Folk Art & Decorative Painting

I’ve loved art, drawing and all things creative every since I was a child but never really had the opportunity to do much of it other than for school projects.  This instilled little to no confidence in my own ability to be that arty even when I became an adult.  Then, a few years ago I discovered Folk It! and have been like a kid at Christmas ever since!

Folk art and decorative painting has for centuries, been produced by everyday people from farmers to cabinet makers and encompasses objects as well as art works.   You may hear it described as ‘popular art’ or the ‘people’s art’ and this often  means simply that the artist is untrained, self-taught – their skills having been passed down through the generations.

We’re very lucky here in Warwickshire to have easy access to Compton Verney an art gallery set in 120 acres of Grade II listed beautiful parkland, and exhibits the largest collection of British Folk Art in the UK.  Well worth a visit if you live in, or are visiting the area.

One of the most widely recognised forms of British Folk Art is Canal Art – those unmistakably beautiful bright colours used in traditional Castles and Roses and sign writing on canal boats, coal scuttles and…well, anything else the boat owners want to decorate.  Below is an example I painted at Stoke Bruerne – this has been painted on what would have been a panel board on a boat.

Photo of canal art

Each country has it’s own form of folk art; Rosemaling (Norwegian) uses lots of beautiful swirls, Bauermalerei (German) roses are quite round and cupped – and many others.

Decorative and Tole (painted tin ware) painting is just what it says on the tin.  Items of furniture and different objects decoratively painted using all sorts of designs, patterns and materials such as stencils, decoupage, gold leaf etc.

Whatever the name, whatever the item being painted, they all have one (well several really) thing in common.  The brushstrokes used to achieve their glorious end results.  These are the very brushstroke techniques I teach in my workshops, with step by step instructions you too can be a folk artist.