North Cornwall Artist Nina Brooke
Nina Brooke is a Cornish Seascape artist based in Rock on Cornwall's north coast. Using a mix of mediums such as oil, acrylic, texture and watercolour to keep her work fresh and forever changing, Nina draws her inspiration from the county we call home. We met up with her to learn more about how Cornwall influences her work.
Can you describe your style of art?
My style of art is very colourful, vibrant and full of life. There is a positive energy that underlies my work, I always look to convey the feeling that one gets from being by the sea. The sea gives you a new energy that I look to depict in my paintings. Quite often I want to bottle up the energy from the water and take it back home with me.
Where did your passion for art come from?
My interest in art came from my family and the people growing up around me. My mother was a ceramist, my aunt a portrait painter, my brother a designer. I couldn't escape it! Fascinated by my grandfather's drawings, he taught me at a very young age how to gain perspective, about mark making and about light and distance... "Never use an eraser!" he would say. I won't forget that! At 10 - I was making mistakes all the time! Then, when I was introduced to colour in my teens, I was off, I used colour as a way of expression and loved the way you could make something out of nothing out of a tube. Drawing a mark, or slapping paint with a loaded brush are very expressive ways of releasing your ideas and thoughts on canvas.
How did you get started as an artist?
Although I have been painting for 10 years since I was 16 years old, only now do I call myself an artist. It's always been something that I have been applying myself to over the years. I've learnt that it's important to master your skill, build up your foundation and give yourself the time to fully commit to being "an artist". Like many things you have to put in the hours to train and master your techniques, and hone the things that make up your blueprint as an artist. It's like a musician or an athlete - they don't grow overnight.
Is there a piece that you are most proud of?
Well there have definitely been a few pieces of work that have been landmarks in my time. The first big landscape, the first big wreck or the first sea swimmer painting. I have always wanted to recreate these pieces, but with original work - you can't quite catch the energy or moment you created them in. And every painting ends up different. When an idea comes to life, or work has turned out better then expected through just going for it; then you can step back from the canvas and think... yeah that's finished, that will do.
If you weren’t creating art, what would you be doing?
Great question! I would love to have a surf holiday retreat in a beautiful tropical surf spot - I'd spend my time hosting and teaching surfing and yoga! I love being around people and the sea, I think it's the perfect mix.
Where are your favourite places in Cornwall?
One of my favourite places in Cornwall is Gwynver Beach, near Sennen, for its pure turquoise waters and white sandy beach. I get a lot of inspiration for my sea swimmers there because its waters are crystal clear and you can see miles out to sea. I always feel a big connection to its simplicity and its humbleness. I even love the man who lets you park in his field to check the surf and sells his homemade jams out of a log cabin.
Where do you go when you need to feel inspired?
When I'm lacking in inspiration my first port of call is getting into the sea for a surf or a swim. Otherwise I walk along the cliff tops and look out to the vast amounts of Atlantic Ocean. You can't beat living here in Cornwall - it's a blessing to call this home.
What is your top tip to unwind?
I would say yoga or a run, something to get the mind thinking about nothing. Yoga really helps you keep in contact with all parts of your body, we can easily ignore the forgotten muscles! 20 minutes practice in the morning before work or in the evening helps you focus on what's really important to you. Failing that, a G & T!
Where is your ultimate holiday destination?
I went to Morocco to Surf Maroc the Amouage in March and I was in paradise! I'd go back there in a flash, I highly recommend it! But the ultimate destination would be a surf boat trip to the Maldives, that's the dream! I've heard amazing things!
What’s on your playlist at the moment?
I'm such a mix tape at the moment - I'm a big fan of Nathan Ball - Cold Hands, Paul Simon - Graceland, Charlie Cummingham - Minimum, Bears Den - Above the Clouds of Pompeii, Daryl Hall - I Can't Go for That, Fleetwood Mac - Everywhere and Marvin Gaye - Got to Give it Up. I run through a lot of music in the studio to entertain the time.
What is your favourite piece from the Celtic and Co. Summer collection?
There are so many! I love the new Classic Leather Jacket, the striped Organic Cotton T-Shirt and the Leather and Canvas Duffle Bag! I have to say the duffle bag is a real winner. And can I say one more... the Stripe Boxy Jumper! What I'm wearing!
If you would like to see more of Nina's work, she will be exhibiting at the Rock Institute, in Rock, North Cornwall, from the 16th-22nd June, and then at Glastonbury Festival in Camp Kerala from the 22nd-26th June. To see more of her work online, visit her website www.ninabrooke.co.uk or follow her on instagram @nina_brooke_artist.