Introducing Guest Blogger Lottie Cole

Following the opening of The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition 2018 at Guildford House Gallery, Surrey, current exhibitor Lottie Cole discusses a desire to decode everyday objects and reflects upon the way in which vibrant colour creates cohesion and coherence within her paintings.

Lottie Cole, 'Interior with Doris Zinkeisen'

Many of my paintings are interiors within which I have a clear sense of the owner of the room – their life and interests – and see the final picture as a modern interpretation of the conversation piece. As there is a definite portrayal of a life and interests in each image I hope that people will be drawn into them – imagining for themselves who the owner might be.

Lottie Cole, 'Interior with Vase of Roses'

I like to create interiors which might be possible for me to inhabit too – therefore I’m drawn to more domestic settings than, say, a depiction of a Stately Home interior.  I have always loved looking at this kind of genre painting myself, trying to decode the meaning of all the objects in the room and discover what is the significance of their inclusion in a setting.  I don’t include people in my pictures as I like to create the sense that the viewer could walk straight in themselves and that becomes impossible if the space already has an occupant.

Lottie Cole, 'Seaside Interior with Barbara Hepworth Table Sculpture'

While there is an obvious preoccupation with content in the pictures there is also a strong focus on colour and the physicality of paint. Watercolour and gouache are flexible mediums offering great depth and transparency, allowing for sweeping gestures as well as real detail.  My oil painting practice has been heavily influenced by my watercolour practice and vice versa.  I really admire artists who can work within a restrained colour palette but I find no matter how much I try and control it colour bursts in and is the only way that I know to make the pictures work.

Lottie Cole, 'Interior with Two Pink Flowers'

A little bit more about me…

I particularly love Modern British Painting and this has led me to weave many sucg paintings as well as some ceramics of the period into my interiors. I research extensively, and though this process have discovered painters like Jessica Dismorr, Doris Zinkeisen, Kathleen Guthrie and Vera Spencer – whose names aren’t as well known as they could be but whose work and success during their lifetimes is fascinating.  I’ve loved painting their paintings within my own, exploring their interests and imagining the people who would have appreciated and bought their work.

Doris Zinkeisen (1898-1991), 'Corner of the Cafe Royal'

To discover more about Lottie and her work, please visit

The Sunday Times Watercolour Competition continues at Guildford House Gallery until 29 December 2018. Please contact for further information.

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