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Artist Spotlight: Maddie Webb, Portugal Artist Residency

Maddie Webb

We sat down with Maddie to discuss her artist residency in Estoril, Portugal.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your experience during the first few days of your residency in Estoril?

A: It took me a little while to settle in at first. I unpacked my art supplies, organised my studio, and waited for inspiration to strike. I started off by creating small pieces, just feeling my way around the materials and getting a sense of the place.

Q: It sounds like you found inspiration in your surroundings?

A: Absolutely! Every day, I went for walks and explored Estoril and Cascais. I was fascinated by the landscapes and the way they made me feel. This experience connected with my Master’s research on liminality, landscape, and the sublime.

Q: You mentioned using sketchbooks initially. Did you move on to larger pieces later in the residency?

A: Yes, I definitely progressed. I started using a wider range of colours and exploring new techniques. One of the things I focused on was capturing the feeling of being alive by the sea – the movement of the waves, the smell of the air, the wind blowing.

Q: Did your artistic process change at all during your residency?

A: It definitely did. I experimented more and pushed myself outside of my comfort zone. I tried new colour palettes, experimented with layering techniques, and considered how my embodied experience of the residency influenced my work.

Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced during the residency?

A: There were a few challenges. I had to adjust to a new environment, a new language, and being surrounded by strangers. But it was also a great opportunity to connect with the local art community.

Q: What are you taking away from this experience?

A: I feel incredibly grateful for this residency. It gave me the time and space to focus on my practice and explore new ways of seeing and making art. I’m excited to see how this experience will influence my Master’s Final Major Project.

Q: Looking at your post, it seems you experimented with using seawater in your work. Can you tell us more about that?

A: Yes, that was a new technique I tried! I used seawater with fluid acrylic on watercolour paper and let them dry outside in the sun. It was a way to capture the feeling of the sea and how it moves. I plan to use this technique as underpainting for some larger pieces.

Q: You mentioned finding inspiration from the colours of the local environment. Can you tell us a bit more about the colour palettes you developed during your residency?

A: Sure! My colour palettes were definitely influenced by the things I saw around me. I used greens and blues inspired by the sea and the moss on the rocks, as well as browns and yellows that reminded me of the dried seaweed and grasses.

Q: Were there any particular highlights from your time in Portugal?

A: There were definitely a few! Spending a day exploring the Guincho National Park and Dunes was incredible. The view from the top of the dunes was breathtaking. Another highlight was the time I spent creating some larger oil paintings on canvas. It allowed me to capture the sweeping emotions I felt when experiencing the coast.

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