Kate Chapman meets artist Geraldine Segre, whose popular seascapes and landscapes have been inspired by her local surroundings and love of outdoor life.
It can be beautiful and also very bleak but moving to the Lincolnshire coast has opened up a whole new world of inspiration for artist Geraldine Segre.
She swapped London for Anderby, near Chapel St Leonards, during lockdown and has found herself harnessing the beauty and emotion of the vast Lincolnshire coastline in her artwork, which she sells through her online gallery along with other gifts including cards and keyrings.
“Moving up here really has led to a change in my art. I love living here and I love to paint all the wonderful places along the length of the Lincolnshire coast,” says Geraldine. “It’s beautiful yet can sometimes also be bleak and melancholy. It’s full of joy, nostalgia and wonderful memories for so many people, often going back generations and I really try to capture that in my paintings.
“I am constantly pinching myself that I get to do this for a living and that people are buying my artwork, it’s such an amazing feeling. In almost three years I’ve sold 700 paintings and prints.
“It’s lovely to think people are coming from all over, and although they cannot be here every weekend, they can still have a little piece of the Lincolnshire coast with them through my work.”
Geraldine has always been passionate about art, studying it to A-level. Although she never considered it a career option back then, she always dipped in and out, and particularly enjoyed creating watercolours and still lifes.
“I always had creative interests, including painting, drawing, decoupage, and pen and ink sketching, but I started doing my art again in earnest while I was working in London. I had quite a stressful job in the civil service, so I used art to unwind,” she recalls.
“My partner Tony has family in Lincolnshire, and we ended up buying a place in Anderby because we love it here. We often talked about how we might give up London life completely. I’d always wonder if there was any way I might be able to make some money from my art.
“We made the permanent move during lockdown. I started working from home and that’s when I really got back into my art. I’d never painted a seascape or landscape before we moved to Anderby, it had mostly been still lifes. The Lincolnshire landscape has been a huge influence – the skies are so big!”
Geraldine, who is self-taught, likes to use a range of mediums in her work, but particularly favours chalk pastels for their bright, bold colour. She describes herself as an impatient painter and says pastels are ideal as she doesn’t have to wait for them to dry and they can also be forgiving if she changes her mind about where a piece is going.
“My process involves getting outside. I walk every day – our house is about a mile from the beach. I’m out walking in the rain and even if it’s blowing a gale, I love to paint stormy skies!
“I take a lot of photos while I’m out and when the weather is nicer, I take my sketching materials, so I can draw too. I’ve got a small studio in our house, and when I get back I’ll continue to work on something I started during my walk, based on my sketches and photos.“Living here all year round allows me to get under the skin of the place – seeing it in all weathers, through all seasons, and at different times of the day, the colours change, the crops change and so do the fields. I try to bring this out in my work.
“I’m inspired by all the colours, shadows, the mood of the skies and waves, and by vast scenes that remind us how tiny we humans are compared to the natural world. I’m fascinated by places where nature and man-made structures meet.
“‘It’s difficult to say I follow one particular style – I like to include abstract and representational elements in my work. It’s contemporary, bold and colourful and I like to keep true to the colours that are really there.”
A range for all budgets
Although she had considered selling her artwork after moving to Lincolnshire, Geraldine says it all happened quite organically when she posted a picture of one of her pieces online following encouragement from her grown-up children, Max and Iliana.
“My first sale came through Instagram, it wasn’t particularly conscious. I hadn’t written I was open for business, but a neighbour saw the picture and wanted to buy it and that gave me the confidence to be a bit more proactive – that’s really where it took off,” she says.
“Now, I do most of my marketing through Facebook. I’ve become a little more disciplined about posting online. I offer commissions and custom works too – if someone has seen something they like but it’s already sold, I’ll recreate something similar for them.
“As well as originals, I sell prints, canvases, greetings cards, keyrings, mugs and coasters. Not everyone has the money or space to have art in their house, so I like to have a range of pieces suitable for all budgets and circumstances.
“It’s been quite a learning curve setting up a small business – I do pretty much everything myself. I definitely learnt a lot in the first year!”
Geraldine now hopes to keep experimenting with different mediums and enjoys taking online courses which encourage her to try something new artistically, but her passion remains for painting the surrounding coastline.
“When people think of the Lincolnshire coast, they usually only think of Skegness, they don’t realise how much beautiful coastline there really is, and how many miles it goes on for! Some people have no idea where it is, it really is such a beautiful part of the country.
“I’ve painted the whole of the coastline – Chapel Point, Sutton-on-Sea, Mablethorpe, Skegness, all the way from Cleethorpes down to Gibraltar Point, although my favourite beach is Anderby, as that’s the one I spend the most time on.
“My family have been really supportive of my artwork and as for the future, I’m just excited to keep doing what I’m doing and see where it takes me.”
For more information about Geraldine’s work visit www.artbygeraldinesegre.com
Photographs: Geraldine Segre