We’re pretty excited about this one! We’d like to introduce our April’s Manc of the Month, Georgia Noble. Georgia’s creates unbelievably stunning abstract landscape work. Her mix of colours, textures and the way she creates atmosphere in her work is incredible. We chatted with Georgia to find out more about her career, what her studio day is like and find out more about her pet dog Connie!
Cotton On MCR: Please introduce yourself and your work to our Cotton on MCR readers.
Georgia Noble: ‘My name is Georgia Noble, I’m 29 and I’m an artist, originally from Blackpool. I now live and work in Manchester, which was also where I attended the Manchester School of Art and graduated in 2015 with a BA in Fine Art. I’m predominantly an oil painter and create what I call ‘abstract landscapes.’
‘Currently, I am based at AWOL Studios in the historic Hope Mill in the Ancoats, where I have been a resident there for the past few years, amidst a variety of different artists and creative businesses.’
COM: Where does the inspiration from your work come from?
GN: ‘The inspiration for my work comes from a few different places. I’ve always been a huge lover of nature and the outdoors and so I find that when I’m out walking I take in the scenery around me and, whilst I don’t work directly from photographs, I like to take pictures and make a note of different landscapes and skies, as well as how certain colours look and work together.’
‘Colour itself is an enormous inspiration to me. It’s a huge part of my practice and when you’re working with oil paint and you realise you can do so much to blend and alter it, that in itself is incredibly inspiring. I often find that when I am in awe of another artist’s work, it’s the palette that has drawn me in and has got me questioning why they’ve made certain creative decisions.’
‘I also just love how I feel when I paint and when I look at art – how it transports you. I crave painting and the feeling of peace that I get inside my own mind.’
COM: What is your painting process?
GN: ‘My process for creating ‘abstract landscapes’ starts off with usually one or two colours on the canvas, thinly applied all over and then scrubbed back with a rag to give the initial base to work on. I then choose each colour as I go and add a layer or a mark in an organic, abstract manner and build up the painting. I often use a rubber tool that I will scrape back into sections to remove paint and reveal sections underneath. Some of these movements I do are quick and bold and let paint splatter onto the canvas and drip down, whilst other areas I do with a slower, more deliberate, thoughtful pace. For these calmer areas I enjoy using a flat brush to create smooth blended areas of stillness and create gradients between colours.’
‘As I don’t work from a photograph, or have a final image or composition in mind, my process can vary substantially from one painting to the next, as they are each made by responding to decisions as I go along. This can also mean that some paintings are finished a lot faster than others. A large portion of the painting process is carried out in this looser, abstract manner and is focused on colour and interesting marks, as opposed to a structure. However, once I see a composition beginning to emerge, I then alter my technique to make more deliberate, conscious decisions that allude to landscape in a subtle way.’
COM: Want do you want viewers to take away from your paintings?
GN: ‘The subjectivity of my work means that people see different things in the paintings. I like to play around with the titles, and often include elements that I see myself, but I get so much joy out of what people tell me they see when they look at them and so their own interpretation is what I want viewers to take from them, as well as a little bit of rest bite from the chaos of life.’
COM: What challenges have you faced in your career and how have you overcome them/what have you learnt from them?
GN: ‘When I left university, I was still incredibly nervous to call myself an artist. I was far removed from any kind of art scene and was working in a shed at the bottom of my parents’ garden and thought I had to have all the answers and act like I knew exactly what I was doing in order to be perceived as an artist by my peers. However, as I’ve gotten more confident in my work and my practice over the years, I’ve become much more open to asking for help and asking questions and admitting when I don’t know how something will turn out. And it’s been such a relief!’
‘I have also learned to stand my ground a bit more and to not always automatically say ‘yes’ to everything. In the past I have agreed to do commissions where I have been persuaded away from work I would normally produce, instead of staying true to my own practice. However, since these earlier incidents I have established a much more personal approach to how I take on commissions that allow for me to paint freely and yet still meet requests.’
COM: We love ‘Rainbow Laces & Flying Tortillas’ can you tell us more about this piece?
GN: ‘Thank you so much! This painting demonstrates a lot of elements of the way I like to work. It was a fun one to make but I remember it being difficult to finish. The marks made in it are playful and chaotic, so letting them sit within the pictorial space to create a final composition was really challenging. However, I feel like I got them to balance in the end with the addition of the minimal grey sky that floats down from the top to coat the structures in cloud. When I was titling the piece, I had to lean back into that playful side and simply called it what I saw within it.’
COM: What is your favourite piece of work that you’ve made and why?
GN: ‘I think my favourite piece would have to be a painting called ‘Fire in the Sky’ that I made in 2020. It was a painting that I’d been working on for quite a long time and was getting frustrated with. I couldn’t see a final composition emerging and was starting to question about taking it off the stretcher and discarding it altogether. However, I really pushed on with it and it ended up turning out to be, in my opinion, the strongest painting that I’d made. So, it was a big lesson in perseverance, and it still gives me hope on the studio days where I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere.’
COM: What is a day like in Georgia’s shoes?
GN: ‘On a studio day, I get up and put on my paint splattered jumpsuit. I start by taking my dog, Connie, for a walk, so that when I get to AWOL she will just snooze in a sunny spot in the studio. I usually have a few pieces on the go at once to allow for drying time, so I’ll make a coffee and decide which painting to go back to first, or whether to start a new one. I might hang a couple on the wall and stare intently at them for a while, but I find that it’s good having these little moments of contemplation to assess possible colour combinations or if I want to flip a composition around. Or even to identify if something’s not working on a piece in progress.’
‘I usually listen to music and find that influences the way I work best. I can usually paint for hours at a time and get completely lost in it, but if there’s a day where I’m not quite in the flow of it I tend to switch between different pieces to find if my mood suits working on something in particular.’
‘I’ll take a break and take Connie out again for a bit of fresh air by the canal and then head back in to continue. I’ll paint usually until the early evening and don’t particularly like to finish a day without feeling like I’ve made a certain amount of progress or won a battle that I’ve been having with a difficult section of a painting.’
COM: Finally, if you could live in any piece of artwork, what would it be any why?
GN: ‘One painting, or rather a selection of paintings, sprung to mind when I read this question. When I was 15 my parents took me to see Monet’s Waterlilies at Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris. It was one of the first times I thought about being an artist and I was so content in that gallery. Because of how they display these enormous, beautiful paintings in oval shaped rooms, with the skylight above, you really feel like you’re transported physically to Monet’s garden, moving around inside the paintings. I have been back multiple times since and always get that same familiar feeling of serenity there and could happily live inside those pieces forever.’