Faye Eleanor Woods: Keeper Of The Hounds

Faye Eleanor Woods

Artwork’s Title: Keeper of the Hounds

Material Used: Raw pigment, acrylic ink and oil

Studio Based: Manchester, UK

Faye Eleanor Woods, Keeper of the Hounds, 2021, raw pigment, acrylic ink and oil on canvas, 127 x 97 cm

Can you tell us about the process of making your work?

I start off with a messy sketch. I sit with an idea for a while and then I develop it through more and more drawings. I’m getting better at being less preoccupied with the details, but overall I plan quite a lot. I then make my stretchers, prep some rabbit skin glue and mix my colours. I make my own paints with pigments so I can be quite experimental. The beginning of a painting is painful for me, it seems to start of so quickly and almost pour out of me but then comes the period of hatred. I always hate the work I make for a good while. But I paint quickly so I tend to only look at the piece for a week.

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?

Honest, Icky and a good time.

Could you share with us some insights on your recent work ‘Keeper of the Hounds’ (2021)? Is there any particular story behind this new painting?

This is a good painting to talk about because for once it isn’t about me! For my dissertation I wrote about the validity of humour in grief and while researching I became engrossed in stories about court jesters. Better known as The Fool, jesters were actually really high up members of the court and not just a laugh. They had lots of duties, one of them being keeper of the hounds. That idea just stuck with me, because I too am a fucking fool that somehow has to navigate the normal world and keep a job.

Intensive hues of red colour dominate this recent painting. Taking into consideration the work’s development as well as its story, was there any particular reason for picking up this colour?

There’s two answers to this question really. 1. (It’s an extremely lame answer) I’d become so bored of painting in the same sort of palettes. I really favour blues and greys and I just wanted something fresh. 2. I’m obsessed with the idea of the colours in a painting all having the same tonal value. Red is great for that because It can be both bright and a mid-tone and its value is the same as a lot of bright green which I also love working with.

This is mentioned in your art statement: “Faye imagines drinking straight from the tap of all emotion, drinking so much of it, she takes on too much and is sick and everything she spews out ends up in her work”. Besides the direct reflection of your inner world on canvases, are you also aiming to pass a message to your viewers while observing your works ?

I never think about the audience. I think if I did I’d get too self-conscious and hide all my work from the world. If I could decide what the viewer feels I’d like them to just feel the truth in my work. To know I’m not lying about my experiences and feelings.

It looks evident that you are very keen on a visually goofy and vivid portraiture. Is it likea current painting series that you try to concentrate on this period or different kind of styles and motifs interest you as well?

I think I’m just constantly trying to develop the way I paint. I don’t ever want to get stuck repeating the same kind of work. I guess they naturally end up being a sort of series but I’m terribly unprofessional and rarely think about it like that. I try to constantly question the way I make work and try to bring in different ways of exploring an idea.

Where do you draw inspiration in order to build up your imagery? Is your portraiture only related to personal memories or are you also into more random figures on your canvases?

Really I’m very very selfish. Most of the imagery is completely self-obsessed haha. No, not really- I think I just struggle to process things that happen to me and painting them always helps. But I try to keep an open mind and let inspiration come to me naturally. One day it might be a personal memory but the next it might be an episode of Jonathan Creek.

Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, that you take inspiration from?

Really I soak up inspiration from everywhere and it changes daily. Right this second I’d say: Lindsey Mendick, Kai Althoff, Alice Watkins and Guglielmo Castelli.

What about the place where you work? Whatdoes your studio space look like?

I’m currently studio-less and to be honest with you I’ve been working from home since the pandemic began. So mainly my studio space has been a tiny spare room that I shared with a freezer. Regardless of where I am my studio is a mess. A HUGE mess. I love to work on the floor and I never have a proper palette so there’s always lots of jars, open pigments, dirty paint brushes and crisp packet palette’s everywhere.

What do your mum and dad think about your art?

Haha, I think they’re both very very proud but they don’t exactly want my work on their wall. They’ve always been incredibly supportive and have never questioned my subject matter.

What are your plans for the near future?

Well, I’m currently having the life sucked outta me by renovating my house with my lovely man. So making work is occurring in the rare evenings where I’m not painting my house. I’d ideally just like to continue making what feels right and see where the wind takes me!

Additional Images

Faye Eleanor Woods, Portrait, Studio Shot
Faye Eleanor Woods, She’s been snogging the sun, 2021, raw pigment, acrylic ink and oil on canvas, 55 x 40 cm
Faye Eleanor Woods, Havin’ a Party, 2021, raw pigment, acrylic ink on canvas, 152.4 x 223.5 cm
Faye Eleanor Woods, Oh no!Is that me?, 2021, raw pigment, acrylic ink and oil on canvas, 35.5 x 30 cm
Faye Eleanor Woods, Ridin’ (pony) snail, 2021, raw pigment, acrylic and oil on canvas



All images courtesy of the artist

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