Nicky May has painted since she was a small child.Her career began in the voluntary sector, including Voluntary Service Overseas in Papua New Guinea and Kenya, senior management for Oxfam; then freelance working, evaluating the effectiveness of development projects in Africa and Asia. Throughout these travels, painting was her refuge, and a way of looking more closely at the world around her.Her formal art training was through the Open College of the Arts. She spent many years under the tutelage of Norman Rechter, a renowned European watercolourist, and more recently has been fired up by a series of workshops by the abstract landscape painter and teacher, Louise Fletcher.In 2002 she gained a Diploma in Studio Ceramics, and worked mainly as a potter for ten years, making sculptural pots.In 2012 she was “called”back to the easel by a strong need for colour and since then has concentrated on painting. She is a member of The Cornwall Watercolour Society, East Cornwall Society of Artists, and Art of Gwynngala.She has shown work in galleries and exhibitions through the South West and in Oxford and London.
“My work starts from the landscape, but is painted in the studio from the memory of how each place felt. This is helped by mark-making sketches made on site of details that caught my attention. As Robert MacFarlane says in “The Old Ways”, a place within the landscape corresponds to a place within the heart.I love the wild and natural places, which reward listening as well as intense looking. When I paint I am hoping to find echoes of all the people who have ever walked or ploughed here, as well as the impressions of the present moment.Through the seasons there is an ever-changing procession of flowers and vegetation, primrose and campion ceding to wild carrot and sorrel on the verges, and this feeds my passion for colour and texture. I paint mostly in acrylic and watercolour, enlivened with collage and marks made with watercolour pencils and wax crayons.My work is usually many layers deep, which perhaps adds depth and history to each piece.I paint mostly from instinct and memory, though there times when I need to analyse what a painting needs as it progresses.” Nicky May