Location: United Kingdom
I received my first real watercolour box at age 10, to keep me amused on our first holiday to Scotland, I will never forget; the caravan was on the very bank of Loch Lomond and each night dozens of ducks would waddle up to settle beneath us, So began my clumsy attempts at water and birds.
This holiday was followed by many happy times in our own caravan in Norfolk, which embedded water and birds into my soul.
At home I was surrounded with pattern, shape and colour and my Mothr worked in textiles, teaching needlework and pattern cutting among other things. These aspects are ‘in my blood’, it could be no other and I was encouraged to draw, sew and knit. I am sure that is why I now immerse myself in lino plate cutting to create my colourful design led work.
My schooling took me to Wellingborough High School for Girls where I was lucky enough to have 2 Art Tutors; one who emphasised drawing and Art History, the other was a Sculptor at heart and I owe him loads, although I didn’t realise it at the time.
After ‘A’ levels I went to Coventry College specialising in paint and sculpture, but left after a while to work in industry designing for screen print, where I stayed until my Husband and I had a family.
As my two boys grew up I needed more and returned to Tresham College for four years studying textile design where I was re-introduced to Printmaking and as they say ‘The rest is history’.
As you know since a child I have camped and caravanned. Then my Husband and I boated - we had a narrowboat for 30 years, which we built ourselves from the floor up - and for the last 10 years caravanned again, always in, on or by water: have you ever been deep underwater when it is raining? The droplets dive deep down before rising to the surface again, leaving the most amazing shapes above your head - reminiscent of water made stalactites, if you can imagine such a wonder.
Being so close to the outdoors in these flimsy vessels, I realise that from the drumming of a downpour, to the sigh of a leaf or the patter of tiny claws when birds come to sip the dew from the roof, every nuance creeps into your awareness. In a house you are somehow separated - insulated from the natural signs of the elements.
The way the Moon pulls the Sea
And I see that this awareness is what all my newest work is about; the way the Moon pulls the sea; the Suns’ solstices create great storms; the wind mould the shapes of trees and crumbles even stone away. This is what makes these new pieces so powerful. They are coming from my heart and my gut, based yes, on memories of places, but all showing the influence of my unconscious mind which has devoured all these feelings since I was so small. They tap into the honesty of my inner reactions to the wonder, the strength of the elements which mould our world.
Annette Elizabeth Sykes
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