Observing the change of seasons over lockdown, artist Sammi Lynch summons a sense of place and memory
Transport yourself back to the dusky skies and rippling dunes of summer with the London-based artist's deeply evocative works.
- Jyni Ong
- 9 February 2021
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
During the first lockdown, artist Sammi Lynch had the pleasure of looking after a dog. Most mornings, she would journey with the dog from her flat in Stoke Newington to Walthamstow wetlands for a walk. And over the course of a year, Sammi and the dog witnessed the seasons subtly changing before them. As golden brown leaves dropped to the ground leaving trunks bare, and as the days shortened while frost crept in, Sammi observed the shifting seasons that she wouldn’t have noticed in previous years. She tells us: “I found the colourful swell of spring especially uplifting and inspiring.” In turn, she started to channel the landscape’s subtleties into her beautiful illustrative work.
Having grown up in the north west of England, Sammi studied for an Art Foundation at Manchester Met before enrolling at Kingston University’s Illustration and Animation undergraduate course. Once graduated, she worked in set design while developing her drawing and painting practice in her spare time. Hoping to hone in on this artistry further, she recently started studying at The Drawing Year – a scholarship program run by The Royal Drawing School.
Sammi’s evocative drawings, doused in earthy pastel smudges and silky smooth textures, are all about summoning a sense of place and memory. “I tend to emphasise the dreamy aspects of landscape forms and their colours,” she says, providing the viewer with an immersive experience of wandering through burnt orange skies, heavenly peach pink dunes and swaying grasslands. Sammi is not just a one trick pony, however; she’s just as good at depicting people as she is landscapes. Recently, she’s started drawing people close to her – the people she’s looking forward to spending time with when it’s safe. As for now, she can draw the people she loves, something she’s planning to expand into a larger body of work.
Friends have always been an essential part of Sammi’s work, inspiring her and supporting her through whatever creative endeavours may come her way. “I have always learned the most from working alongside other creative people,” she explains. And for this reason, she can’t wait to get back into the studio to get to know her new peers. While people are important bystanders to Sammi’s process, her drawings on the other hand, tend to focus on landscapes. Last summer, she made a series of pastel drawings titled Spanish Streets, capturing the tall trees and white houses of Barcelona.
As she wasn’t able to travel, she found herself reminiscing about her trip the year before. Memories from last year inspire the drawings and Sammi found herself going back to the hot streets to recreate the vivid atmospheres. “I have really strong memories of walking from the sea back to the train station with my sister and our friends and seeing everything so vibrantly,” she says on the vivid picture clear in her mind’s eye. Drawing from life is a big part of her practice, but given the recent restrictions, Sammi has developed an ability to translate a picturesque scene into drawings.
Literature and photographs also influence the artist's work, and altogether, a myriad of sources converge to build an artistic interpretation. “The images are not clear ‘representations’ of places,” she adds, “but impressions that build up different layers of experience.” In the next year, it’s a skill that Sammi hopes to build on while finishing her studies at The Royal Drawing School. She may only be in the first few weeks of her studies there, but already, she remarks, “I’ve learnt so much.” The intensity of the drawing exercises will hopefully be a transformative experience for the rising artist, and having shown work at places like the Blue Shop Cottage Gallery and in publications like It’s Freezing in LA, the future is full of promise for Sammi. Other than that, she’s also excited to experience art in the flesh once more, delve deeper into ceramics and make such larger paintings too.
Sammi Lynch: The Biggest Tree, 26.5x19, Oils On Primed Paper (Copyright © Sammi Lynch, 2020)
About the Author
Jyni became a staff writer in March 2019 having previously joined the team as an editorial assistant in August 2018. She graduated from The Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Communication Design in 2017 and her previous roles include Glasgow Women’s Library designer in residence and The Glasgow School of Art’s Graduate Illustrator.