When I caught up with landscape artist Lynda Minter on the phone, she was walking along the River Thames. The wind blustered in the background and she sounded relaxed and in her element.
An outdoors person by nature, Lynda explained that she couldn’t paint without the river, “I’ve gotten to know the river very well. It always looks different… even on a dull day you always get a lovely light”.
Lynda lives and works as a painter in Fulham. She describes being an artist as “quite a solitary life really,” though she feels incredibly lucky to have forged one out of the thing she loves most.
Lynda paints every day, “if I don’t paint I miss it dreadfully” and despite the creative ups and downs, she accepts it all as part of being an artist; “It’s good to struggle!” she affirms.
An instinctively creative person, Lynda says, “Art [it] becomes your companion…I take my sketch book everywhere.” Lynda sketches the landscape when she’s out on her walks and takes the occasional photograph, though mainly what she’s soaking up is the feeling of a place. She recalls this back at the studio and often paints the river from memory.
Inspiration, Influence and Why The River Thames?
The River Thames has inspired countless artists from musicians to writers. “It has a very Dickensian feel,” says Lynda as we discuss the river as a historical witness, “People don’t realise how powerful it is.” We talk about the lives that have been taken by The Thames and the clues you can find that point to an altogether darker side of the river, “I’m always moved when suddenly I see flowers left against a wall.”
Lynda references the Romantics as influences on her work and you can see them in her expressive brushstrokes; Eugène Delacroix, J. M. W. Turner and John Constable. Much like Constable who in a letter to his brother wrote, "I should paint my own places best", Lynda admits, “I still think that England is the best place to paint.”
I asked Lynda what advice she would pass on to other artists. “Be yourself and paint things that move you”. She explains that she has occasionally attempted to stray from what really engages her but the result has been inauthentic. “Keep it simple” she adds. Having reduced her pallet right down to three tubes of oil paint, Lynda explains that she can get all that she needs out of Cobalt, Yellow Ochre and Vermillion occasionally going to Burnt Umber for additional depth.
There is a real sincerity to Lynda’s work, a genuine expression of feeling and response to places that mean something to her. Her relationship with London’s river is enchanting and very much alive and of this moment. You can view her collection of landscapes on the Little Van Gogh catalogue.