As an artist inspired by the day-to-day goings-on of public space, Christabel Forbes found a wealth of new inspiration when on residency in India. Part of the Royal Drawing School and International Institute of Fine Arts programme that selected four artists for the residency in Modinagar, a small village near New Delhi, Christabel looked to soak up the atmosphere.
“My experience in India was full of life!” she says. “Every day would be a new experience with new friends and stories to tell. Being able to sketch on the street was a big novelty, and people were curious to know what I was doing. I took away so much culture, connecting with the community and sharing my love for drawing, which is still being used to capture these memories."
Christabel says she collects information for a drawing by sketching outside to capture the scenery before working on the final piece from a studio. She uses mixed media including oil pastels, oil, pencil, colour pencils, coloured pen and watercolour, preferring to experiment with materials according to the work, and is inspired by Matisse. “His way of depicting space with colour has helped me push my drawings into new media and experiment more. I also like Gauguin for his colour palette and Vuillard’s mark making.”
For her residency, Christabel was drawn to busy places of congregation. “I would often go drawing on the busy streets and tried to find a space to blend in. I found the community was very happy for me to draw within their space, settling at a doorstep or by a tea stand to observe. The daily activities that I was most drawn to were markets, the place people would gather to work and socialise. Locals would often start noticing me, come and talk, ask for a portrait, give you offerings, invitations to welcome their guest, and of course lots of chai tea!”
“My style is a combination of patterns and narrative, so after the residency my work has really benefited from the busy Indian scenes and its warm, bright colours,” she summarises.
The work is part of Turmeric, an exhibition at the Daniel Raphael Gallery also featuring Lottie Stoddart, Tyga Helme and Matthew Cunningham, who took part in the residency alongside Christabel. The show is on from 20 June – 10 July.
- Spin studio shares its latest work and how to perk up "depressed-looking" v’s
- Animator Dan Castro tackles the intricacies of relationships in this funny short
- “I don't want to lose my connection with the tangible”: illustrator Jack Taylor on his new digital and 3D process
- Greta Thorkels: a graphic designer creating Gilmore Girls zines and record sleeves
- Grégory Michenaud’s ongoing project sees him explore identity in a Hasidic Jewish community
- Photographer Gilleam Trapenberg explores macho culture against rose-tinted skies in Big Papi
- The New York Times Magazine’s new cover is actually a painting
- BBC’s new typeface BBC Reith is designed to improve legibility on screen
- “It needs to be normalised that women masturbate”: meet illustrator Jordyn McGeachin
- Life through the lens of enchanting photographer Vicki King
- Six months in the (enviable) life of photographer Ryan Lowry
- We get to know hilarious and thoughtful illustrator, Ruby Etc