Orlanda Broom’s work continues to gain notoriety with her popular series of lush, large landscape and abstract works. We recently caught up with the bestselling-Brit to learn about her countryside studio, her never-ending collection of brushes, and her artistic process from first draft to the final product.
Good morning, Orlanda! What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I make a cup of tea and look at the birds on the bird table while I wait for the kettle to boil. I moved from London to the countryside a couple of years ago so it’s a real pleasure to get up and stare out of the window! There is a lot of wildlife around and I notice the subtle seasonal changes much more now.
What inspires you to create every day?
I always have paintings in various stages of completion in my studio so that I can play around with the ones that are new…that’s inspiring, just to see what happens without being precious about it. The ones that are close to being finished have to be handled with more consideration and care!
More generally, I love nature… I walk, take photos and have a lot of botanical art books which I’m always looking through.The environment and nature’s power is something I think about a lot… I imagine future worlds where only plants exist.
What does your work space look like?
I work in an industrial unit in a fairly rural location… I have neighbors nearby which is nice as it is quite isolated. But it’s a big space with great natural light; I open the door and am surrounded by woodland. It’s completely self-contained so I don’t have to worry about making a mess or noise – it’s great, I love it!
Describe the core of your technique or style.
I have two bodies of work: my abstract paintings in resin and my landscapes. The process of creating these is quite different – there’s a spontaneity and dynamism in the abstracts whereas my landscapes are a building up of many, many layers – editing and adding. I am quite experimental with paint, I like to try different mediums and techniques. Perhaps most inherent in my work is a love of color.
What are your top 3 studio essentials?
Studio essentials are having very good quality paint which has a high pigment content and color-fastness. Also I have a huge range of brushes of all different sizes, soft to hard bristles, long and short handles, etc. and they don’t have to be expensive… there’s a great range of really cheap ones that I love and seem to use a lot. Thirdly, to be warm! I hate the cold and am always moaning about it… it’s hard and impractical to heat a big space so during the winter so I have quilted, thermal overalls and (recently discovered and best of all) rechargeable heated insoles for my boots!
How do you know or decide when an artwork is finished?
My landscape paintings will have had a finished moment and then it disappears as I add something else and it’s pushed back to a state of not finished! They are very full, I aim for a kind of density that means there’s always more to see…so stopping is when problems have been resolved and I have the ‘it’s finished’ feeling – it’s difficult to explain that.
My abstracts have a finite work time so it’s a very different set of decisions.
What do you like to do to unwind after a day’s work?
I’ve separated my studio work from my admin-type work – so I can check emails at the studio but try to limit that and turn tech off. I come home and work for a couple of hours at my computer.
If it’s nice enough, I’ll go for a walk. And then I’ll cook and watch a film or box-set I’m into if I feel the need to switch off completely and if not, I’ll have a drink, listen to music or go out.
What’s your overall favorite aspect of the creative process?
Being able to make something that you feel proud of is great… finishing a painting is a wonderful feeling and especially when that translates into someone else loving it enough to buy. Working on commissions is exciting because you are engaging with people. I feel very lucky to do something that I love and essentially to be my own boss.