Hazel is available for one-to-one and group tution by request, or through www.fieldbreaksart.co.uk
Demonstrations and workshops for art groups and societies
Commissions undertaken on request - please contact for more information
Hazel has lived in Derbyshire all her life and has therefore a special connection with the landscape. By keeping to a small scale, she uses this “restriction” to help her distil the essence of a scene. Although she works mainly in acrylics for their versatility when out of doors, usually finishing the painting all in one sitting, she also uses oil paints whenever practical. She usually carries watercolours with her and enjoys their adaptability for quick colour sketching. Using a very limited palette, she depicts the landscape of the hills and valleys, moors and fields. She paints whatever stops her in her tracks, preferring the subtleties of an unusual, overlooked view to the popular scene.
Hazel studied a BA in fine art at Aberystwyth University in 2005 - 2008, focussing on trees in the landscape for her final year exhibition.
In 2011 Hazel opened "Saffron Studio", a small art gallery displaying her work, also offering tuition in painting and printmaking. It was a valuable experience meeting the customers and selling a substantial number of paintings, though she took the decision to close the gallery at the end of January 2014. Never intended to be a long-term occupation, she then enjoyed having more time to paint and explore new styles and techniques.
Having spent time studying both alone and within the context of art education, she now returns to others the knowledge and experience gained through contact with other artists, and runs "Field Breaks Art", leading provider of art and craft workshops, based in Derbyshire. She also opened her own studio for small group and one-to-one tuition in 2022 in Clay Cross, and is available to give talks and demonstrations to art groups and societies.
Below: Article written for the Leisure Painter Magazine, June 2023 issue
Below: An interesting article from the Reflections magazine published in April 2023
Below: another interesting article from a magazine in the first year of lockdown, where Hazel shares her experiences of balancing life and work as an artist...
A transcript from another interesting interview from Artweb in 2020:
I'm a landscape painter and printmaker working in the Peak District, Derbyshire. I prefer to work out of doors whenever possible, I use a small scale and limited palette. This "restriction" helps to distil the essence of a scene, and secondly because a small painting kit is a lot easier to carry around!
When did you decide to pursue art as a career?
I’ve always enjoyed painting and drawing but it was a funeral about fifteen years ago which finally kick-started my career. As a previous employer once used to say - “you’re a long time dead!” and he was right - what was I waiting for?
What training did you have?
In my mid twenties I took a degree in Fine Art at Aberystwyth University which was a fantastic opportunity to mix with other artists and show my work to others. Whilst there, I studied printmaking, painting and life drawing. To my great surprise, more than half of my degree show entries sold. Those little red dots were trying to tell me something…
What has been the high point of your career so far?
A few years later I opened and ran my own gallery, which was a great way of “testing the waters” commercially, and a real high point for me. This was in a village in the heart of the ever popular Peak District where I lived, so I enjoyed seeing a ready source of visitors darken my doorway on a regular basis. Again, I found to my delight that total strangers were quite prepared to part with their hard earned cash to own a piece of my art - being able to talk to them face to face was both stimulating and extremely interesting. After a painting spree where I would produce a series of small landscapes of the local area, I got to the stage where I knew which of the paintings would sell. I was onto something.
All this of course may make me sound rather smug, and I can assure you, I'm not. It may be helpful here to mention my favourite quote: “Nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all.” - Arthur Balfour. Many times things don't go to plan and I can wind myself up dreadfully when in one of those dark moods when nothing is right and a painting just won't work. Aggh! These wise words never fail to calm me down and I invariably end up putting down my brush and heading for the kettle... we're only human after all.
To me, having a favourite artist would be like having a favourite musician - so many, too many, all different, all unique. How could I choose? To answer this question it would probably be the most recent I'd seen - so in this case, right now, drawings by Egon Schiele.
What are you aiming for?
What indeed are any of us aiming for, as artists? And how do we know when we've reached it? Maybe we've already been there (is this as good as it gets?!!) To answer truthfully I am aiming for a balance between the joy of creation and that dreadful moment when you have to let a painting go to a new owner - I always have to say goodbye to my favourites and it never gets any easier.
How will I get somewhere if I don't really know where I am heading? A typically artistic response. Every day I am looking, gazing, stepping back and scrutinising the landscape and the way the light changes it with every moment. Just to capture that fleeting moment is enough of a triumph for me, so with constant study and endless experimentation I may just one day reach a day when I feel I have "arrived" - but I doubt it. "The more you learn the more you realise there is to learn." Another quote.
Who is your favourite artist?
I couldn't possibly say! If you're looking for big names I would have to mention Augustus John, John Piper, Constable (especially his sketches) for starters. However I must admit the most inspiring artwork is often just the most recent I have seen, often including complete unknowns or amateur artists who have attained something unique, mysterious or just really charming in their work.
Is anything holding you back?
Many things hold me back of course, am I'm sure they are common to all artists. Fear. Self-doubt. Money... those dreaded household bills which need paying whether or not you capture that glint of sunlight on those damp rocks... I'll be painfully honest here for readers who may still be wearing rose-tinted specs - if you're not A. comfortably retired B. have a rich patron C. have a wealthy partner, you have to be very... well let's say "entrepreneurial" with your finances, especially if you are a young or emerging artist.
What feelings or reactions do you hope to arouse in people who view your work? Are you ever surprised by reactions that you get?
I am constantly surprised by the reactions to my work, and it is this which keeps me painting. It is a real boost when people see a work for the first time and feel they just have to take it away with them. My work is often on a small, very humble scale and depicts subtle corners and intimate details of the landscape which seems to reach out to people in a way that a large, more commercial work might do. I try to capture the sublime, that which is not easily expressed in words, and hope to translate this to my audience through my work.
From start to finish, how long does it take for you to create your work?
I work fairly quickly - for practical reasons if you are out of doors of course, so no more than two hours normally. Weather and time of day change rapidly so I often paint at quite a frenzied pace. I've never had a poor comment from passers-by and this has often helped me finish a work I'd otherwise have abandoned. Taking a few photos helps and I sometimes fettle a work back in the studio with a cuppa…
What music do you like to listen to when you work?
I can't work in silence, I find it too noisy. The radio is my friend while I work, just a background of talking or maybe classical music to hum along to. I'm a musician too so there's always a tune in my head, and it helps me concentrate to have a backing to distract me into a kind of "painters' trance". Turn off that radio and I'll stop painting.
What are you working on next? Any future plans or projects in the pipeline that we should look out for?
I'm very excited to be producing a book right now. During the Covid-19 lockdown, I found myself stranded in the village of Castleton so took the opportunity to blunder around with a sketchbook. I've worked the results of two months of drawings into a book which I'll be selling shortly via my website, with 10% of the proceeds to charity. The following project is a book featuring my paintings of the Hope Valley area, renowned for it's beauty, and also happens to be where I was brought up, which gives me "an insider's eye”.
Who (living or dead) inspires you? and why?
I am inspired by a long list of other artists, including friends - you can see their work develop which is fascinating. To name a selection - Kyffin Williams, his thick application of oils in a limited palette describe the rugged Welsh hills perfectly, and his portraits are stunning in their simplicity; Colin See Paynton, I could never aspire to ape his output, but his wood engravings are heartstoppingly intricate and inventive; Portraits of Augustus John, especially his pencil sketches - years of drawing experience make this kind of work possible; Charles Oppenheimer - his stuble portraits of the Scottish landscape are simply sublime - he also uses the same underpainting technique that I do which I find totally compelling. A quick glance through the work of any of these artist will have me scrambling for my ideas notebook…
What feelings, subjects or concepts inspire you as an artist?
There is something so fleeting in a landscape that by the time you have extracted your camera to take a photograph, it has gone. It is this that I try to capture - sometimes from memory, sometimes by experimentation with paint until something "happens" on the canvas. I'm not after anything flashy or especially dramatic - the paint speaks for itself and I don't like to force it if it wants to go elsewhere.
What is your favourite work that you've produced so far and why?
An experiment I tried with a second-hand canvas and a rather unpromising photograph I'd taken one morning on my way to work (yes that's right, I do have a second income, it pays the bills.) I had all day to concentrate on my work and before I knew it, the starting point of the rather boring photograph had grown into a tangled geometry of buildings and roof lines, dark foreground shadows, early morning light cast across middle distance, crisp blue sky, glittering window reflections... you get the picture. Typically though, I didn't manage to own it for long as a friend fell in love with it and the painting has found a new home. C'est la vie!
For those thinking about turning a passion for art into a career, could you give any advice?
Well, as I've already hinted at, you do need to remember there are practicalities to consider. Be prepared to be flexible and adapt to change - if someone commissions you to do something outside of your remit, do it anyway. It will be good practice and you will need the money. Be prepared to juggle a part time job around your painting activities - don't see it as being below you, it is a necessary evil. Unless you are comfortably retired or have enough income from a partner, try to keep positive and use your dual life to give you a rest from your "art trance" which let's face it - can be a downright lonely profession at times.
Any tips on how to get your work seen and get the commissions coming in?
Cast your net wide and network whenever you can, use social media and attend exhibitions and workshops - or try running your own. Contact art groups and societies to ask if they would like you to give a talk or demonstration - be modest but realistic with your fee, see it as advertising rather than as a means to an end. Try hiring a small venue for your work over a Bank Holiday weekend - if you are nervous about this try sharing with a friend. Being an artist is a privilege, not a right, and though you are lucky to have the skills, channelling them into a living isn't always straight forward.
It's a fascinating career and remember that the prize you achieve may sometimes be spiritual, rather than financial.