Meet The Maker – Evelyn Bartlett

Evelyn Bartlett is a painter based in the New Forest, Hampshire.

Hi Evelyn, What sets you up for a day in the studio?

Lots of tea first thing and an empty few hours.  The studio has to be reasonably clear – although it’s easily the untidiest room in my house!  I also have to feel free from other responsibilities or demands on my time on that particular day.  Next, I usually have some music on the radio; it seems to help stop me getting too intense and self-critical.  Once I’m in my stride, I can listen to a play or story. 

Do you have a favourite tool or process?

I definitely have favourite brushes!  For gouache work I use Winsor & Newton Sceptre Gold more often than not and there are generally 3 sizes I absolutely rely on.  When an old favourite is wearing thin, I worry that its like-for-like replacement won’t feel quite the same, or make the same marks.

Now that I am branching out into larger work with oils and acrylics, I have some flat, wide inexpensive nylon brushes that I enjoy using to actually blend the paint on the support, watching what happens as I work. It is often in complete and utter contrast with my gouache style; that is always carefully considered and clean, with colour mixing a major factor.  Somehow, when I work in oil or acrylic, it feels totally natural to squeeze a few colours straight onto the canvas or board and mix them there. 

Evelyn Bartlett Hidden Light
Evelyn Bartlett, A Breath of Sea Air
Evelyn Bartlett portrait with painting
Painter at easel in action

What personal touches do you like to include in your work?

Not exactly personal touches, but I can’t stay away from bright, high contrast scenes, which often include a silhouette. Probably because the shapes I create are pared back, tonal values in the colours are really important to convey depth etc.  And you’ll never find symmetry in my composition….can’t stand it!


What do you do to relax?

Choral singing has been a part of my life since early school days.  Unlike painting, which is generally solitary, singing within a choir requires you to work with each other, striving for the same sound and emotion.  When it works, it’s glorious!  It’s actually quite arduous, requiring lots of concentration, but because of that, it uses your whole mind (and body) so that for a while you forget everything else.  In that sense, it does relax me.  At other times, a walk or cycle ride to the sea or forest clears my head.  Being indoors all day never feels right, but happens more than I would like.  I need to be ‘under the sky’ regularly!

paint palette and work in progress

What are you currently working on?

I have a commission from local friends, to paint themselves and their children, gazing across the Solent at Lepe.  After a couple of rough layouts, I now have the go-ahead!  Commissions are always more nerve-wracking than painting something of my choice.  Apart from that, I am considering trying some monotone paintings in gouache, just to experiment with a very pared-down approach.  And I have 3 or 4 half-done oil/acrylic paintings on the go…. still trying to find my way with the new medium!


What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an artist/maker?

Interesting question!  Although I think I would always have to be drawing or painting something in my spare time, I’ve often thought I would like to work in some form of hospitality.  I really like helping people feel at home and enjoy themselves when they are in a group setting.  At one stage of my life, I helped run parent and child lunch clubs and activity sessions; I used to see so many mums or dads come in slowly, feeling shy, wondering what to do or who to talk to.  I used to think ‘I know what that feels like.  I’m going to help you settle in and feel comfortable.’

In the same vein, we rent out an Airbnb holiday property in Exeter; you’d be surprised what you can do from a distance!  I wish we lived nearer – if we did, I would bake a cake for every guest arrival.  Receiving a great review at the end of their stay is almost as good as selling a painting!


Visit Evelyn‘s Website or follow on Instagram or Facebook