Anne Welford from London has been living on the island for five years and is currently holding an exhibition of her latest series of giant Buddhas called "Marici" at the Weston & Rodriquez gallery in Palma.
Painting predominantly in acrylic on canvas, she has recently begun experimenting in mixed media including metallic, which explore both iconic and spiritual imagery. She completed her degree in decorative arts at the City and Guild of London Art School, where she trained in traditional techniques such as gilding and lacquerwork.
Anne has worked extensively over the past eight years producing frescos and murals as special commissions. Her first love of art began in life drawing, progressing to arts and crafts style pieces in mediums ranging from metals to paper, charcoal to textiles, aiming for a rich and sensual surface. Her style tends towards dramatic lighting, colour and texture, always containing an impression and superb awareness of the play between depth and solidity.
And earlier this year she completed her most prestigious project to date which was a giant fresco on the ceiling of the dinning room on board the famous 75 metre superyacht Leander G which is also known as the "unofficial royal yacht" because its previous owner, Sir Donald Gosling, used to allow the royal family to use his yacht after The Britannia was decommissioned. Gosling made Leander G available gratis for use by Queen Elizabeth II during her Diamond Jubilee throughout 2012.
"It was not the largest piece I have painted but certainly the most prestigious and it took me a week flat out in the STP. Well, I was not flat out. I tried painting lying on my back but that was too hard so eventually I did it from a ladder."
It was the gallery owner and interior designer, Antonio, who found Anne for the job. Antonio, originally from Galicia, worked as chief steward on Leander G for over a decade.
"I looked after the various royals and heads of state who came on board and I was asked to find an artist for the fresco. I selected three. The first two were Spanish but I wasn’t that impressed, and then I found Anne and that was that, end of story."
"The fresco is a mixture of various famous paintings by the likes of Monet but all have a nautical feel to them," Anne said.
She caught Antonio’s eye because of the number of large murals and frescos she has painted on the island in private homes, top hotels and a host of restaurants and bars. She is now is thinking of going back to her roots and return to still life which is her great love, although throughout her training and career she has worked with furniture, interior design and a wide variety of materials.
"I prefer painting and drawing women; men are not as fun."
In the meantime, her exhibition Marici is proving a great success. But why Buddhas?
"Well, the imagery of Buddha is all very fashionable at the moment, apart from the fact it’s very inspirational. And I think the reason why the whole imagery and teachings of Buddha are so popular is because of the state of the world at the moment. People are looking for compassion and peace and a different spiritual influence to try and create some order amongst all the chaos we are having to live through. I think it’s encouraging. The world has woken up and is now looking for alternatives, an antidote to the suffering, pain and uncertainty we’re surrounded by.
"It’s the yin and yang, the light and shade, just look at the yoga boom, for example. We’re all looking for something different now."
Anne also finds the island hugely inspirational as an artist but admits that she has no intention of painting Majorca.
"In Majorca, it’s a bit ‘been there, done it’. I know what I like as an artist and that is what I intend to stick to."
And while she sets about her next series Antonio has a host of exciting exhibitions coming up and ideas for the gallery. He has a couple of Galician artists coming along with a show by an English fashion teacher who is bringing an exhibition of Japanese and Uzbekistan inspired designs.
"Some will be for exhibition only, others for sale, so that’s going to be something new for Palma. But what I want to do is make this gallery available for all kinds of artists and photographers to do their own thing. Anne and I meeting was fate. We get on so well and think along the same lines and I want to bring over the lovely unique jewellery from Galicia to show and sell, while we also help large property investors find locations and develop their projects. So we’re a fusion of unique luxury products and advice," Antonio explained before heading off to Galicia on business.
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