This Artist’s Floral Portraits Offer a Sense of Permanence to the Fleeting Everyday

British artist Simone Webb combines traditional and digital methods to recreate elements of the natural world in permanent forms. She is interested in the fleeting moments of nature, and the way that we can play with temporality by creating a sense of immortality through art.

Focusing mainly on flowers and the natural world, her work juxtaposes the beautiful and the melancholic. By imprinting intricate, pastel flowers against desolate black backgrounds and pairing delicate, withering leaves with sparkling gold detailing, Simone’s striking work succeeds in forcing the reader to slow down, appreciate, and reflect.

THE PLUS: Your work is obviously inspired by nature, what initially drew you to flowers and insects as your subject?

Simone Webb: Flowers have such a short life cycle that I wanted to created something with an element of permanence. Nature also offers us a chance to pause and reflect on our own lives, to realise how fragile and fleeting everything really is.

TP: Tell us a bit about your creative process?

SW: Generally, my inspiration comes from being outside. I don’t sketch too much, if at all. I can usually envision the final piece, it doesn’t always go exactly to plan but I like that. Sometimes I use Photoshop and begin working digitally and sometimes I pick up the paint brush first. At times it can be a slow process before I get in the swing of things but I try not to overthink.

TP: What are some of your other sources of inspiration?

SW: I’m really interested in biophilia and nature generally but I’m always finding inspiration in everyday objects, too; I can be inspired by the colours used in a plate or a bowl, or random objects when I’m out and about.

TP: How do you combine traditional and digital methods in your work?

SW: I use traditional mediums such as drawing and painting in acrylic, scanning these in to the computer then combining with digital methods in Photoshop. I also hand finish the prints with metallic leafs, such as gold and silver leaf. I love the alternation between the two.

TP: What is an essential part of your work setup?

SW: Space; both physically and mentally. If I don’t have enough space around me, I feel confined and restricted in the work itself. The same goes for mental space. I need a clear mind, otherwise things don’t flow so easily and I hit a creative block or become frustrated. I am a relentless list maker, not just for organisational purposes but also to give me the head space to think and explore new ideas. I also frequently tidy my studio for the same reason.

TP: What kind of feelings do you want your prints to convey?

SW: I like to think my work offers a sense of serenity and happiness to the viewer, no matter how many times they come back to view it. That being said, I don’t like to dictate what someone takes away from my work; what each person sees and feels could be completely different to the next and that’s the beauty in it.

TP: What do you see as the role of the artist today, and how does your work fit into that?

SW: I think art itself can offer moments of escapism and provoke thoughts but it doesn’t always have to be about that. If anything, it can give a moment of time in today’s busy world to simply appreciate what is in front of us; whether that be at home, an exhibition or in a museum.

TP: Any hopes or goals for the rest of 2020? Work-related or not!

SW: I’ve been exploring a new body of work and hope to be able to share that soon. I also hope to see the return of more exhibitions and art fairs.