I am an artist and designer living and working in York, UK.

My background and training is in graphic design and illustration and I have worked as a designer for over 20 years, running Bivouac (my design practice) for over 12 years.

My paintings and drawings explore the natural environment and the human form, and are often elemental, instinctive and textural. Inspired by movement, shifting light and changing weather conditions, I aim to capture the character and uniqueness of people and place. I work mainly in oils, graphite, acrylic and watercolour.

My landscape painting process typically begins with en plein air studies on paper, and sketches. I often spend many days exploring and studying a place in order to observe its unique qualities of light, colour, texture and atmosphere, at all times of day and in different weather conditions. These works on paper and sketches are direct and instinctive responses to the environment and have a loose and immediate quality to them. When back at the easel, I use them to trigger memories and emotions and to inspire my studio paintings.

As well as landscape paintings, I paint and draw the human form. My figurative paintings are inspired by life studies and the character of the models. I attend regular life sessions and often invite models to the studio for longer studies. I like to explore fluid lines and colour, often in graphite, charcoal and acrylic. For longer studies and portraits over a number of sittings, I use oil.

Sketching from Ynys Gifftan, North Wales

Sketching from Ynys Gifftan, North Wales

In September 2019, I moved from my studio in Castlegate, York, to ‘The Gallery Studio’, Arnup Studios – a newly-opened complex of purpose-built work spaces for artists and makers. I hope the move will enable me to work collaboratively with the other artists on site, open my studio to the public more readily, develop my work into monoprinting, and allow me to work at a larger scale. It is an exciting time for my art practice.

I am a member of York Artworkers’ Association, SAA, AN, CuratorSpace and the Chartered Society of Designers.

Please contact me if you would like to arrange a visit to the studio.

Find out how to purchase, exhibit or commission my work

...and here's me in the studio!

In the studio – happy in my work!  (pic © Olivia Brabbs)

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(Page header photo © Olivia Brabbs)