ANNABELLE DAVIS - ART AND HER NEW WEBSITE TORTU
Aside from acting, I also like to paint. I have been drawing and painting from a young age, taking inspiration from anything around me. When I was born I had talipes in one of my feet which meant it was turned inwards. Unlike most kids, I couldn't run around as this was being corrected with a plaster cast, and so I used to sit and draw instead. I guess I have that situation to thank for my interest in art. (Please note - I never drew on the plaster cast as this was always kept immaculate by my Mum in a very long sock) It's because of this plaster cast that I now always wear socks. Always.
Whenever we were out, I would draw dresses and princesses, and make dolls out of napkins in restaurants, whilst wearing a 'Pirates of the Caribbean' hoodie. I was equally a 'tom-boy' and very girly girl at the same time. I had hundreds of books of drawings but I was very self critical, even back then, so I'm lucky my Mum and Dad rescued some from the bin so I at least have a few to look back on now.
I studied Art and Textiles at both GCSE and A-level and loved it, they were always my favourite subjects at school. My teachers always encouraged me to go bigger and push further.
I loved experimenting with techniques and styles, trying to find something unique. Whilst doing this, I discovered my lovely vet for watercolours, my primary medium. I work very quickly with heavy amounts of water which means my art constantly changes. The colours and contours are very organic and in some ways random. I take inspiration from trips that we have taken, places we have visited and create something more than just a painting. For example, I love theatre and have been fortunate to spend a lot of time there, both in the audience and back stage. The atmosphere and excitement back stage is amazing, and I wanted to capture that so I created a dressing room mirror, with lights, make up and champagne. Except in place of a mirror I painted the reflection of the room. Looking back, the painting itself isn't one of my best but I still love the whole concept of this piece.
I really enjoyed creating a more immersive experience and so wanted to pursue it further. For my next project I focused on turtles. The colours and textures of their shells are so beautiful and I would paint them for hours. But then I thought, let's go further. I ended up making a near full-size Turtle out of scrap metal, filled with plastic carrier bags to symbolise how the polluted seas are affecting sea life. My Dad taught me how to solder, helped me work out the metal structure and took me to a scrapyard to pick out old cans and machine parts, it was so much fun. This was the first time I felt like my art was trying to say something more.
During my second year of A-Levels, I started working on 'The Dumping Ground'. Whilst away from home, I found it really helped me to relax and escape. During this time I thought I would have a go at oil painting. A completely different way of working and a challenge that I defiantly needed. I'm quite strange in the way I paint. When I start a piece, I like to finish it. I might sit for 7 hours straight to make sure its finished. I have a feeling that pieces I have started in the past may never get finished. (Or in some arty way, were they never meant to be completed? - but that's a bit too deep for me).
My Mum and Dad have always been very supportive of my art. Dad always helps with the bigger projects requiring more muscle. He isn't such a fan of oil paints though as once he unknowingly leaned in some yellow paint that he had admired the colour off and consequently distributed it around the house in various places, including on the dog. Sherlock was not happy either!
I also sometimes have a brainwave in the middle of the night and absolutely have to put it on paper which sometimes means painting in bed. In my slightly dreary state, the duvet sometimes becomes one with the paper and looks equally as intriguing in the morning, not so much to my Mum though!
Nowadays, I mainly paint animals. Sea-life, in particular, is one of my favourite subjects, and also the occasional portrait which I am keen to improve on. Watercolours are far easier to travel with, meaning I can paint just about anywhere.
As this acting business is very unpredictable, my parents suggested I have a back up plan, as any actor should. This is when I decided to sell my art online. The website was great and people seemed to love it! However, I wasn't content there. For my latest venture, I'm taking on something a little different. I'm a lover of all things quirky and wanted to have a go at creating my own range of unique gifts and accessories, such as enamel pins, mugs and stickers. And so my brand 'Tortu' was born. It has been in the making for a while now and I'm delighted to be able to share it with you now: tortu.co.uk