Paintings in progress by Faye Bridgwater

Artist Faye Bridgwater tells us all about her work, Artists Open Houses, and what she loves about May

Hopping onto our Zoom call, a bundle of energy and joy, was Brighton-based artist Faye Bridgwater. Immediately I was enticed by how much of Faye’s personality is transferred into her paintings. “I paint like this,” she shows me, pointing to the vertical canvases. “And then they look like this” she says, turning them horizontally. Behind her was a complete backdrop of colour as though she had found herself buried deep inside a rainbow cave. It was in fact her shed at the back of her garden . A retreat where Faye’s creativity has the emancipation to bounce between four wooden walls and transform into the brush strokes on a canvas. 

Most of Faye’s excitement and passion was bursting from the thought of May quickly approaching – her favourite month. Walking around the city, you may have noticed flyers and posters for Brighton Festival, Fringe, The Great Escape and Artists Open Houses popping up. “It’s an absolute party city!” Faye exclaims thinking about spring truly blossoming. Artists Open Houses is what Faye is most looking forward to as she will be at two venues this year. 

The first venue Faye will appear at is part of the Kemptown Trail.

Head to Understory Sat 6 – Sun 28 May for the delightful combination of art and nature. Here you can discover Faye Bridgwater’s latest collection of original floral and landscape paintings as well as her limited edition prints amidst the abundant foliage of a charming plant shop. Inspired by the stunning Sussex coastline and the natural world, Faye’s vibrant art is perfectly complemented by the lush greenery of this plant-filled oasis. Understory, 4 Church Place, Brighton, BN2 8EZ .

Faye-Bridgwater-Blooms-Limited-Edition

Also mark your calendars for Fri 19 – Sun 21 May to see Faye’s work on the Hanover Trail.

This exhibition features Faye’s largest paintings to date, capturing her pure emotional joy of paint. Held at The Ballroom, an intriguing venue in the heart of Hanover which is now open after 50 years, the immense and interesting space provides the perfect contrast to Faye’s vibrant and bold brushstrokes. She is utilising the space to create an uplifting and inspiring experience that is not to be missed. 10am-5.30pm

Asking Faye where she finds inspiration, she tells me she is constantly creatively charged by the photography posted in ‘Brighton Skies’.

Brighton Skies is a Facebook group created by Faye Bridgwater with over 43k group members. It is a “wonderfully positive place about sharing the joy of looking up” she tells me. While there are some incredibly talented photographers in the group, Faye’s favourite posts are by the amateurs who capture images of the sky when they are out and about. I ask aboutthe process of starting this group. Faye explains how it was all very quick, flicking ideas between ‘Brighton Sunsets’ or ‘Brighton Dusk’ before landing on the chosen name. “I shared it with a few mates and artists” and now “I can’t believe it gets seen all around the world!” The virtual group embodies the collective creativity that radiates across our city, something Faye is all about. 

Faye is not originally from Brighton however. She tells me about how she would commute here from Watford to work in a gallery. “I’ve always wanted to live by the sea” she reminisces, “my brother and sister and law live in Seven Dials so [my husband and I] were always visiting.” It was thirteen years ago when her husband got a job at Gatwick and they took the opportunity to move.

“I still pinch myself. I cannot believe that I can go and paddle right now if I wanted to.”

She shares an awe and excitement that I am sure all Brightonians can all relate to. Faye continues, “we go on holiday and camp and it’s utterly inspiring living here. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

Faye-Bridgwater-Faye-in-her-Studio

Everyday Faye finds herself going for a walk to the sea or the racecourse, which she labels as a real hidden gem in Brighton. “You can see all the way to Worthing or down to the pier!”. While on her walking ventures, she takes lots of pictures, but it is that connection between the city and the landscape which seems to really motivate Faye. She summarises, “Where else can you see a sheep then walk into town and see one of your favourite bands?”

Speaking further on her creative process

Faye tells me that she uses acrylic because it dries quickest. Her paintings are not just landscapes inspired by Sussex scenery. She also paints large florals (as implied in the previews for her feature at AOH). “I go through the rainbow and work through the process of adding colours” she explains. When I comment on how visibly full of passion Faye is, she continues “paint is fully immersive in my life. I’m inspired by everything I see.”

The fun does not end with Artists Open Houses however! Brighton Festival opens with the Children’s Parade. This is a free event at 10:30am taking place on Sun 7 May from Jubilee Street to Madeira Drive. For the last five or six years, Faye has helped out with St Luke’s School. “I actually get really emotional about it” she ponders, describing the overwhelming joy of the morning. “And you have all these little people, strands and webs of people, all coming together to make this celebration.” The hard work of building sculptures and making costumes pays off in this party. 

Faye-Bridgwater-Paintings-in-Progress

On what else she is wanting to see at Brighton Festival and Brighton Fringe, Faye loves the opportunity to see free art across the city most.

“How amazing that there is free art and music and sculpture. It’s a coming together of creativity and acceptance. You never know what you are going to see. You’re walking down the street and suddenly a silent disco goes past you!” 

From 1 April – 3 September, Out of the Ordinary is a photography exhibition from Roger Bamber at Brighton Museum. As a photographer herself, Faye is keen to visit this. She also says that Mattias Schack-Arnott’s Groundswell, coming to St Peter’s Square looks like a lovely thing to see (Sat 6-Sun 28 May). The Great Escape is a huge event for the Bridgwater household. “Everyday we are deciding where to go and what to see.”

Faye embodies everything that Brighton is about. Being inspired by the beautiful city and sea while embracing the creativity it has to offer.

To discover more about Faye or purchase her art go to www.fayebridgwater.com/. For more information about Artists Open House this May, go to aoh.org.uk/ 

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