instead. I'll let you know if I work out how to do either of these things! 

Artist Rachel Bottomley's studio

Dream dinner party guests.

Dame Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson and Richard E. Grant. I would ask them what advice they would give to their younger selves and then I’d probably quite like to be a fly on the wall for the rest of the evening. 

Huge thanks to Rachel for taking the time to chat with us, she has seven beautiful pieces in our Summer Exhibition: 'It's the Simple Things', 'Wild at Heart', 'Sparkling in the Grass', 'Can we Make a Daisy Chain', 'Let's Pick Daisies', 'Dancing to their own Tune' and 'Look at my Daisies Mummy'.


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