10 Questions with Harriet Hoult

Posted in In the Studio by George Greenhill on 24th May 2019

Harriet is a London based abstract artist, working with acrylic and mixed media on paper.

Her pieces can be seen as meditations on our relationship with life, drawing influence from both the inner and outer landscape. Exploring themes such as home, boundaries both physical and psychological, a sense of belonging, freedom and beauty, her work aims to take us beyond the intellectual process to an underlying visceral experience.  

We ask Harriet about her concepts, style, sources of inspiration and process. Read on to find out more.

 

Untitled 1 by Harriet Hoult, 2015

 

1. The mark making in your painting is so varied - from consciously created cross hatching to serendipitous splashes of paint. Where and how did you develop this style?
 
I work very instinctively, feeling my way through the process from one mark to the next.  Its like a conversation between myself and the painting, I ask it what the next mark should be and it tells me. My style developed very naturally through working in this way over a number of years. I spent about nine months in Cornwall at one stage and was also very influenced by the St Ives abstract artists.
 

Stella by Harriet Hoult, 2014

 
2. Which artists have you been most influenced by? 
 
I was mentored by the ceramicist Sandy Brown and her teachings had a real influence on my work. I also spent time living and working in Cornwall and was very influenced by the St Ives artists, Terry Frost, David Lanyon and Barbara Hepworth to name a few.  
 

Harriet in her studio

 
3. Experimentation is such an important part of an artist process. How often do you challenge yourself by trying new strategies? 
 
I try to take courses regularly to learn new techniques and open my mind to alternative ways of approaching things. Recently I did a foundation in Atelier style figure drawing at London Fine Art Studios, which is the complete opposite way of working to what I am used too but I really enjoyed it and learned a lot. 
 

Tregurrian by Harriet Hoult, 2018

 
4. What concepts are at the heart of your work?
 
To me, my work is about freedom, freedom of expression as well as beauty and a faith in a creative spirit that works through me - if I get my thinking and judging mind out of the way. I’m exploring the inner and outer landscape in a very instinctive way. Its important to me that I don’t ever plan a piece before I start, I just trust the process as it unfolds. 
 

In Harriet's studio

 
5. How has your practice evolved whilst at your current residency?
 
I think that being so close to the river has begun to influence my work. It’s always there, flowing in and out day by day and is a real presence with which I’ve come to have a relationship with. I’ve noticed my colours and marks become calmer and more kind of subdued as a result. It’s totally subconscious and I can just see it when I look back over the work that I’ve created in the past 10 months I’ve been here. 
 

Rainville by Harriet Hoult, 2019

 
6. Artists often find the prospect of starting a new canvas daunting, is this true with you?
 
For me it's important not to think too much at the beginning or spend too much time looking at the blank canvas. I start by mixing up some watery washes and applying them, these first layers set the direction for the rest of the painting. 
 
 
8. If you could own any artwork from any artist, past or present, what would it be and why?
 
That’s a tricky one as there are so many that I’d love to own, but I think I’d say, Barbara Hepworth. There’s something so mystical to me about her work and it speaks to me in such a soulful way. 
 

Harriet in her studio

 
10. Over the next 6 months, will you be involved in any exhibitions where our collectors will be able to see your work?
 
I had to postpone a solo show in February at One Paved Court gallery in Richmond, which will be coming up again soon, no fixed date as yet. Other than that I have pieces in various galleries in London and throughout the UK. 
 
 
SEE MORE OF HARRIET'S ABSTRACT WORKS >>