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At the opening of the latest exhibition at Tea Amantes, we chat to artist Elizabeth Bullock about her inspiration – from Monet’s garden to her childhood on Marton Moss.

Having even managed to get the family meal served before leaving the house, I caught the service 61 bus down to town Tea Amantes to catch Elizabeth Bullock’s show of watercolours, other artworks and poetry. Elizabeth has also penned a children’s book called Stanley and the Half Pint and examples of her poetry were placed among the artworks.. So a versatile artist indeed.

Bullock’s works are accomplished and varied, between animal portrait, landscape and architectural detail watercolours and dreamscapes featuring Alice in Wonderland characters. Materials include watercolour, pencil and inks. Colours are strong and the rendition is in that comfortable zone between impressionistic and photographic.

The weather might have put a few people off, but a friendly crowd had joined Elizabeth and the Tea Amantes crowd for the event. As usual, a good selection of teas and nibbles graced the tables.

“I’ve always been drawn to natural things,” Elizabeth explained of her inspiration. “I lived on the Marton Moss as a kid, surrounded by trees and no roads then really. So I used to be fascinated by the roots of trees and still am.

“My subject matter varies really, I go through phases of wanting to paint birds and then animals and then maybe woods. Putting them together is interesting – some are local scenes. Willow trees feature a lot in my work – they look like they’re crying, don’t they? I like the feel of certain trees and the willow for me is ideal. I went to Monet’s garden twice and he had willows there. I think that sort of set me off really. When I came back from France I noticed willows all over.

Elizabeth with host Anna

“The materials I choose depend on what mood I’m in. Like I’ve got chalks in here and I like the spontaneity of pastels. I think it’s easier with pastels because you can get a nice atmosphere using blending and then putting strong tones on the front. Watercolour is my first love, since I was about 14 – I used to do them fast on the spot and capture the essence of the day. Now I am careful not to overwork a piece. I use the French Sennelier paints, which are very nice and I also have Windsor and Newton paints. Recently I’ve been using acrylic inks, for instance in the Alice in Wonderland pieces – they are very vibrant and bright.

“I have two or three pictures going at once, a lot going on at one time and I like to go from one to the other. I also like pencil.”

Once again it was good to chat with friends, subjects included what we were going to put into the Grundy Open Exhibition. The clock soon ticked round to bus time and I toddled off the catch the service 6 from Bank Hey Street, back in use after the main Illuminations season. Another pleasant evening – thanks as ever to Anna and the Tea Amantes team.

Between the Lines by Elizabeth Bullock is on display at Tea Amantes until 3rd December 2023

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    I have worked in the housing and transport professions for several local authorities, specialising in policy, strategy preparation and bid writing. Having always had an interest in film, the visual arts in general, theatre, music and lterature, I thought it would be good to combine the writing experience with these interests to contribute to altBlackpool. In addition to writing, my hobbies include watercolour and pastel painting, photography, woodwork, cycling and vegetable gardening.

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