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Meet the maker: Sarah Blackett-Ord

Sarah Blackett-Ord paints under the name of Whitfield Watercolours and draws inspiration from her Whitfield home and the beautiful surroundings of the North Pennines and Northumberland. She is a shop member at the Allendale Forge Studios and produces a range of products featuring her delicate floral watercolour paintings. We decided to find out more about her...

Tell us a little bit about your background:

I am a figurative watercolour painter. I studied History of Art at University followed by running an art gallery in London. During this time I went to Life Drawing Classes. After moving to Northumberland with my husband and having three children I broadened my horizon and studied painting at the Hexham Campus of Newcastle College. Three years later I launched my second career, mostly painting in my studio which is in my garden, overlooking the West Allen Valley in an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’

What inspires your work?

Light..always light and in the summer months, the garden in which I work. On a bright and sunny day, however, I am drawn to interior scenes, the light on the shutter, the shaft of sun on a piece of furniture or china. It is a wrench to go indoors on such days, so I paint first thing in the garden for a couple of hours before going inside.

How do you develop your ideas?

I love to draw so most paintings start with sketches. I sometimes ‘sketch with a paint brush’ but often do light pencil sketches to begin with.

What is it about your creative practice you enjoy the most?

I enjoy it all but particularly the actual physical exercise of drawing and painting. I love to develop a painting, to try to make something unique.

Do you face any challenges in producing your art?

Some challenges are purely practical..In bright sun, watercolours dry too fast so keeping them protected in important. Bugs, sun, rain, wind can all create problems. In terms of painting the problem for me is always keeping the work fresh and not over working it.

Do you have anything new and exciting planned for your work?

I am trying to paint more buildings and perhaps use mixed media as an experiment. I have an exhibition in London at the end of the month and one at Allendale Forge next year which will spur me on to produce more work.

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