With a deep love for hounds and a passion for England’s rural heritage, Paula Vize beautifully captures the personality of her subjects through her free and unrestricted style.Paula Vize grew up in rural West Sussex in the English countryside. Whilst she was at school, becoming an artist was widely recognised as a pursuit of those who were extraordinarily talented or extravagantly rich. For this reason, Paula pursued a future in retail management within high-fashion and for a short time worked with an Italian book dealer who taught her the art of restoring and colouring antique paper and bookplates. Her path aided her love of great design and a high-quality finish, a passion that stays with her to this day throughout all of her work. However, she feels the industry has progressed and now accommodates those who have an interest in the area but do not have a set medium - “For those who have the passion and work ethic, the opportunities are endless.”
Her path aided her love of great design and high-quality finish, a love that stays with her to this day throughout all of her work.
Having not pursued the career from an early stage Paula is self-taught in her medium, a route that she feels is better for her art. “Self-taught is better as there are no rules. If you haven’t been told what not to do then the sky is the limit, “ she enthuses, “It’s fantastic to have a lack of constraint, you can experiment, play around and do what you think might work, then you find different ways of capturing the subject.”
After moving into their family home, Paula maintained an interest in her art by frequently painting portraits for gifts. Paula began working with a friend to show their work in a local village hall, and over time she utilised the space in her back garden to create a beautifully sleek studio where she took the step to exhibit her work solo. This move allowed her to meet an art dealer who took great interest in her work and exhibited it all over the United Kingdom. Now Paula’s work can be found all over the world from Dubai to Australia.
I spend time with them in their environment and take a couple photo’s before painting them back at the studio. The small aspects of their personalities add to the art, if you take them out of context it doesn’t work so well.
Having experimented with oil and acrylics, Paula enjoys working in watercolour paint most. When painting children’s portraits, Paula prefers to use watercolour due to its luminous and free qualities. The fluidity of watercolour perfectly depicts the untarnished quality of a young child. “Oil can make a child look bored as it doesn't have the fight that watercolour has, it just does what it’s told.” Her use of acrylic and oil is seen in her larger pieces, where she chooses to paint on a boxed canvas creating a 3D effect that makes the eyes of her subjects follow you around the room. These mediums are particularly prominent in her hounds, in which Paula opts more for oil paint to create a bolder appearance highlighting the aspects of her subjects' personalities. Paula aims to have a free quality to her work, choosing to leave in brushstrokes or thumbprints that may occur naturally, which she feels add a sense of personal style.
Paula’s favourite piece was commissioned by the Cottesmore Hunt 350th year anniversary. This piece depicts the best hounds for the hunt and captures their varying personalities. Working closely to the hounds allowed her to see the differences in their personalities and, despite their varying breeds, how they enjoyed what they were doing. “You get some personalities,” Paula exclaims, “I met one once that was a regular George Clooney, he would even pose for the canvas when you brought it out.” The main subjects for Paula’s work are hounds and horses, though more recently she has been working with what she refers to as ‘mad chickens’, painting large and colourful head portraits of the birds. “You can do some wild things with feathers, but the chickens are a bit like marmite – you love them or hate them”
Her use of acrylic is seen in her larger pieces, where she chooses to paint on a boxed canvas to create a 3D effect that makes the eyes of her subjects follow you around the room.
Above all, Paula’s favourite part of her work is the commissions she works on. “I love getting to know the families, and having them asking me to come back for a piece of the next child, dog, or even grandchild as time goes on,” Paula explains, “You can see it as a compliment that people come back for another piece because they loved the last one.” Furthermore, Paula enjoys spending time with the children she paints on commissions. “I spend time with them in their environment and take a couple photos before painting them back at the studio,” Paula discusses, “It means I get to see their hierarchy and establish if there is a leader sibling, or if the child is quite shy. The small aspects of their personalities add to the art, if you take them out of context it doesn’t work so well.”
Whilst Paula states she does not have an interest in the shooting aspect of Fieldsports, she enjoys being part of the environment and witnessing the relationship between gundogs and their owners. One of Paula’s fondest interests is dogs, having established her affection as a child. She walks her two yellow Labradors for hours every day and currently has a young puppy, who at the time of talking was content with tearing apart her green beans.
Her entrance into The House of Bruar Art Gallery was established after our Managing Director, Patrick, took an interest in her work and got in touch wishing to exhibit it within our in-store gallery. This was a partnership Paula took with honour and is delighted to still be working with us in-store. “I think it’s great that The House of Bruar gives a place in the world for artists in this area, especially because it’s a more niche topic” Paula states.
We have a mini-exhibition of Paula’s work in our gallery now and a collection of her work online.