What does your happy place look like? To Artist Sion Knight, it is amongst snow capped mountains and inside her bright and bold paintings. Sion shares her creative process with us, and why she paints for herself first and foremost; bringing her studio with her as she travels around the world.
Primarily, I paint because it is an expression of myself.
Tell us the story behind your vibrant paintings, what inspires you to paint these bright and bold mountain scenes?
I think sometimes you can just be naturally drawn to certain colours. When I paint I rarely have a plan; I just pick the colours I feel like using! I paint what I want to see. I love living in the mountains. I love to feel insignificant compared to nature –it makes me not worry so much!
I went to quite a religious school when I was younger and we were often told to think about what we think our version of heaven looks like. Although I am not religious, when I think about what my own heaven looks like, this is what I paint.
Travel seems to be a big inspiration for your work, what have been some of your most inspiring trips and places?
I love travelling and I will probably never stop. I am not sure how much my art is influenced by what I see outwardly or inwardly. All my best work is created when I feel happy!
Lots of beautiful places inspire me massively. Bansko in Bulgaria is one of my favourite places. It’s beautiful in the summer and in the winter and has a special place in my heart. I am actually moving there for a few months in January!
What emotions and messages do you hope to evoke within the viewer?
When I’m painting, the first thoughts I have are about myself. This sounds a bit selfish, but I paint what I want to paint and I hope someone else will like it too. The viewer doesn’t really come into it during my painting process! However, I do like to think that my work makes people feel happy but this is always secondary. Primarily, I paint because it is an expression of myself.
I’d say my work is more of a constant experimentation.
Walk us through your creative process … what are the different stages of your work?
I generally start by looking at a blank canvas for a while and just thinking loosely about colours. I tend to use spray paints to begin with which helps me later on with my composition. If there are parts of the spray painting I particularly like then I will paint around them instead of over them. This gives the painting an organic, unplanned vibe. I hardly ever tend to plan my work as this takes a lot of enjoyment out of it for me. I’d say my work is more of a constant experimentation.
I use oil paints on top of the spray paint to create more detail. I am a fan of using black lines throughout my paintings, which gives them a cartoony look. I also like to have multiple paintings on the go at once. When I think a painting is not going so well I hang it on a wall and stare at it for a few days until I know what to do next.
Describe your studio to us. How do you like to work and do you have any art rituals?
My studio spaces have changed quite a bit over the years. During the first lockdown my boyfriend’s mum kindly let me paint in their garage. I then moved to Devon and was living in my van so my space was very limited. Sometimes I’d actually have to paint sideways just to fit the canvas in! When I lived in France my studio was the walls of a nightclub which I painted a mural on. To me my studio is just wherever I am!
I love to feel insignificant in comparison to nature – it makes me not worry so much!
How does art and creativity affect your overall well-being? And how do you feel when you create?
When I paint it makes me feel happy, and I am the happiest when I’ve just finished painting something I absolutely love! I find it hard to be constantly creative which means I can put pressure on myself. I have to remind myself that creating “bad” art is better than creating no art!
What are your hopes and dreams as an artist?
My dream is to be an artist full time! I love selling prints of my works that are affordable for people, to make art inclusive to everyone. I would also like to complete more murals in 2021!
What have you got coming up that we can look out for?
I did have some murals coming up but they have been put on the back burner due to covid. At the moment my plan is to go out to Bulgaria to snowboard and paint whilst I am there.
To view more of Sion’s work: