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.

I’ve always been a scribbler and am passionate about colour. I like to paint at a scale that allows me to be gestural, using light and shade, colour and texture to create work that is from an emotional source. Sketchbooks and scrapbooks are used as references for my paintings, and I use them to trigger memories and feelings when back in the studio. When the British weather allows, I work ‘plein air’ to capture the energy I get when outside in the elements.

Sketching from Ynys Gifftan, North Wales

Sketching from Ynys Gifftan, North Wales

Even when the weather doesn’t allow oil painting, regular plein air expeditions result in many works on paper, often in graphite and watercolour. These are direct and instinctive responses to the environments and have a free and loose quality to them. I often have to work with the weather conditions and you can see the rain drops on some of them! These are my working documents, but I also produce giclée prints from them for sale.

In my figurative work, I aim to capture the character of the model, and enjoy working with models who have their own sense of style or who have a confidence or character that shines out in a drawing or painting. When painting people, I work from life, quickly and intuitively, using a mixture of mediums depending on the subject and the number of sittings.

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)


(Page header photo © Olivia Brabbs)