Artist profile - Loren Somerville, Harthill
PUBLISHED: 00:00 02 October 2017
Loren Somerville is based in Harthill, deep in the Cheshire countryside. No wonder she’s inspired by horses, farm animals and scenery.
Tell us about yourself, your family and where you grew up.
I’m Loren Somerville, a full-time artist and I’m 29. I was brought up on Christmas Tree Farm in Ash, Shropshire. I went to Whitchurch Primary School, Sir John Talbot’s Technology College and Chester University. My gallery is the Lady Longhorn Gallery in Harthill, with arguably the best views in Cheshire. As a family, we started the Cheshire Art Hub which offers lots of art services under one roof including framing, gallery, printing, scanning, resin finishing and art workshops. My father, John, is Harthill Framing and my sister-in-law, Bex, established Millie Prints.
When did you start enjoying art?
I started drawing and painting as a child; every Christmas I was given painting by numbers; my paintings were always far looser and more colourful than the box showed. Even then I used to make up my own colour rules!
What inspires you?
My biggest inspiration in life has always been my family, my grandfather in particular. He was one of the most inspirational people I was blessed to have been encouraged by. Grandpa farmed at Egerton in Cheshire and in 1967 his herd contracted foot and mouth disease. He had to cull the entire herd, meaning extremely uncertain times ahead. With the dilemma of how he was to earn a living Grandpa risked everything ploughing up over 300 acres of grass land. He started Cheshire’s first self-pick fruit farm growing fruit and veg which went on to be extremely fruitful in more ways than one. I’m inspired by most elements of farming. I’ve had lots of commissions covering landscapes, tractors and most farm animals...cows, pigs, sheep, chickens.
When did your love of horses start?
I have always loved horses particularly their bone structure, beauty and how gracefully they move. I don’t own one but perhaps one day I will when I have a family.
Have you had any formal training with your art?
I studied at Chester University gaining a 1:1 BA Honours Degree in Fine Art but you’ll be a bit baffled to hear I never picked up a paint brush in the three years I was there – it was purely conceptual and ideas based. It really taught me to think outside the box which has served me fantastically in life.
How would you describe your style?
Energetic, fun and uplifting. I generally lose myself in my paintings and love every minute so I hope this passion transcends onto the viewer and that they take the same enjoyment from it.
What is your favourite medium to use and why?
I paint in all mediums but definitely acrylic, spray paint and gold leaf, simply because they seems to do what I want them to do, more than the others!
We love your use of colour.
I’m absolutely mad about colour. You will always see lots of blues and purples in my work, I’m slightly obsessed! I just use colours that feel good.
What type of people commission paintings from you?
They are mainly animal lovers, particularly equine owners. I’m about to start painting for the owner of one of Britain’s most prestigious fine porcelain ware companies. We had Jon Stroud, Olympic photographer, come out on a home shoot, where my sister and I will soon be painting a 6’ x 8’ oil painting of his daughter’s horse called ‘Alvo’ who is bit of a miracle horse actually, surviving a severe foot problem.
What has been your biggest accomplishment as an artist?
When I was 15, I was assigned the task of painting a portrait. I took this portrait into school and nearly all the teachers came to see it and from then on commissions flocked in. I was even commissioned to paint the headmistress’s family portrait as a leaving present.
What is the best advice you have been given as an artist?
Be original, paint from the heart and what feels right, never give up and always value your time and have confidence in what you paint.
Do you make a living from your art?
It depends which day of the week you ask me! On a serious note, I am blessed that I have a waiting list of commissions. They are always my bread and butter money.
What other hobbies do you have?
I live quite a simple life. I love spending time with my family and taking my dogs on walks up the hills. I do like to spend time outdoors as most of my working time is spent indoors.