Bizzie Bee's Artist Interview: Roz Keep

Hello Bizzie Bees,

This month's artist interview is with Roz. I met her in June when we were both helping out with the 10,000 Lost Soles project. I was excited to learn she was a watercolour painter and that the environment was very important to her.

Have you visited Lamma Island before and what have you done out there? I've been on several walks across the island and gone to see the lone wind turbine—Lamma Winds. I'm hoping to head out next weekend to catch Roz's show before it closes. Maybe we'll cross paths : ).

Have an exciting December and keep exploring and creating!

Salome

Tell us a little about yourself.

I practice watercolour painting and take photos. I love the land and seascapes of my island home and I try to paint as often as possible. I taught art to children and have a company called Island Arts which I set up in 2009 to promote art to young people in my island community of Lamma. At the moment I have an exhibition of watercolours in a cafe on Lamma Island called Water. Colour. Lamma.

How did you start making art/start your creative journey?

I started at school which was a very amazing place in its day. I am quite lucky to have had practicing artists as my teachers and they really influenced me.

Why do you make art?

Because I can. I learned to draw at school and once you have learned, you do tend to do it. It's like anything else. If you practice it you feel empowered and you want to keep doing it. As you do it you realise there are things you can say.

What is your workspace like?

Small table and easel inside, whole landscape and world outside! I do a lot of plein air painting on location.

What is your favourite art form and why?

Painting and photography. They are both about picture making. You can make pictures of anything and in them create new and unique worlds that only exist there.

What inspires you and how do you keep your creative spark?

The world itself inspires me. The land and nature, the people and happenings around me in my nature filled home of Lamma Island inspire me a lot.

What role does the artist have in society?

He or she is an observer and shines a light on what's happening around us which most people are a bit too busy to notice. Perhaps there are many roles. This is just one.

What are you working on right now?

Three small circular wooden boards with a Lamma map cut out of the centre. It's a joint project with local artists to celebrate the opening of a new art centre on Lamma Island called The Lamma Art Collective.

What's your favourite place to see art?

Anywhere they have art! Galleries on Hollywood Road, exhibitions at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, schools, the Hong Kong Arts Centre, even on Lamma Island there is an exhibition every three months at a local cafe.

What's the last show that you saw?

On Sharks And Humanity at The Hong Kong Maritime Museum

What is your favourite museum?

In Hong Kong I like the Hong Kong Art Museum and the Hong Kong Heritage Museum.

What's your favourite art work and why?

There are too many to name but a recent one is by Julia Sorrell about an ancient tomb and village in northern United Kingdom.

What are you reading right now?

A Little History Of The World by E. H. Gombrich which is really good and an easy to read book for the young and old.

What do you collect?

Shells, The Artist's Magazine every month for the past 30 years, pictures, photos, books, small containers, friendships!

Describe a real­-life situation that inspired you.

Many ordinary things inspire me. Light especially. When light shines in a certain way on the land and enriches colours and makes dark shadows and bright sparkles on leaves or water I get inspired to paint. Events will also inspire me and I enjoy watching people play at the beach and get ideas for pictures like that.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

After finishing school, I worked on a restoration project on an old building in the UK. I was a "co-driver"on a three month drive across South Australia to photograph the explorer Edward Eyre's journey 150 years earlier. I was in charge of cooking and helping set up and pack up the daily camp and shopping. I made a lot of drawings on route and later held an exhibition in Hong Kong of the landscapes of the journey. I've worked backstage at the Hong Kong Ballet in the wardrobe department and also with various opera companies and theatre groups.

Why art?

Art is just a fancy word for creating. We're all creating. Every day we make creative decisions about daily life. We are all artists of our own lives.

Name something you love, and tell us why.

Clouds! Skies and clouds are endlessly changing and fascinating to this watercolour painter.

What's the best piece of advice you've been given?

Never Give Up! You can be anything you want to be.

What advice do you have?

Draw a lot! It will deepen your creativity as it helps you to see more deeply; to really look at the world around you.

What is your dream project if there were no restrictions on time or money? What would you create?

Something to inspire people to treat each other and our planet more kindly!

Anything else about yourself that you'd like to share?

I swim around 2-3 km per week in the sea near my home in Lamma.

Roz's show will be on until Sunday Dec 10, 2017 so catch the ferry out to see it and explore Lamma Island with your family. You can find more of her work on her page Water.Colour.Lamma.

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Bizzie Bee is a social enterprise initiative and primary funding partner of Lizzie Bee Foundation Ltd, a Hong Kong registered charity. Money raised from the sale of our products goes directly to arts projects for the underprivileged in our community.

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